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I Am the Mother of Teens. Am I Really the Person They Think I Am?

Teens are often (justly) accused of being annoying, weird, needy, naggy, lazy, insensitive. What I didn’t realize is that as the mother of teens, my teens assign the same labels to me—usually when I think I am being just the opposite.

The Mother of Teens: Just A Few “Mom Descriptions”

Here’s a sampling of the adjectives the kids have used to describe me (this week):

Annoying

Weird

Needy

Naggy

Lazy

Annoying

Insensitive

What? I wouldn’t use any of those words to describe myself. I think I’m…

Helpful

I ask Child #3 to pull her chair in, as I notice she is sitting about 3 feet from the kitchen table.

A gutteral noise, followed by “You’re. So. Annoying.” She exits stage right immediately after eating.

Fun

Minding my own business, blasting the music to Dear Evan Hanson and dancing as I prepare for the holiday dinner, Child #3 walks in.

“Ucchhhh. You are SO weird.” Hair flip. Exit stage left.

You’re so Weird! My Kids’ Mom Labels

Caring

Child #2 enters the room, and sees I am talking to my sister (again).

“You are SO needy,” he quips.

“Hang on,” I tell my sister. I give him the stink eye.

“Didn’t you just talk to her yesterday?”

I think about it for a second. I did talk to her, maybe for a minute or two. That hardly counts.

“So?”

He rolls his eyes, exits stage left, muttering something about my neediness under his breath.

Proactive

Text to the kids: “Guests coming tomorrow for the holiday. Please—everything off the kitchen and dining room tables. Thx.”

I hear one say to the other, “Ugh, she is SO naggy.”

They laugh together at their common enemy.

Their Common Enemy

Industrious

At 10:30 p.m., I yawn for the eighth time in a 10-minute period.

Child #2 observes my yawn.

“You are SO lazy.”

“No, I am exhausted.”

“Hmmm, just looks like lazy.”

Empathetic

“How was _____________?” I ask Child #2 as he is having a snack and doing homework.

“Fine.”

“Oh, you seemed worried about it last night.”

“Oh my god, you are SO annoying.”

Insert: my confused face (which I hide from said child, ‘cause that could be even more annoying).

Sensitive

Child #3 enters the room. I am smarter now. Don’t ask, I say to myself repeatedly. I remain silent, and that is not easy. Frankly, I am kind of proud of my restraint.

“Aren’t you going to ask how things went today?” she spouts. “You know I was so worried. You don’t even care.” She stomps out of the room.

I guess from my kids’ point of view: different words, same meaning. Mom is annoying.

Oh, my point of view? So glad you asked. No matter what they think, I know moms are…

Always. Right.

Stephanie Silverman

Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.

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