In the world of blogging about motherhood, there are few writers who make us laugh at our mom selves with more genuine skill than Jill Smokler, aka “Scary Mommy.” A mother of three (5, 7, 9) and mega-successful blogger, Jill’s first book was on the New York Times bestseller list. Her second book, Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies,) is equally entertaining and genuinely hilarious in detailing all the ways motherhood doesn’t get easier!
Mary Dell was lucky enough to meet Jill this week at Alice’s Tea Shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Afterwards, Grown and Flown created a list of “Vicious Lies” for the teen years and a few reality checks on motherhood.
1. Kids need to be grown and independent by the time they leave for college, able to balance their checkbook and do their own laundry.
Reality Check: Some kids are independent at six, others find their independence for the first time at 2 am in the laundry room of their dorm when they do not have a single item of clean clothing left to wear.
2. Going back to work will be a snap once your kids are in school all day.
Reality Check: Years out of the workforce will mean you have to relaunch. Few jobs end at 2:30 pm right around the corner from the carpool line. Sick days, snow days, vacations and summer…don’t worry you just need a back-up plan for about 200 days a year.
3. It gets easier.
No, not for a minute. Sure, your little kids may not have slept, may have barfed in your hair and thrown tantrums in the grocery store, but teens still throw up, only now it is a much bigger worry and good luck picking them up and putting them in their rooms when you want to change their behavior.
4. Boys are easier.
The risk-seeking nature of sons is a real neuro-physical phenomenon, and a source of fear and anxiety for every parent. If you need a second opinion, ask the company that insures your car.
5. Girls are easier.
No, see above. Girls and the hormonal thrills and chills create drama that rivals anything that a toddler can dish out. If you have any doubts, a weekend of prom dress shopping should put those to rest.
6. Older kids don’t want to talk to their parents.
All teenagers have a job and that is to push back from their parents in their quest to gain their independence. Whining, that dread nails-on-a-chalkboard sound from childhood, is replaced by sarcasm which can best be described as different nails on a different chalkboard. Since they can control how much they say to us, withholding conversation is one major part of the work of growing up. You will find the quiet that you have prayed for 13 years, but silence in a teen is often just another name for sulking.
7. The longer you are a parent the more confident you will become.
When you have a 15-year old, you will know exactly what to do with…a 9-year old. You will feel as ill prepared for the day they leave home as you did for the day they arrived. The only difference is that after you finish crying when they leave, you will sleep better.
8. High school is hard but they need to do things on their own; if they cannot manage their lives by seventeen, they will never learn.
High school can be overwhelming academically, socially and in terms of the sheer time commitment. It is so much harder than anything we ever faced. Parents who adopt a sink or swim attitude may wonder why their children seem to be gasping for air. We prefer to settle into a lifetime of swimming lessons throwing out a life-preserver, as needed.
9. The teenage years are so bad that at the end of it, you will be glad to drop them off at their freshmen dorms.
No. We have done this with three children in our two families and still have a golf ball size lump in our throat every time we drive away. Motherhood does not get any easier and we don’t love it any less.