Surviving Teens with Scary Mommy

Around 5:00pm, I started to hear the clicking off of lights and the shutting of doors around my office.  People were leaving to join their families for the evening.  Or even have a drink to celebrate the end of the workday.

The moment I contemplated packing up my stuff to exit, I remembered that I have teenagers waiting at home for me.  Teenagers in the midst of 6-weeks exams that require my assistance in creating quizzes on quizlet.com.  Teenagers that need me to proofread their rough draft and help them find all of the passive verbs and act as a human thesaurus.  Teenagers that will have friends over, standing in the threshold between my kitchen and den, eating my food and watching sports on my tv, all pretending that they don’t have 6-weeks tests and papers.

So instead of packing my stuff, I googled “mom blogs teenage boys.”  Misery loves company and I needed to know that there are more of us out there suffering through it.  Dreading going to work in the morning and dreading going home at night.

Well, I have hit the motherload, so I’m going to share a couple of wonderful posts with you from Scary Mommy.

10 Things You Need to Know About Raising a Teenager

5 Ways Toddlers are Easier Than Teens

Parenting an Average Student

I could spend all evening on this website, reading all of the wonderful and honest posts under “Surviving Teens,” but alas, I must go home and actually face my teens in order to survive them.

Good luck to everyone out there in the trenches of raising teenagers!

I hated high school

MonoBoy is failing Chemistry.  Not Honors Chemistry, REGULAR Chemistry.  His ONE regular class that he swore he would get 100s in.  Is he missing some key concepts?  Uh no.  He’s just refusing to turn in his homework.  (Even as I type this, I can hear my mother cackling as she remembers my 6th grade year , and quite possibly my senior year, when I had similar issues.)

Also, his History teacher approached me the other day because she is worried about him.  “He seems depressed.”  Ugh.  I thought he was showing signs of improvement.  He’s participated in normal activities with friends, rekindled the brotherly bond with his brother, and brought all of his grades up.  Except apparently Chemistry, which I knew nothing about because I hadn’t received any email notifications from the Parent Portal.  Turns out, the email notification system is “down.”

I asked him about History and he said that he doesn’t talk in there anymore because one day, when he had headphones on but wasn’t playing any music, he overheard the girls next to him making fun of him and the way that he dresses.  Uh-huh.  What are their names and addresses so that I can go and rough them up?

Instead I  texted his teacher to let her know why he no longer speaks in her class and just sits with his hoodie pulled over his head.  She replied with, “I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be mean.  We don’t really have any mean girls in that class.  I think one of them actually has a crush on him.”

I forgot how much I hated high school.  I was no stranger to mean girls.  And now I get to relive it through my boys.

Gag me with a spoon.  Like totally.  #80steenager

Lessons from Rosie O’Donnell

I might have mentioned two or two-hundred times that raising teenagers is hard.  I’m really just trying to prepare those of you that are still enjoying raising children that don’t act like the spawn of Satan.  Yet.

Also, I’m whining.

I recently watched Rosie O’Donnell’s “A Heartfelt Stand-Up,” and I laughed until I cried.  (I urge you to google it immediately.)  Like Rosie, I thought that those pitiful parents struggling with teenagers must be doing something wrong.  My sweet, little, bright-eyed, cherub-faced angels would NEVER act like that.  Until they did, and I found myself feeling like the failure that I judged other parents to be.

In more news about Rosie, within the past two years, she and her wife had another child to go along with her current FOUR teenagers.   (I know, I gasp at the thought too.)  She explained that it was because she has four teenagers and wanted to be reminded that she really did like kids that she chose to have another child.  That makes perfect sense to me because the other day, I just happened to watch our local news and saw a clip of a 10-year-old boy who is looking for a forever home with a family that loves sports.

And I was like, “Hey, we’re a family that loves sports!  We might not like each other all of the time, but we LOVE sports!”  They showed him shooting a basketball with some local college players and his sweet little voice announced that he hoped for a comfortable bed and game system.  My heart melted into a puddle.    I want him.  He belongs to me.

I remember a time when my kids were happy with the things that I provided, like a comfortable bed and a gaming system.  They were just plain happy kids, not the brooding creatures they are now.

I’ve spent the past few days trying to figure out how to convert my unused formal living room into a bedroom, complete with a bed and gaming system.  My friends, like Rosie’s friends, think that I have lost my mind.  I am so close to having an empty nest, free from the angry people who currently live in my home.

I guess I just figure that I will have six good years before I will want to put him back up for adoption.  Or ship him off to boarding school.  Or sell him on eBay.  Or any of the other ideas that I have come up with to deal with my current teenagers.

I told my boys about my idea and they just rolled their eyes, as if this confirms just how crazy they already think I am.  Shoot, maybe I am just one kid shy of the Funny Farm.

But if Rosie can do it, can’t I?  Oh sure, she has way more money than me and probably a larger support system of people.  And sure, she did suffer a MASSIVE heart attack.  But let me remind you that she has FOUR teenagers, while I only have two.  My heart attack should be much milder.

