Friday, 26 September 2008

Just When You're Ready to Murder Them...

They do something to make you proud. Like my son. Last night we had the privilege of attending his school's sports awards evening because he was named Runner of the Year in Cross Country for his year. Was I proud? Hell yeah! These moments don't happen very often for us. Son, of course, was incredibly embarrassed that his parents were proud of him and showed their faces at his school. Daughter wanted him to take her round so she could talk to all the boys. He refused. Quite right.

I had another moment like this in July when daughter won two Bronze awards for achievement and effort (meaning she did well academically and in citizenship despite her bitch of a form teacher). I don't know if I'll ever get to attend these ceremonies again but I savoured the moments.

We're deep in the throes of hormonal teen-age hell. Hubby and I know nothing. We were complete dorks and nerds when we were in school (well, hubby really was). I'm not ready to tell them the truth about me so I let them think what they want. The truth is I grew up in Florida during the 60s and 70s when marijuana used to wash up on the beach for goodness sake. Everybody drank and did drugs in high school. Or so it seemed.

So I'm sort in uncharted waters because I know what's out there. I know about the teen-age life of sex, drugs, and alcohol. I don't want my kids to go there, and I'm not sure how or if I can prevent it. I know that telling them the truth about me could very well backfire (you did it, why can't I?). I think keeping them busy with sports and activities will help a bit. But for how long?

Hubby is no help here at all. He might as well be from Mars and they might as well be from Pluto for as much as they understand each other. He was a good student, helped out his mother at home, worked hard, was school prefect, excelled at cricket, etc. I would have hated him in high school or not given him a second glance. None of those achievements prepared him for being the father of real teen-agers, but he doesn't understand that. He thinks they're the laziest, most belligerant children ever. And sometimes they are. The cuddly, sweet moments don't happen very often anymore. I try to talk sense to all of them, but I'm as much of a failure as anyone. However, according to the book I'm reading about teen-agers (where's the What to Expect When You're Expecting Teen-agers book?) I'm a success if I'm not their best pal. And I'm not.

I do hate being the parent of a teen sometimes (mostly). I have had to curtail my social drinking because apparently I'm an embarrassment when I get drunk (!). I used to worry that my children would get bullied at school for having an American mother. Nope, that didn't happen. Instead, my children bully ME for being an American. I dress wrong, dance wrong, listen to the wrong music, say the wrong things, look wrong. Just am wrong. Lord, help me through this very trying time and make them grow out of this phase quickly!


-Ann said...

I've only ever been a teenager - never the parent of a teenager, so this post opened an interesting into a very different, very scary world.

As for the what to tell your kids about the pot and the drinking...have they asked you? My personal (non-parent advice...) If they don't ask, then don't tell. But if they do ask, don't lie. Couch it however you need to, but don't lie.

My parents were in college in the late 60s, early 70s. My mother always denied doing drugs and I always knew she was lying. There was no way you could have gone to college in the place where my dad was in college and not done drugs. My dad simply said 'Yes, a little bit, but I was older than you and it was still a mistake because I didn't like how it made me feel.'

I came to understand when I was older why my mother lied, but it really did bother me at the time.

Trixie said...

Wake up, you are scaring me for when my boys hit puberty!!!

God knows what my boys are gonna say about me, an Aussie mum who drinks like a fish and likes to socialise.

At this stage, they are so innocent. I want them to stay that way!!!

DogLover said...

Remind me, don't your children read your blog?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

-ann: Your mother lied, I would guess, because she was afraid if she told the truth you would think less of her or would think it was all right for you to try drugs. That's why I haven't come out and told my kids the truth. And maybe she didn't lie. Maybe she really didn't do drugs. There were a few who didn't.

trixie: Be afraid. Be very afraid. They change overnight. One night, they're your sweet children. The next, they are like that girl in The Exorcist. They will judge you like no one has ever judged you. Your partying ways will change, I bet. Mine did.

doglover: Uh, no. They don't read my blog. They and my husband don't know about my blog, as far as I know. It's my little secret.

Fred said...

WakeUp: Thanks for stopping by my place. Another coincidence? I used to live in England, specifically Gerrards Cross in South Bucks. My post about that experience is here.

I'll link to you.

It's a small world....

Fire Byrd said...

We're all embarresing to our teenage children it's our job. We don't know anything about anything,they of course were conceived by immaculate conception.
Don't tell them about you they'll only make you suffer for it.

Mean Mom said...

Your children will criticise you whatever you do, say or wear. My personal opinion is that you should tell them nothing, unless they ask, in which case you should tell them the truth. (Feel free to use your common sense, here, however. If you have a real skeleton in your cupboard - leave it there. I wouldn't even tell my lads what my middle name was. They would never have known, if it hadn't been for my mother!) You can then say that you regret the things that you did and explain why they shouldn't follow your example!

My own mother has been my worst enemy, in this respect, by telling tales about me, which I hadn't chosen to share with my 3 sons!!

Get used to them being ashamed of you and embarrassed by you. It will go on for a few years, yet. I've heard that they often don't really appreciate you until they have children of their own!

Swearing Mother said...

A mother's place is in the wrong. I would have thought your kids would have loved having an American Mom, so cool!

Mine are older now, and getting to the stage where they treat me like a daft old bat some of the time.

They'd better be careful!!

DJ Kirkby said...

Teenagers....grrrrrr! Esp N1S who thinks we are pointless...sigh was I this horrible to my mom? Probably...

Anonymous said...

Can't say I'm looking forward to the teenage years myself, remembering what I was like!

It'll pass. Eventually.

CJ xx

Expat mum said...

Rest assured, they would get on your case even if you weren't American!!! This is our cross to bear as parents I have to say. Hope it doesn't last too long!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

fred: It IS a small world. I hope you're enjoying your life in Tampa. I must say I miss it, though I couldn't wait to get out of there when I was a teen-ager.

fire byrd: Wise advice. The few things I have told them have backfired on me big time.

mean mom: My mother never wanted us to know her middle name either. And she's told a few stories to my kids that I'd rather she hadn't. I didn't appreciate her until I had my own kids, it's true.

swearing mother: If I were your kids, I'd watch out. Their friends think I'm cool, but then they're not my children.

dj: Of course you were. It's a passage in life.

CJ: You may find Amy to be very different to how you were. My kids remind me of me sometimes and then other times not at all.

expatmum: Me too! It's doing my head in!

Sparx said...

... lordy... at least I have another 10 years or so before this becomes a reality... must try to get prepared now!

Bill Stankus said...

Mine are 25 and 29... they never grow out of it and they never really go away. The Empty Nest is a myth - their old room might be empty but they will use the phone and visits to torment you with their life stories, bad decisions and other malware. And as you age you just become more irrelevant to them, even if they try to be nice to you, their message is loud and clear.

Indulge - wine, beer and mixed drinks are quite useful.