This weekend, Modern Family starlet Ariel Winter, 17, earned her legal right to emancipation from her mother. While the media has reported on alleged neglect and abuse in this sad case, we moms can’t help but recognize the all-but-universal dynamic between freedom-chasing teenagers and harried parents. Generations consistently clash over the obvious and mostly mundane: broken curfews, obnoxious boyfriends, snarky attitudes and that hidden stash of weed beneath the bed.
Still, you know what they say: God made teenagers so mothers would want to cut the apron strings. Here’s how to answer your darling high school senior when she threatens to walk. (Try to restrain yourself from telling her to run.)
You realize you’ll be doing your own laundry now, right?
No more Mom to help sort, wash, dry and fold. Ha. So there. Welcome to running out of clean underwear. Get used to it.
Bills are not boys with the full name ‘William.’
You know those, like, totally chic open-toed booties you love? The ones we remortgaged the house for? How ’bout those oversized nerd glasses that come in cherry red? Yeah. Guess what—they cost money. A credit card statement arrives each month. And someone’s got to pay it. Guess that someone is now you.
Just because you can write a check does not mean you can write a check.
Yes, you do have hundreds of blank checks! No, this is not the same thing as having money in the bank!
Who will you scream at when I’m not around?
Do I really need to elaborate on this one?
No, you can’t take the car.
See No. 4. Ditto.
Sorry, I’ve got nothing in my wallet.
Your allowance days are over, kiddo. You’re an emancipated adult now, remember? This means you must do every necessary task for yourself—for free.
Does this mean I can finally turn your room into an office?
I hate to say it, but I’ve been eyeing your corner bedroom for years now. The western exposure in the afternoons is to die for!
The contents of the refrigerator cannot go with you.
Wait. I take that back. You can have the Frescas.
If you honestly believe managing Forever 21 at the mall is a better career move than going to college, by all means, suit yourself.
I know. You’re almost 18. Almost old enough to vote, and certainly old enough to have a say in your own future. Yes, those amazing discounts you’ll soon get on lacy cami rompers and southwestern-style jumpsuits will help your bottom line, for sure. And it’s true, parking is free at the Galleria. I think you might soon grow bored earning minimum wage and eating Cinnabon every day for lunch, but what do I know? I’m only 30 years older than you, and your mother.
Goodbye. Wait! You weren’t serious, were you?
Sweetheart, don’t go. I only have a year or so of you before you really walk away and toward adulthood. And even when you roll your eyes at me and sigh heavily in my direction, please know this: You’re my favorite teenager in the world. And that’s really saying something because you’re 17 right now. And, Lord knows, you suck.