I'll Have 4 Teens At Once, And I'm Already Freaking Out

by Caila Smith
Kentaroo Tryman

I had a hard time asking for help with any of my newborns. It’s not necessarily something that I’m proud of… it just is what it is. We have two sets of twins who are three years apart. So, let’s be real, I should’ve been more receptive to those offers of help — and should have made my own requests too. But I valued time spent alone with my babies, and I knew these moments would be fleeting.

Or… maybe I subliminally realized I needed to savor all of those “can I ask you a favor” cards for my kids’ later teenage years. Because we are going to have four teenagers at once in this household at some point, and OMG HELP ME. No, seriously… Send. Help. Pronto.

First of all, moms with multiple menstruating kids, I’m dying to know if Starbucks has anything that can cure “we have three teenagers and a moody mother PMS-ing this morning?” If so, will someone please go pick one up for me so I don’t have to do real pants and people? We know how much the PMS-ing mother hates real pants and people. And if there’s no coffee to cure that ailment, then I guess a Moscato fountain will suffice. Oh, and we’ll need a pallet of menstrual products and chocolate. STAT.

And then there’s my lone son. Have I mentioned I seriously don’t know the first thing about teenage boys?

Valid question… when their voice starts to change, am I supposed to say something about it in a loving way, tease him about it, or act like I didn’t just hear a dolphin’s death cry between words? I’m breaking in a sweat just thinking about the probable response that’s reciprocated if I choose wrong.


How do you even carry a conversation to someone who only speaks/grunts to their parents in syllables and what sounds like an injured mammal squawking or ends every conversation with an exasperated sigh and dramatic eye rolls?

For example, what I’ve witnessed usually goes a bit like this:

Mom: “How was your day, sweetie?”

Teen:*annoyingly huffs, looks down and fiddles with sweatshirt draw-strings* Mehhhhhhh, I dunno.

You “dunno?” As in, you’re just a robot programmed to run through the motions all flipping day, huh? You “dunno” about ANY of it? Hmmm, how peculiar.

But I guess when I look at the big picture of my kids’ teen years, piss-poor attitudes should really be at the bottom of my list. I can deal with a teen who has a crappy attitude. I was a teen with a crappy attitude… and I remember how that role plays out incredibly well. What I’ve never been is a mother in the passenger seat while her teen sits in the driver seat. Now, that terrifies me.

I’d consider myself to be an anxious woman. In fact, my husband and I bicker constantly when I’m riding with him in the car on account of my professional backseat-driving skills. I try not to do it. I really do. But I. CAN’T. HELP. IT. We’ll be coming up on a semi and every muscle in my body cringes to tell me, “This is it. Head-on collision, baby. Prepare to meet your maker.” And as irrational as I (sometimes) know it to be, I can’t help but to curl into the fetal position and squeal, “LOOK OUT!”

I know it’s so annoying, and I know that he probably isn’t going to wreck the car. Yet, that doesn’t stop me from gripping the handlebar like my life depends on it and almost causing a real accident from my screaming frenzy.

So, yeah, I’m a lot of fun…. I’m sure my kids will love practicing their driving skills with me just as much as I’ll enjoy teaching them.

I can already imagine what that attitude is going to sound like. Something along the lines of, “MOM, would you just chill?!,” with an exasperated teenage huff and puff at the end.

Boy, I am seriously concerned for those future teenage days ahead. But honestly, in all seriousness, perhaps I’m a little more concerned for them than I am for me.

May they never feel lost in the big, humble-jumble of our wild life. Everyone says the newborn days are the most difficult, but that’s a lie if I ever did hear one. As I’m learning, it never gets easier; it just changes.

One day, my kids won’t think I am their everything. I’ll always be important and cherished by them, sure. But they will have others in their life besides me to call their best friend, and that’s something my mommy heart just can’t handle.

Parenting is bittersweet. Even though they tantrum all the time in their young years right now, I’m living in the sweet stage. But in a decade from this day, I’m sure there will be certain days where I feel lost in the bitterness of four teens.

I don’t want to say what will happen in those years, and I don’t dare say, “This will never…” We all know parents who say “never” are usually the ones who end up eating their own vinegar-soaked words in front of a laughing crowd. What I will say is that I’ll need the help I never asked for before.