I don’t think you ever quite reach the heady heights of triumph over the calamitous existence that is life for your family when one member is a hormonal slightly obsessive teenager and another is a hormonal fully obsessive middle-aged woman; there is always that anxious pursuit of normal that never really ends. In fact trying to be normal is a little like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a tidy kids bedroom; a nice dream but never really attainable.
All I suggest you do is put one foot in front of the other and please try to a better job of it than Justin Bieber. Here are a few hints that may help that happen.
The seemingly clichéd good diet, rest, exercise and plenty of water isn’t just for lycra-clad fit freaks:
Get marathon fit. Let’s face it this race is going to be long, exhausting and physically demanding. Being fit is essential for you to be able to cope with getting up at the crack of dawn to begin your seemingly endless crusade against a waist which seems to expand faster than the Chinese economy and arm flaps to rival any Turkey’s snood (flap of skin over their beak and my new favourite word).
Rest. Normal night time sleep, in a bed, between the hours of ten and five may not be a realistic aspiration. The reasons for this are many but due in no small part to: hot flushes, night sweats, snoring partner, anxious teenager. You may for health’s sake need to resort to closing your eyes while waiting in line at the bank, supermarket, traffic lights or anywhere else you have five idle minutes. Word of warning, the traffic lights example can get the horn loving bloke with a head the shape of man’s appendage sitting behind you a little upset but who cares?
Eat well and drink plenty of water. This one is difficult. When you are short on time all you want to do is grab a snickers bar and keep going. So maybe I speak for myself (she says as she swigs on her beer and hoovers up another mouthful of pork scratchings). Seriously though recently I have cut out sugar and grains and have upped my water intake and I have noticed my energy levels increase dramatically. You need those energy levels to deal with other things like standing strong in the face of a teenager asking the impossible, why waste them on eating crap food.
With regards to actually managing the teenager probably the smartest thing I have learnt is DON’T POKE THE BEAR! This can make them angry. No, no, that’s not quite right. This can make them angrier. Wait until it is the right time to address any concerns. I find that is usually the middle of the day after they have been fed.
Finally learn to say no. Even if you are unable to say no to others it is important to be able to do so for your teenager.
‘’Mum can I…”
“Jane, can you do tuckshop today, tomorrow and next Tuesday even though you don’t have enough time to look in the mirror and fix that wild hair thing you have going on?”
“Uh, of course”
“No I’m too busy at the moment.”
“Ma’am, if you’ve got time I would like to explain to you the intricate workings of our solar power system and talk you into buying one at our exorbitantly high prices even though I see you are weighed down with shopping and obviously in a hurry to somewhere else.”
“Ummm, I guess so.”
“Mum can I have…
“Honey, I’ll be away next week so you will need to pick kids up from scouts and miss Aikido despite it being you last bastion of normality.”
So with all this great advice I’m sure you’ll be on the road to a harmonious household. There could also be fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Do you have any gems of advice when it comes to coping with teenagers?