I think I can safely say that every parent at some stage complains about their kids. When they are babies we complain about how little they sleep and how we can’t wait until they sleep through the night. Then they grow into toddlers and we have to deal with toilet training, tantrums and we just hope and pray that they will please have an afternoon sleep!
Quite often when we have just graduated from one stage to the next, we will go off and produce a sibling. Then we end having to deal with sibling rivalry as the older child gets used to having the younger one in their world and sharing Mum and Dad as well.
The next thing we know they are off to school and we find ourselves navigating those first few weeks of tears and tiredness as they (and us) get used to being at school.
The next few years are generally fairly calm, they go with the flow, they usually have lots of friends and a few that are close ones. They mostly like going to school and get bored in the holidays and miss their friends and sometimes even their teachers. And here’s the big one – Mum and Dad are the greatest people ever! They are the one’s they come to for everything from a skinned knee to complaints about the boy at the next table pulling their pigtails.
Then suddenly at around about the age of 12 or 13 this all changes and they turn into TEENAGERS! Hormones run riot, hair starts to grow in places where previously there was none, tears appear at unexpected times and for no apparent reason. And everything that was previously so cool, including Mum and Dad, suddenly become super uncool. Their friends, along with social media, become their best friends. Their entire world sometimes revolves around those areas.
Then you have to start navigating boyfriends and girlfriends and going to parties and the ever present fear of them being offered drugs or being pressured into drinking alcohol.
So tonight, Miss M, who is just shy of her 16th birthday has 3 friends over so they can celebrate a 16th together. And yes, one of them is a boy. I have played taxi driver (you will do that A LOT when you have teens) and ferried them from the local shopping centre, back home so as they could put up decorations and then back to McDonalds for dinner, then back home again. The noise is overwhelming – I’m not sure how four people can make so much noise and the mess will have to wait until tomorrow.
But you know what – I don’t care because I know where she is and who she is with and the other mothers can rest easy tonight knowing that their precious babies will come to no harm whilst they are in my care.