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27 Things We Don’t Miss Now That Our Kids Are Teenagers

Raising teenagers is hard—exhausting, bone-wearying, mentally-draining hard. But there is always a silver lining. You have to admit: there are things about adolescents that are just easier than when they were small. Of course, we the editorial staff at Your Teen loved every minute with our little ones—our sticky, messy, needy little ones—but c’mon. 

What We Don’t Miss About Small Children:

  1. Fighting over who gets to sit on Mom’s lap. Sure, sometimes they don’t want to be anywhere near you now, but no one misses holding 90 lbs of sweaty, squirming little bodies on your lap so no one feels left out.
  2. Using a public bathroom with multiple children. Remember trying to squeeze all of you, plus the baby in his car seat, into the bathroom at McDonald’s (“NO, DON’T TOUCH THAT!”, or the stress of telling the four-year-old to wait outside for Mommy and STAY RIGHT THERE? Maybe it’s not as life-threatening as driving with a 15-year-old with a learner’s permit, but that was some serious stress.
  3. Cooking for kids who will eat things other than chicken nuggets. Teenagers are finally not so suspicious of innovation and of new food on their plate. They’ve finally agreed to try something other than chicken nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, and white noodles. No one cries if the different food groups on their plate touch. 
  4. Looking for the lost “lovey.” The terror of realizing that Blankey is missing, and that your child will never go to sleep without it. Groping around in the dark under the crib, or frantically searching the car for the one, irreplaceable thing that your toddler values above all others and cannot live without? So perhaps now the lost lovey is your teenager’s phone, but at least they can hunt for that themselves.
  5. When they wake up at 5 a.m.— and crawl into your bed. You finally have your bed back, and they stay in theirs. Now if you hear someone moving around at 1 a.m., at least you know the baby hasn’t crawled out of the crib again.
  6. Rectal thermometers. Need we say more?
  7. Changing crib sheets/bunk bed sheets. Wrestling with those all-elastic sheets, trying to get one corner on without the other corners coming loose? Nightmare. And when you were changing a crib sheet in the middle of the night, it was usually because someone’s diaper had exploded or they were covered with regurgitated sweet potato.
  8. Putting on sunscreen. We don’t miss putting gobs of sunscreen on resistant little bodies who just want to get in the pool already, and cry when it gets in their eyes. Nagging a teenager to put it on themselves is so much less greasy.
  9. Vomit anywhere but the toilet. They never seemed to make it to the toilet, did they? At least your teenager doesn’t run past the bathroom to vomit beside your bed anymore.
  10. Car seats. Sticky, covered in crushed Cheerios, and such a pain. Now teens can put on their own seatbelts.
  11. Flying with a baby who has an ear infection. At least your teen can tell you when their ear hurts, and other passengers won’t look at you like you are terrible parents because your baby wails for the entire three-hour flight.
  12. Separation anxiety. The baby who cried when anyone else held them, the toddler hugging your leg, the preschooler who cried every time you dropped them off. Now they like being separated from you.
  13. Emergency snacks in your purse. Teenagers with driver’s licenses can even go get their own snacks!
  14. Playing pretend. No, we don’t want to pretend to be a zoo animal, or a firefighter, or a monster chasing you. We still may have to pretend occasionally that we are calm and not screaming on the inside, but that’s different.
  15. Stepping on Legos. Ouch!
  16. Potty training. It’s nice not sitting on the edge of the tub for 20 minutes while you wait for number two, or doling out M & M’s when they stay dry. In fact, it’s nice not knowing about anything they do in the bathroom.
  17. Not being able to read for themselves. You don’t have to read “Go Dog, Go!” twice a day. And you can read together, and talk about what you’re each reading.
  18. Ball pits. The germs, the kid who just crawled out with wet pants, the certainty that your kids will want to go in anyway. Yuck.  
  19. Exploding diapers. And diaper bags, and always having a spare set of clothes, and running out of wipes.
  20. Playing haircut. Okay, so maybe your teen still cuts their hair into a style you don’t like, but at least everyone understands it’s A Phase and doesn’t judge you.
  21. Biting. Again—ouch!
  22. Drawing on the walls. And they thought you would like it, too, remember?  
  23. Public tantrums. And having everyone watch you to see how you respond. Teenagers at least understand that’s, like, so embarrassing.
  24. Checking pockets before laundry. Because you had to, or risk having food, crayons, gum, and who knows what else ruin an entire load. One of the Your Teen staff even found a bloated, dead frog in the machine because she failed to check every one of her boys’ pockets…
  25. Planning birthday parties. Trying to come up with games and activities to entertain 14 six-year-olds and have them only last for 15 minutes. Now you can just order pizzas and let them play Xbox.
  26. Snack food all over the car. It’s so much better to have muddy cleats, wet towels, and empty Gatorade bottles, right?
  27. And last but not least …
    “Mom? Mom? Mom! Mom! MOM! MOOOOOOMMMM.”

Jane Parent

Jane Parent is senior editor of Your Teen.