Many years ago I remember running my hands over my swollen stomach, feeling two babies bounce around with a vibrancy that I could only envy in my heavily pregnant state.
I remember promising them as they lay inside the protectiveness of my womb that I would protect them always, love them furiously and never let anyone or anything hurt them.
Turns out I was vastly underestimating how hard parenting was going to be, and I had no clue I was going to be flying that plane solo, without ever getting my license.
The baby years – although at the time felt tough, didn’t really prepare me for living with semi grown adults. Exploding nappies, endless nights – did feck all to prepare me for what I can see on my kids school year friends on Instagram…..
Some days I long to be washing clothes that say ages 3-4, rather than the ones with labels that scream “I now have hormones and it will drive us all crazy.”
I have come to realise teenagers need to come with a parenting manual, that is written in large print and has a York notes to accompany it.
Some mornings I feel like I have woken up on the start line of a race I didn’t prep for but that I am still expected to win. Some days I set off like I have a chance, and then realise some bastard has put a hole in the road and I need my manual which I left back at the start to work out how to cross it.
I am my mother when I utter the words, ‘but it wasn’t like that in my day.’
But it wasn’t.
The access to information, the overwhelming surge of social sharing, the shit our young adults have to process on a daily basis is way beyond what we as teens would do. I tell the kids to ‘google it’ when they ask me something I don’t know. So it is no surprise they google everything finding the internet to be a place to learn and understand.
But as adults – we know 90% of the stuff on the net is pure crap – so how do we figure out that lifeskill and pass it on.
I remember finding it hard being a teenager at the time when I didn’t have the consequences of social media, a life that was dominated by technology or a phone to text words as I thought them, right in the moment. And I did some stupid shit, so god help kids of today right now.
At the moment, my parenting feels like is consumes me and I am utterly defined by being a mum. I don’t remember the last time I climbed a mountain, met a friend for food, had a date, or tried something new.
I think I am failing a wee bit.
Because parenting three kids alone feels like stretching an elastic band until it snaps. It can be fun, boingy even, but at some point it will all go pear shaped and break.
I don’t think I am alone. Am sure other teenage parents feel the same. The drug of raising young adults – the utter highs and lows it can bring. The fear of fecking up, the realisation that they don’t need you as much, but when they want you – the utter joy that can cause.
I’m tired, I always thought I was a fighter, but the years are wearing me down. So many have it tougher than us, and the guilt of not being able to manage what I have at times, can eat at me.
I think I need an adventure, I think I need to see more of my friends, I think I need a reality check. Or maybe just a decent nights sleep or a night out on the tiles.
So tell me, those who have navigated the path of parenting through the junctions of teenage angst – does the road ultimately end in an Bahama based beach club? or does it simply finish with me a little greyer and dumpier.
Please let it end in the Bahamas. Where Botox is available on unlimited refills and your hair never changes from blonde.
Please let there be a place that all parents keep secret until your last child hits 18 and then a letter from the Queen arrives with a certificate saying you made it, and a postcode of a club where all tired, old parents go to have their energy reinserted and their youth given back….
(If this place doesn’t exist – can those of you with more experience than I resist telling me – Martin Luther King had a dream, Christ knows I need one.)
So, I’m finding parenting tough this week – whose with me?