She’s Growing Up, And It’s Not What I Expected

I’m writing this as a way to calm myself down. Since getting home from work, I’ve had three different arguments with my 12-year-old daughter: first was about her watching only television throughout the day; the second was about her asking friends to nominate her for the ice bucket challenge; and the third was because she refuses to untangle her hair. There’s still the possibility of a fourth, as she’s refusing to go to bed now: she’s protesting her early, back-to-school preparation routine. Humming, tossing and turning, and doing everything possible to not do what I asked.

I usually pick my battles.

It’s how I’ve learned to live under the same roof with this morphed version of my child.

But it’s hard. Tonight is hard.

And I usually feel like shit shortly after all of it. Regardless of whether I did what was right, or what was necessary to keep her safe—and me sane—for another night. I feel like shit.

I miss my peace from before. When my biggest worry was whether I had gotten her to bed happily enough. You know, read her books, gave her a nice bath—what was routine.

Now, I’m lucky if I go to bed happily enough.

And whether anything I’m doing—even the yelling—is doing any good.

Cause I’ve been yelling and “disciplining” a lot.

I told a friend a few days ago: “I don’t mind if she makes the same mistakes as me—even the stupid ones. I just want her to be smart about those stupid ones.”

Whatever that means. That’s another thing about parenting a teen, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing or saying half the time. They’ve driven you THAT crazy.

I’ve got a few more years to go. If I’m lucky, maybe this is it—she’ll get most of it out of her system before calming down. If I’m not, then this is just the calm warning before the storm.

All I know, and am not so happily about, is that we will never have our old normal again. And once she’s shed this, it’ll be a different phase—one where she’ll need me less. She’ll be more of who she needs to be. She’ll also be able to comb her own hair.

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