So what do you think?  Is it worth the risk?

 

MonoBoy will babysit

Last night The Ex called MonoBoy to ask him to stay at his house tonight to “babysit” his stepbrothers (two boys – a high school freshman and a 7th grader).  He and his wife are going to the Rodeo in the Big City and need someone to watch her kids because they will get home late (*cough* *drunk* *cough*).

But hold up just a minute.

Let’s rewind a few years to the beginning of this relationship when my kids were both in middle school (one in 7th grade and one in 8th grade).  Because The Ex was in the phase of his relationship where he tries to prove that he is an awesome dad, he insisted on having his scheduled time, despite pleas from MonoBoy to stay home because of his mono.  The had just moved into a two-story house in a new neighborhood.  His furniture consisted of lawn chairs and blow-up mattresses.  (Why furnish something that you will be evicted from before the six-month mark?)  The house was nice, but didn’t yet hold the comforts of home.

One night during visitation, the happy new couple decided to attend a local fundraising event.  An annual event that we used to attend during our marriage.  An event that served free alcohol and often resulted in me being drug to a variety of bars after the event ended.  Fun for him, not so much for me.

Around 10:00pm, the boys called me from the front lawn, refusing to go back into the house.  Their walkie-talkies had picked up interference, and in their minds, it was straight out of a horror movie.  I went to the house, walked up the stairs, retrieved the walkie-talkies and turned them off.  I looked in the closets to assure them that no one was hiding and waiting to get them.

It wasn’t enough.  They begged to come home.  I contacted my attorney, but he said that unless they were in immediate danger, I could not remove them from the home without risk of contempt charges.  I encouraged them to call their father to ask him to come home.  I asked them to let me call him, but they refused because they didn’t want him to know that they called me.  He would be furious.

So I settled with parking my car one street over and letting them call me whenever they were scared.  Which was about every five minutes.  Finally, a little after 1:00am, I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to take my chances with the police and contempt charges, and bring my children home to get some sleep.  As I pulled around the corner, the happy, tipsy couple was arriving at the house.  Without a care in the world, since they apparently thought it was appropriate to leave my boys alone in an unfamiliar setting while they drank the night away “for charity.”

What’s changed now?  It was okay to leave kids unsupervised and scared then, but not okay now?  I guess they learned their lesson?  At the expense of my children?   Heaven forbid that HER children suffer in the safety of their own home that they are familiar and comfortable in!  And did anyone ask my opinion about leaving my teenager in charge of other kids over night?  I mean, he’s been in trouble for breaking the rules how many times over the past two months?  But, hey, let’s put him in charge of a kid that’s just a year younger and goes to the same high school.

Of course, part of me wonders if this is just another excuse to get MonoBoy to spend the night at his house.  MonoBoy did tell LoverBoy that dear-old-dad said that he could come too, if he wanted.  That’s so sweet and personal it gave me chills.  I was just so surprised when he passed on the “offer.”  Besides it being an afterthought, tonight he will be in the starting lineup of his Varsity soccer game.  His first official Varsity start.  Guess Daddy-o won’t see it.

And neither will his brother, since he will be babysitting.

Donuts make it all better

This morning I drug MonoBoy to talk to a counselor.  I do mean “drug.”  I didn’t tell him about the appointment initially because who wants to hear complaining for an entire month?  Instead, I broke the news this morning when he was already in the car.  There was a moment that I feared he might bail out of the moving vehicle.  To say that he wasn’t happy is like saying that water is wet.  Duh.

He actually REFUSED to get out of the car when we arrived at the office.  Exasperated, I headed on up to the office because by that time, I needed the counseling session myself.  Eventually, he emerged from the car (purely out of guilt) and came into the office.  We chatted very briefly with the counselor together, and it really seemed to go along fine.  Although I doubt that he will ever return on his own fruition.

I had visited with the guy during MonoBoy’s standoff and told him that he was struggling with depression, gave him my opinion of the causes, and admitted that within the past week, MonoBoy had started opening up about the issues and showing great strides toward improvement.  Later during our joint discussion, he asked MonoBoy, “On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate your level of self-esteem with ten being the highest?”

“Four.”

I wanted to burst into tears.  How in the world could this be?  Is it genetic?  God knows that I have self-esteem around that range, but this kid is good at EVERYTHING.  He should be riding high on the self-esteem cloud of Level Ten.

You know immediately where my self-esteem sends my mind.  I HAVE FAILED AS A MOTHER.  Then my mind reflects on all of those addiction shows where the addict says, “It all started when my parents separated when I was nine.  I was using crystal meth by the time I was sixteen.”  Heck, even the chick on TLC’s “Love, Lust, or Run” blamed her outlandish dress on her parents divorce.

Hello! Outlandish dressing?  MonoBoy was sitting next to me in jeans with holes in the knees and a hoodie covered by my old denim jacket from the Michael Jackson era.  Waaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

The good news is that three Dunkin’ Donuts later, MonoBoy was speaking to me again.  Yes, donuts make it all better.  Just ask my big butt.