The teen years are tough. We are told this over and over, we repeat it to ourselves when we are trying to gain some composure when they blow curfew or we peek into their rooms and we do our best.
But there are so many times when I notice my teens doing something really fantastic, or even semi-awesome, and it goes unsaid, yet I decide to point a finger at all the stress they cause me with all their antics as they test me to see just what I’m made of.
It’s a well-known fact in my house sometimes I am made of grit and sheer determination and others, all they have to do is suggest giving me a 5-minute foot rub to get what they want.
I believe in order to plow through the toughness of these years, we need to be sharp and aware of all the punches they try to pull, but we also need to see the good because there is so much of it.
I thank the Universe every single day for my kids (even if it is behind gritted teeth) because they are pretty damn amazing and this is why.
Why I Love My Teens
1. They can do stuff.
My oldest just took out the garbage and my youngest just emptied the dishwasher while I got some reading time in. I didn’t have to worry about any sharp objects or cleaning up the trash if egg shells and banana peels fell spilled out onto the floor– they’ve got this.
I’ve put my time in, showing them (over and over and over) how to do stuff and at this point in my life listening to them put away silverware and shake out a new trash bag brings me great joy. In fact, listening to your kids do chores should be a calming app.
2. They are old enough to call me out on my crap.
Most of the time they are right and I can’t even argue with them. Of course, their tone has to be respectful, but my kids do call me out on more than just eating cake over the sink with my fist after I’ve told them to sit at eat at the table like they did when they were younger.
They have graduated to reminding me when I complain because the person in front of me is driving too slow that perhaps it is a student driver, or an elderly person who doesn’t like to be on the road.
Which does make me feel good since they’ve heard me say stuff like this their entire life and I need to be held accountable for my actions and show compassion just as I expect it out of them.
3. I can now share clothes with my daughter.
My wardrobe has doubled and I can enjoy a few of the trendier pieces I might not purchase for myself and live vicariously through her a bit. Another positive aspect of this is that if she needs a dress or special pair of shoes for a one-time event, she can usually find something in my closet and we can spend the money on other fun things like getting matching car cuffs.
I’m more likely to buy her something if I know I’ll be able to take it for a few spins; she knows this and uses it against me and always wins. Oh well, I’ll pick my battles. We have too much fun shopping in the same department for me to contest anyway.
4. They know how to cook.
At this age, most of our teens know their way around a microwave and know how boil water and throw in some pasta. My kids make a mean grilled cheese and can whip up a great smoothie in the blender without a half-gallon of liquid spilling on the floor or getting the urge to empty every spice jar I have like they did during the days of yesteryear.
This comes in handy when I don’t feel like making dinner, but also when I have a mad craving for some dairy and carbs but don’t feel like making it myself. Cooking is still fun and enjoyable for them and I intend to take advantage of that. Plus, I buy the food so it feels fair.
5. Watching them grow into themselves is amazing.
It’s hard to keep up with the changes when it comes to their friends as well as their shoe size, but this is the age when our kids are going to change again and again as they discover who they are.
That takes a lot of getting back up and trying again, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to be the person who supports them through the process even if I don’t get it right all of the time.
We are “in it” with our teens and I’ve found that creates a pretty amazing bond.
So, in between asking them to clean off their toilet seat, reminding to bring their lacrosse stick to lacrosse practice, and trying to keep up with the food shopping, I am going to re-double my efforts to stop and not only recognize, but really soak in, all my things my teenagers do that fill me with enormous gratitude.
Because it certainly is a lot and they deserve to hear it.
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