“My kid is a jerk. No, I’m serious.
I just had a conversation with my 15-year-old daughter. Basically, it’s about her grades. She doesn’t like it when I harp on her. I don’t like it when her grades suck, so you can imagine how those conversations go. But this one. Yes, this one. It’s a gem. I think I’ll write it down and put it in her ‘special box’ alongside her grade school art and achievements and pull it out when I need a reminder of why I’m so freaking thankful I had a hysterectomy four years ago.
I simply informed her, very matter-of-fact, that she could not get her driver’s license until all of her grades were passing. Her response?
‘Okay, well, after the time where I could have got my license, and I should be driving, then you can’t complain anymore about having to drive me around since I should be driving myself.’
Wait. What? I can’t complain because you should have your driver’s license but don’t have it because you’re not getting with the program? Um, okay. Challenge accepted, sister.
Listen up, princess, not only will I complain (if I ever even let you back in the car), but I will also remind you at every red light why you’re not driving on your own, and I will, yes I will, subject you to Neil Diamond’s greatest hits while I sing along loud and proud with the sunroof open and windows down. Thirty degrees out? Don’t care. Bring a jacket. Maybe a scarf. Friends watching? Hmmm. I’ve always loved an audience. Bring it.
She wasn’t always like this. No, she wasn’t always condescending or stubborn and she didn’t always have to have it her way. After all, she has probably heard the phrase, “This isn’t Burger King, you don’t get it your way,” more times than she can count. She was sweet at one point. Loving. She cuddled. She wanted me to watch her when she did something cool. She wore leggings and silk-screened t-shirts that I picked out. And she loved them, or at least she pretended she did. She sang to me. She read to me. She did well in school. She was a nice person.
Then somewhere along the line, she just became a jerk. It was like as soon as she realized the tooth fairy wasn’t real, she got a dose of the hormone fairy which WAS real, and let me tell you – the hormone fairy is a jerk, too. I wonder if I leave a dollar under her pillow when she’s PMS’ing if the fairy will wave a magic wand and make it go away, but I doubt it. I don’t think there’s a cure for this. She’s the long-awaited karma my mother wished on me when I was sixteen. Well played, Mom. Well played. PS: I’m sending her to live with you for the summer. And, she’s bringing the damn dogs.
Speaking of dogs, I can’t count how many times I have to pick up the trash after they’ve tipped it over and I swear, I can’t even have people over anymore because did you know Shih Tzus can jump? Not only can they jump but they can head butt you too. I’m just not sure I have enough homeowners insurance to handle the claims anymore.
I’m surrounded by jerks. Big ones, little ones, girl ones, boy ones, furry ones. You get the picture. Now, before you all have a collective heart attack about what a jerk I am, I will admit that I was “that” teenager too. So, she comes by it naturally. It’s hereditary, I think. Although, I had another daughter who wasn’t quite this jerk-ish. So, I can pride myself there. Maybe because she was the first born. Maybe it skips a “generation.” Heck, I don’t know. But what I know now is my mini-me is a terrorist. A full blown terrorist.
And, just a caveat. I don’t really have the answers here. If you’re looking for a solution to this problem, you might want to go pick up a book by somebody with a PhD or something. Because, that’s not me. All I can do is share my story and hope that if it hits home with you, you know you’re not alone. I’ll never be a Pinterest mom, either. I am too busy making sure my kid gets her shit together and lives a productive life to sew together all her old t-shirts in a heart on a quilt to remind her of the good old days that will just end up on a heap on her floor anyway. The closest I come to things like that is slapping a pretzel stick in a peanut butter cup on Halloween and calling it a witch’s broom. Okay, I *might* make her meatloaf on October 31st that looks like a rat, too. See, I am a good mom.
Seriously, though. I thought my experience as a horrible teenager would lend me a hand when I had to deal with my own. I was wrong. This is a whole new breed. It’s like the young vampires in “Twilight.” They’re stronger. They’re faster. They’re mouthier. They have social media to contend with. The schools give them way too many breaks. They have too many choices. They are treated with kid gloves, way too much. Dr. Spock is a jerk, too, by the way. My generation learned from him that parents shouldn’t step on our itty-bitty toes.
