Pretty much from the moment I pushed my daughter into the world, I've been followed by the same warning: "Just wait until she's a teenager." It's like some parents' sick version of gaslighting moms of younger kids. It implies that we can't possibly know how bad life is until we get where they are.
And you know what? I'm sick of it.
I do know the teen years are going to be tough to get through -- for both my daughter and for me -- but sitting in my little house with my 7-going-on-34-year-old daughter, I can also see just how lucky parents of teenagers are. Maybe you've forgotten? Maybe you need a reminder to stop and smell those Axe-scented roses?
Take it from me, I can't wait to be the mother of a teenager:
1. I will get R-rated movies back. I can count on one hand how many of these I've watched in the past year -- usually when my daughter is at a sleepover at a friend's house or on the very rare girls' night out. To think that I could actually know a thing or two about the flicks up for Oscars ... now THAT'S worth throwing a party for.
2. She will get my jokes. Well, maybe not all of them; I am an '80s child, after all, and she's a child of the aughts. But she's only just beginning to grasp sarcasm, and I can't wait for the day when she understands it fully.
3. I will get my living room back. Complain all you want about how secretive your teenagers are, but I can't WAIT for the day when she's hiding her stuff in her room and neither can the foot that stepped on a pile of LEGOs last week. I DREAM of the day she doesn't want me rifling through her stuff, OK?
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4. No more mind-numbing night-time reading. I love reading to my girl at bedtime for the bonding value, but some of the books she picks up from the library make me want to drive a screwdriver in my ear. I can't wait until she's moved on from the books about the fairy who appears with magic bracelet charms for a little girl ... to something I'd actually want to borrow off her nightstand. Maybe we'll be able to share books?
5. Saturday mornings will be about sleeping. Perhaps I'm still a teenager at heart, but the thought of snoozing until noon on a weekend fills me with longing. These 6:30 wake-up calls are not doing it for me.
6. She'll be able to pour her own milk. Now before you go and tell me I'm a helicopter parent, she does know HOW to pour. But it's a lot cheaper for me to pour the full gallon of milk into a glass than to let the 50-something-pound kid try to hoist that thing up in the air ... which isn't to say I don't yearn for the day when I won't have to drop EVERYTHING and run into the kitchen just because she's thirsty. Here's to building those arm muscles!
7. She'll stop growing out of her clothes so fast. Teenagers may WANT a lot of clothes, but small children NEED a lot of clothes ... if only because one month after you buy them a brand new pair of sneakers, they hit a growth spurt and need another pair.
8. When I send her to her room, she'll stay. Because she won't WANT to talk to me.
9. I won't always win at board games. Yes, I'm a dork; I adore playing Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. But while my kid is getting better at these games every single day, the fact is I currently wipe the floor with her and it's just not fun. Bring on the challenge, Kid!
10. I'll get to go to the bathroom alone again. Teenagers are icked out by seeing their parents naked. If it takes stripping down butt nekkid to pee alone, I will DO IT!
What do you love about having a teenager?
Image by Jeanne Sager