Being the mother of teenagers means there is never enough food in the refrigerator. Or if there is enough food, it isn’t the right food. Or if there is enough food in the fridge and it is the right food, it won’t be there for very long. So, being a mother of teenagers means basically means becoming good friends with your neighborhood grocery store cashiers. Treat them well, you’ll be seeing each other often.
Now you might actually think there is enough food in the fridge, or the cupboard, because there are cereal boxes and cracker packages and the plastic wrap from bread loaves. Don’t be fooled. These are all empty. They have simply been put back on the shelf empty because being the mother of teenagers means having perpetually empty garbage cans and a house strewn with the garbage that should be filling them.
The ice cube trays are put back in the freezer empty, as are the popsicle molds, the peanut butter jar, the pitcher of lemonade iced tea. All empty. Or, miracle of miracles, if you really do have a well-stocked fridge and cupboard for a day, your teenagers will promptly bring over friends, and it is back to the grocery store for you.
Being the mother of teenagers means learning a whole new language (cheddar, tope, yolo? Anyone?), being introduced to new text acronyms (WYCM, MOS, NMJC? Anyone?), listening to new music, discovering new fashion trends, learning about new apps, all the while realizing that while you used to be rather intelligent, even heroic in the eyes of your kids, now you know nothing.
Being the mother of teenagers means you return to the sleepless nights of being the mother of infants. If you’re lucky, you slept through the night when the kids were 5-12 years old. But now? You stay up late, wondering what they are doing or waiting for the magic witching hour when teenagers start talking. That hour comes after your bedtime, no matter what your bedtime is.
When you do sleep, you worry and wonder and hope and replay conversations, turning them over and over to learn what you could have done differently, what you should do differently next time. Your mind swells proud with the clever and kind things the teens did today, the hilarious stories they told, the creative solution they used to solve a problem.
But above all, besides being hungry or constantly at the grocery store, clueless, tired, and proud, being the mother of teenagers means holding your breath and praying like mad.