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Let’s hop on the puberty roller coaster and go for a ride!

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Grab your helmets and strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Emma is almost 13. I will be blogging about this frequently. So just get used to it.

When your child is a toddler you deal with emotional outbursts, jags of fatigue and desperation. Fits of borderline psychotic attempts at expressing one’s individuality through yelling and door slamming.

Well, ten years later- you get to go through it. All. Over. Again.

The sulking. The pouting. The ‘don’t talk to me!’. The “why don’t you understand?”. The “you’re the worst mom ever!”.

Isn’t parenting fun?

I realize my child did not ask to be brought into this world. My husband and I had this fabulous notion of making people and looking forward to how much it would fulfill and enrich our lives. And it has. I wouldn’t trade it for the WORLD. The sun rises and sets on my sweet children. However, it does not change the fact that there are times when I want to drop-kick my daughter into next week when she gets all up in my craw.

The other night I had to practice tremendous restraint. It was her brother’s Cub Scout banquet and we arrived early to help set up. Apparently, this is one of the worst things you can ask your almost 13 year old to help out with. They will give you that look like you’ve grown a horn from the center of your forehead and have asked them to drink the blood of a baby llama.

She forgot her iPod and Kindle. So this meant, she was without Instagram or SnapChat and had to – get this- interact with people actually in the room with her. Oh the horror.

I didn’t realize that she was extremely hungry when we got there. So this contributed to her grumpyness. I know I’m no fun when my blood sugar is plummeting. But folks- it was a banquet. We were 10 minutes from a spaghetti buffet with all the fixins’. She wasn’t going to starve.

Thank GOD the food helped. For about two hours she was pleasant to folks, helped take pictures and only made her brother cry once.

She almost made me cry twice, but hey. I’m tough. When it was over and we were helping clean up, again, we were – THE WORST parents ever. Making her stand around like that, helping to fold and stack chairs… ugh. It’s like coal mining. Such hard work.

I pretty much steered clear from her as best as I could. I think even bed time was tense and there seemed to be a lot of heavy exasperated sighs and drawer slamming. I gave her a short lecture on her stinky behavior and how she was a royal pain in the ass and not at all gracious to us.

While tucking in Owen he asked me why she was being such a butt. Well, he didn’t say that, but let’s just cut to the chase. I told him it’s part of girls growing up. They get moody and emotional and it’s best we stay out of her way.

The next morning, which was Sunday, I had an epiphany. I decided instead of pestering Emma to clean her room and continue to fight with her, I caught her off guard first thing when she woke up. “Hey, guess what?” I announced, “you and I are going to do a little shopping and go see a movie.”

Talk about 180 degree mood switch. Her face lit up. Her mood improved. She was mine again and it felt nice.

Yes, there was one or two instances during our day of where my annoying ‘momness’ seeped through and she needed to make me aware. But on the whole, we had a great time. We laughed, shopped, sang, and at times, almost peed our pants (from the laughing).

As much as I want to force her to comply and make her feel miserable for the way she treats us sometimes, I realize that I probably make the people miserable around me once a month. And I know that one of my favorite things to do is shop for makeup and go see a movie.

For some, maybe it’s go for a bike ride. Maybe it’s get out on the field and run or kick a ball. That’s great. I know that with my girl, usually some sushi and lip gloss helps set her straight.

Am I rewarding her rotten behavior? Not necessarily. I’m keeping her from putting her walls up around herself so high that I might never scale them again. Usually her mood swings come and go. But if I beat a dead horse and only nag her of all the things she’s doing wrong, or all the things she’s NOT doing (i.e. clean her room), I worry that she will shut me out and only want to keep company with her peers.

I also have to remember not to take her behavior personally. She’s not acting against me. She’s struggling within her own feelings.

I’ve always made it clear that I’m her mom first and foremost. But life’s too short to dwell in the low valleys of hormones. I think I kind of found a break-through. If I keep from harping on her, call her on her shit but don’t beat a dead horse with it, but find the stuff we have in common; I think we’ll all survive.

I’ll let you know.


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  1. Oh thank GOD you redeemed yourself. Your behavior was worrying me, I thought I was going to have to call child protective services on you. Imagine, no iPod or Kindle. What kind of sick, psychotic mother are you?? Your poor daughter had to actually look and speak to people?? Without using her fingers to type words??? UGH!! I, for one, am glad you don’t live near me. I’d have to go to your house, knock on your door and send you a sharply worded text and/or email.

    I’ve got 2 teen girls. Feel my pain. 😉

    Nicely done, good recovery, Mom.

  2. So funny… I posted on FB. Great solution, but you’re not the only one who dreams of drop kicking them when they act like madwomen!

  3. Thank GOD for your post! You have saved me my first $150.00/hr for therapy! 12 year old female over here. HARD! I love that you acknowledged not to take it personally, she’s struggling with her own feelings. Sometimes that is soooooo tough to remember! Thanks.

  4. My youngest just turned thirty and is fine. Pretty excellent actually. Makes good money and goes to Boot Camp. (Two amazing kids also.) But she talks about stuff when she was in High School and I have NO recollection, so I guess that is how I coped. I just wasn’t really there.

  5. Oh, the joy of hormones! My oldest turns 12 next month and her’s have been raging for at least 6 months now. I try to be understanding but there are times…..oh there are times….lol. Good luck to us both! 😉

  6. I love this post! And having made it to the other side, unscathed (with the 17 year old), but just getting started with the almost 12 year old, I think you nailed it. On all sides. Love how you flipped the tables on her – in a positive way – with the shopping trip. I need to remember to do that more often. Fabulous post ~ I’ll be sharing!

  7. Your approach sounds very sensible. The teen years are so rocky and full of drama. When it happens it happens, but why hang onto it after it’s over?

  8. I love this so much! You are a wise woman. I kinda had the same experience with my daughter (but on the toddler end). I was finding myself so irritated with her that it was difficult to just be civil. I was the one huffing exasperated sighs and slamming drawers. So, I took her on a date and whadya know? It fixed it for both of us.

  9. Oh Lord. I’m so very afraid of these days.
    I just know I’m going to get worked over by my PMS’ing teenage daughter.

  10. Suzanne says:

    Was I really that bad? My mother says so. I love the roller coaster analogy! I didn’t anticipate my emotions would be tied to theirs so tightly. I already did 8th grade! I already did high school! It sucks that I feel like I am right back there with each “worst day of my life!”. I have to figure out out to separate my emotions from theirs before I go mental. At 13 and 15, there’s a long way to go. I would rather change diapers all day long!

  11. I so NEEDED to read this!! Thank you so much. My daughter is 14 and most of the time I feel like she hates my guts – and I constantly feel like if I go out of my way to do something special it’s rewarding her behavior. You put this in perspective, love it!

  12. At least she has a cool mom to help her through. I don’t know many moms who would help their daughters make a cool and funny YouTube video. 🙂 Thank goodness I don’t have daughters because I’m definitely not that cool!

  13. Wow…. I wish I had read your words when my girls were hitting this age. Love the insight about keeping them from putting up walls. So wise!

    I just found you on the advice of “The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess”.

    • Thank you for coming by. Well, let’s hope I remember my own advice as the years go by. Deep breaths!

  14. Great post, and funny! I have thirteen year old twins, thank goodness only ONE of them is a girl, she’s Tasmanian some days. I agree with you, sometimes we have to cut our losses and carry on with some fun.