I was never going to be the geometry-savvy mom, the DIY mom, or the mom who did cool hair. I was, however, certain I’d be the wise mom; that easy to chat to mom whose advice is on point and whose opinions open her kids’ eyes to the bigger picture. And I am. I am the wise mom, to my youngest and my middle daughter. In fact, I just finished a pretty deep and emotional chat with my eleven-year-old about the complexities of friendship.
But, as it turns out, according to my fourteen-year-old daughter, my tips are actually annoying AF.
It seems my once welcomed words of wisdom are now mere ramblings of a clueless irrelevant. Not only that, but apparently I come across as “judgey”?! (insert WTF?! faced emoji).
I’ve never thought of myself as a judgey person. And the times when she thinks I’m judging, I feel like I’m guiding. It’s incredible how differently words can be perceived.
My teen acts like I am the most painfully, annoying person she’s ever met. She also makes it very clear how uncool she thinks I am, with the use of eye-rolls, audible sighs, and verbal digs like: “Why do you do your eyeliner like that?” Or: “Are you actually wearing that, out?”
She even chips away at my cooking: “We’re having lasagna, again?!”
And she poo-poos the groceries I bring home: “Why didn’t you get any good food?”
My absolute favourite is when she asks for my opinion about something: “Hey, what do you think of this picture I took?” And when I respond honestly she is exasperated by my words. Reason being? She didn’t really want my opinion.
If I hadn’t been a rude-ass, moody teen myself, I might be inclined to wonder if my teenager hates me.
But I was a rude-ass, moody teenager, and I didn’t hate my mom…did I?
I remember being a teenager and asking my mom’s opinion about which dress I should wear to a dance (floral with shoulder pads or paisley with a tulip skirt) knowing damn-well which one I wanted her to pick (the floral!). When she picked the paisley one, I got mad at her. “As if?! As IF I would wear the PAISLEY one!”
Such a delight, I was. But I didn’t really hate my mom, and neither does my daughter. She’s just a fourteen-year-old girl building up some grit and some armour which she’ll need for that big world out there.
Sometimes I call my teen out on her rudeness. Sometimes we fight. But many times (with a covert eye-roll of my own) I just let her snippy comments roll off the back of my favourite furry house sweater. Because, as much as I want to be the wise mom, I now see that I need to be the patient mom (for the unforeseeable future.) Besides, I know she doesn’t actually mean to hurt me. She simply has frustrations in her day-to-day life and she feels secure in our relationship. I’m a safe person to crap on because I’m her mom and I love her, no matter what she says or does.
And now, as my daughter goes down that same rocky path towards independence, I’ll try to keep myself grounded and remember she’s figuring out who she is right now. And, unlike my own teen experience, she has to come into herself alongside the never-ending façade of Instagram perfection. I feel for her. It can’t be easy. And, of course, I’m going to love her through it. I’m going to be strategically wise and as patient as I can be. I’m going to sprout new greys and add depth to my worry lines. I’m going to hang-on tightly to the invisible tether between me and her. I’ll talk less, listen more and I’ll give her some space to grow secure in the knowledge that someday she’ll be asking for my lasagna recipe.