I’ve been there, moms … you’re out shopping one day and you hold up a shirt that you know your daughter would like, “Isn’t this cute, sweetie?” She simply shrugs. No words, just a half-hearted, one-shouldered shrug. Her eyes aren’t even looking at you, they’re fixated on the ceiling, perhaps willing the heavens to just get this shopping trip over with.
This is parenting teenagers, folks. Your ideas will be rejected on the daily and everything you do is completely embarrassing to them.
It’s cruel really, this sweet little girl you used to have apple juice tea parties with, who loved being with you so much that she would crawl in your room in the middle of the night just to get another hug so she could sleep, wants nothing to do with you now.
It feels like it happened overnight. There she was one day playing the Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack, spinning around in front of the mirror with her princess costume on. Then what felt like just a few days later, she decided she hated the color pink and that princesses are stupid. I was heart-broken. I wanted my little princess back. But she was gone and in her place was a moody, hormonal teenager dressed in black.
Let me tell you, the hormones are the worst. Being a female, I thought I understood PMS and the mood swings that come with it. But nothing prepared me for the wild, angry, mopey, crying craziness that consumed my daughter while she was going through this stage in her life. It gave me an entirely new appreciation for my own mother and what I put her through. (Seriously, you should call your mom right now and tell her you’re sorry.)
There was a period of about five years where despite my best efforts, my daughter wanted nothing to do with me. She would join us for dinner, sitting silently, and then go back to her bedroom fortress of solitude without a word. I would give her a hug goodnight, every single night (as I always did as she was growing up) and she would begrudgingly turn her face away and just stand there waiting for me to leave. That hurt. But, I kept doing it anyway.
Now, I was really lucky in the fact that we had our youngest child who was a preschooler during this phase in my teenager’s life. It was my youngest who was the only one that could bring a smile to her face and make her laugh. It was that little glimmer of hope that helped me know my little girl was still in there somewhere in that teenage body of hers. Look for these little moments in your own teenager’s life and hold onto them.
Moms, please remember and have faith that this is not going to last forever. I’m happy to report that towards the end of my daughter’s senior year of high school, she finally came back around. The reality that she was going out into the world as a college student was big and scary, and she needed her mom again. Now we talk all the time and she is my very best friend.
Parenting teenagers (and teen girls especially) takes a whole lot of patience. Talk about what you’re feeling just to get it out. And if you need someone to talk to, call me. I’m happy to commiserate with you over a glass (or bottle) of wine.