Well, guess what? We’ve produced a new generation of monsters. Run. Run fast. Get out while you can. Some people are worried about the zombie apocalypse. I’m worried about the teenager apocalypse. She’s eating my brain. And my wallet.
By the way, did I mention the dogs? Have you ever heard a Shih Tzu bark? I have. Over and over. They think they’re coyotes. I swear. And right now, they’re wrestling over some stuffed animal, which is surely about to be flung open, so I can pick up little beads all over the carpet. No wait. They stopped. One of them had to drag their ass across the floor.
Oh good, now my friend just came in and noticed the guacamole that is sitting on the counter. His first question?
“Who left the guacamole out?”
Oh, for the love of all that’s Holy. Like you don’t already know.
Why even ask? No, babe, I did not come home and dig through the guacamole and leave it out with the top off so that it now looks like newborn diarrhea. Hey, let’s invite some friends over later. There’s still some left. Just squirt some lemon in it and add some green food coloring and mix it around. It was like $5.99. We’re using every last drop of that crap. But, I really don’t get it. Is there a reason she couldn’t have put it away before she left? Was the house on fire? Did a meteor hit the field down the street? Maybe she was kidnapped and couldn’t help it. Yeah, no. I have her on “find my friends” on my phone. She’s fine. At her friends, likely telling them how horrible I am.
Hey, maybe if she can pay attention in English for a millisecond, she can learn to write and start her own book. You know, the sequel to this; “My Mom is a Jerk.”
I just got an email from her speech teacher. Apparently, she’s behind two speeches and one paper. Ok, so, 1. Her speeches are written and would take like 2 minutes to present, and 2. The paper she’s missing? It’s in her binder. IN HER BACKPACK. The same one I see her taking to school every day. What in the actual hell? Is it too hard to take the paper out, that’s completely done and done correctly (because I watched her do it) and turn it in? Do I have to write her a note?
Dear mini me,
When you get to speech class, open your backpack and remove your binder. Take out the completed paper entitled, ‘Passive vs. Active Listening.’ Hand it to your teacher.”
Your birth mother
She would probably lose the note. Maybe I will have to text it to her. Oh wait, I have. Like seriously, it’s that hard? I wish I had another kid that went to school with her, but no. They had to grow up. They left. I’m sure you aren’t wondering why, haha. But, with one in the military and one in college, there’s nobody left to help. At least when my son went through this phase he had to pay his sister $2.00 to deliver his papers to his teachers. If he couldn’t do it, then she would. For a price. That lasted about two weeks until he was tired of being broke.
But, really, why can’t they turn in their work? Do they forget? Mini-stroke? Alien abduction?
Anyway, I told the teacher that, but then suggested that maybe I would have to deliver the paper myself and charge the kid a delivery fee.
The teacher suggested that if it worked, I could buy myself a drink. So, I challenged her. I told her that if she could get the kid to turn in her paper and give her speeches, I would buy the teacher a drink. Game on. I’m ok with bribes.
Maybe I should go to school with her. Are scrunchies still in fashion? Big hair? Hoop earrings? Neon? Jelly shoes? I could make braces out of tin foil and fit right in. Maybe I could take one of the dogs as an emotional support animal, but I’m pretty sure we would get kicked out when somebody tried to pick the shit up and it turned into a gremlin looking growling thing. Have you ever seen a Shih Tzu growl? Oh please, go pick one up that doesn’t want to be picked up. You’ll laugh. You need that. Just don’t get your face bit off. That would be gross.
Go on. I’ll wait.
If you still have your face and arms and legs intact, I’m wondering if this going to school and embarrassing thing works. Like, am I alone in this idea? I asked a friend. You know. Just to get some suggestions. Bad idea?
Hell no. Because after her kid was a jerk and then demanded she “wear something cute and not embarrass her” at the award ceremony the next day, my hero mom friend showed up in a Chewbacca mask and roared and clapped with her little miss looking on in pure disgust. As mom said it, “Gauntlet dropped!” Yaaaaaaas. I either have some really screwed up friends or they’re brilliant. I choose genius!”
This story was written for Love What Matters by Diana Stefano of Idaho. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.
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