Today we introduce a new column, “MillenniHell: Raising Teens in Today’s World“, a twice-monthly post on the challenges of parenting teenagers. If you have topics you would like addressed, please let us know at [email protected] – The Eds.
My neighbor just had a baby boy. He is tiny and precious, and it seems like he does nothing but flutter his little eyelids and look picture perfect. But I know better. I vividly remember the foggy early days of new motherhood, when my life suddenly narrowed to the constant, repetitive cycle of feeding, changing, burping, washing, and rocking.
Ah, there’s a reason babies are so cute. Feeling that soft baby skin, smelling that sweet breath, and nuzzling their fuzzy heads against my cheek helped me keep a balanced perspective. Even so, there were times when being in charge of those little beings did get overwhelming.
I remember some well-meaning, veteran mothers commenting: Oh, it gets so much easier when they’re older. So, my kids are now older. I have a teenager and an almost-teenager, respectively. And I’ve got news for those ‘veteran’ moms: It’s not necessarily any easier. It’s just a different kind of tough.
Sure, my kids are bigger. In theory, they’re more capable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to do more. Take, for example, this summer. Most mornings, I would slink downstairs to my basement office for a few hours. When I’d wander back upstairs and make myself present—regardless of what time it was—it always appeared as if time had stood still.
No one was dressed. They hadn’t eaten any breakfast; guess who was expected to make it? On the rare occasions they had scooped themselves some cereal, the bowls hadn’t moved from the counter to the kitchen sink; nor had the dog’s bowl been filled. The spine of my son’s summer reading books? Un-cracked. Beds? Unmade.