The ultimate tip to getting through this period of hormonal spikes, excess sebum, hair and attitude is to hear it from an ‘Elder’; in this case ‘me’.
“They will come out the other side; they will be good, clean people who will suddenly understand what you’ve been through to get them to this point and will be forever indebted until ‘pay-back’ time.
C. Ward circa 2014.
(See Blog as yet unwritten ‘Surviving The Debilitation of Age; with the help of your kids who by now owe you BIG TIME.)
I think it pertinent to document the teenage years photographically; these will come in useful down the line when you wish to guilt/shame (whatever) ‘them’ into taking you out for lunch; and paying! Take regular pictures of their room/lair (whatever) focusing on dirty pants left sunny-side up, cups coated in cheap lipstick and fur and overflowing bins including sanitary ware and food wrappings. You can send these straight to ‘the cloud’ because you’re part of the tech-savvy generation; stop short at adding a filter, frame and adding to Instagram; no these are currency for the future. There is no real point in using them during this time of teenage unrest; they’re struggling with enough and ‘angst’ being the biggest problem you’ll only add fuel to the fire. Here are a couple of the main ‘bones of contention’ that will exist between you.
They’ll emphasis the word ‘their’ when talking about this segment of the house that YOU pay out most of salary for the upkeep of each month. The money you’d rather be investing in the latest ‘non-surgical facelift’, spa weekend with the girls or the rental of a new car. With regard to the latter do they seriously think we want to drive round in a battered Volvo simply so their friends can vomit in it when being kind enough to give them a lift home? Or we’ve chosen that make/model of vehicle simply to accommodate all the shit/stuff (whatever) they apparently require on a day-to-day basis. The best way to deal with ‘their’ room is to keep the door closed. It keeps in any unpleasant smells, you can’t see the current ‘state of play’ and you can chose to believe that behind that door is your sex dungeon where Tom Hardy is waiting…just me?
Once a week, don your dressing gown, marigolds and dust mask and enter. Throw open the windows then toss everything off the floor into the middle of the bed. Take your bin liner and toss anything you find offensive. Next gather up the pile within and including the bed sheets (note if they’re stiff you might need to up the temp on the washing machine to 90 degrees to ensure all bacteria dies). Shove said pile into the machine and let it deal with it. Drag everything from under the bed and toss at least 50% (that is parenting law; don’t forget to later claim ‘you haven’t seen it’ if asked about anything missing). Anything you find that should be in the kitchen you will need to wash thoroughly then sterilise with a Milton tab. Wipe down all surfaces of the room with antibacterial spray, hoover then put on clean sheets, close the window and leave spraying ‘Fabreze’ into the air with each step. Close the door…Tom is now very happy and can’t wait to see you later. Finally take off your dressing gown (it is now contaminated) and add to the already bulging contents of the washing machine then shower. You can now go about your day.
Their’ Social Calendar
It helps to remember that teenagers truly believe that no matter what age you actually are to them you’re nearly dead. You are devoid of feelings, wants, needs, dreams, hopes and aspirations. You were put upon this earth to sire them, raise them in accordance to their rules, ferry them from A to B, speak only when spoken to and never, ever to their friends and to finance their popularity which is literally the only thing they’re interested in. By the time they reach Secondary school their calendar of ‘after school’ clubs is heaving and this will involve you; heavily. You will be expected to get everything ready for each of their days, cajole them with kindness from their pit, spoon feed them sugary cereal because they ‘hate’ the other kind. Then drive them to school, hand over cash for lunch and ‘ad-hoc sundries’ i.e. crap from the local shop which they’ll devour whilst waiting for you to hurry the fuck up and collect them later.
At this point you can finally head into work to begin your ‘actual day’.
After work you’ll rush like an idiot to the closest ‘express’ supermarket to get healthy ingredients in for that night’s tea. Then you’ll drive like a headless chicken already visualising in your mind the vile scowl you’ll receive upon skidding into the school car park. They’ll get in very often playing with their phone or plugged into some depraved music which you’re pretty sure is altering their neurones to make them horrible human beings; Kanye West, that sort of thing. You will learn very quickly not to ask them about their day; it’s a protracted and negative experience during which you’ll lose the will to live. And that’s when they actually open up and tell you. As they walk through the door; like Hansel and Gretel they will drop things as if marking their territory into their bedroom then the door will slam and previously mentioned depraved music will commence at a wall-vibrating volume.
This is the moment you pour yourself your first sneaky glass of wine. Tea time will happen, somehow. You’ll produce a meal, they’ll whinge, pick at it; claim ‘they’re not hungry’ you’ll feel disappointed; guilty that they’ve not eaten any vitamins or minerals but guess what, you still win a prize?! Which is to clean up the kitchen. Then it’ll be time to take them to whatever class/complete waste of time, money and energy (whatever) you have apparently allowed them to take on and it’s back in the car.
Unfortunately this time it’s also comes with the vile smell of cheap body spray which has been sprayed all over liberally in an attempt to mask the stench of sweat, chip fat and angst. After a quick drop off you’ll dash home, finish clearing the kitchen, take the washing out and bundle into the dryer. Not forgetting to remove the lipstick, biro and can of ‘Impulse’ you’ve also just mechanically cleaned then it’s time to head back out into the night. An unpleasant collection must take place with your offspring thinking they’re hilarious whilst rolling their eyes in your direction and back at their mates. They’ll have also attempted to cover the smell of fags and/or alcohol with chewing gum and yet more of the overpowering body spray. You must then drive home with all the windows down fighting nausea and the urge to turn to bite off your own tongue. By the time your teenage actually goes to sleep of an evening; potentially around 12am you’ll finally feel able to unfurl; relaxed, at peace and most likely pissed.
This is only ‘Part One’ in a series I would liken to ‘Lemony Snickett’s; A Series of Unfortunate Events’ a phrase which perfectly sums up parenting through the ‘hormone’ years.
I saw it as a never-ending cycle of unpleasant moments tinged with irritation, disappointment and rage. And that was just me…