How Did It Happen That I’m Now Officially ‘The Enemy’

That blissful spot during the parenting years-after the stressful toddler and little kid years, but before the sheer torture of having teenagers-for me, unfortunately felt like it lasted about twenty-seven seconds. 

I had it so good! My children, although no longer babies, still possessed that sweet roundness about the face, and an equally sweet disposition. They wore graphic tees, elastic waist pants and didn’t give a fig about fashion. They ate easy to assemble meals. 

mom son hug
When my sons were little, they used to like me! (@stammiejo via Twenty20)

My kids used to like me

They liked me too. They liked me very much. Eager to see my face after a long day in fourth grade, my boys would spill out of the school doors with beaming smiles and throw their arms around me. I would be privy to details about their day. Which teacher was funny, what kid said a bad word? How much algebra sucks. 

Going out was a charm. Gone were the days of tantrums. My boys and I enjoyed impromptu ice cream shop dates, dinners at the local diner, and walks in the park. We went on vacations, and my kids found excitement in simple pleasures such as leaving for a road trip while it was still dark or that nervous rumbling feeling right when an airplane takes off. 

During my middle school years, I felt comfortable and connected to my kids

It was easy to feel comfortable and connected to my children during the middle school years. This sweet spot stretched into junior high, peaked, then heartbreakingly plummeted off the charts. 

Overnight I became an annoying person who knew absolutely nothing. Banned from being seen in public with the people who used to live inside of me, I was forced to parent on the sidelines. 

Overnight everything changed

Everything changed. 

Mom was officially “The Enemy.” 

The clothes, the music, the attitude. 

It made me sad. Sure, I discovered things about having teenagers that weren’t awful. My sons introduced me to some great bands. I didn’t have to cook as much because the food from our refrigerator was gross. It was fantastic to see their personalities and beliefs become more defined along with their cheekbones. But the breakup hit me hard. And yes, it did feel like a breakup. 

As hard as it was to deal with the slammed doors, the cut classes, the vaping, it was harder to deal with the vast space that grew between me and my children. 

I have adapted to the space between us

I have adapted, as mothers do, but to say I don’t miss the younger years would be a lie. 

And now I lie in wait for my boys to return to me. From my understanding this supposedly happens as long as I’m patient and let go. 

In the meantime, I hope my kids know that I love them at any age.

More Great Reading:

Why We Need to Share Our Struggles in Parenting Teens

About Claudia Caramiello

Hailing from New Jersey, Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, and mother of teen boys both day and night. She survives single motherhood on coconut Redbull, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Her View From Home, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. Find her on Facebook at Espresso and Adderall or on Instagram.

Read more posts by Claudia

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.