I Love My Tween, But This Age Is So Annoying

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This morning I went to throw a random paper towel that was left on the kitchen island and a yellowish retainer fell out and landed on my foot. I’ve asked my son not to do that after having to dig in the fast food trash can because I thought the protective napkin-coating that was holding his retainer (which may as well be made out of gold) was trash.

I asked him again, after he got out of the half-hour long shower he was indulging in, to please not put his retainer in a napkin and leave it casually lying around the house.

To that, he responded with a smart-ass comment about not being able to do anything else with it, and I should stop cleaning and touching his stuff so much.

Okay then.

I must also add, after these very long showers, my child didn’t smell any better than when I asked him to please go wash himself.

I love him very much, but apparently he doesn’t like to be clean. He has no room in his life for soap or shampoo. I guess his deodorant can fuck off too because it always smells like he has two onions growing out his armpits.

He’d much rather have greasy hair than those shiny waves which would make most women sacrifice an afternoon and all their money to have. Hair washing is as much of a waste of time as bringing down those milk glasses from his room, which I end up throwing away because there’s no way I’ll let anyone put their mouth on such disgustingness.

If he wasn’t so tall, I’d peel the sweatshirts he wears (for days on end) off of him, and I really wish he’d let me get at those whiteheads sprouting on his face. Last year, he once had one with three heads on it. Three.

Do you know how hard it is to let your child go to school like that? But he couldn’t give a fuck about growing a colony on his face and making everyone else want to throw up.

He refuses to wear a jacket, and this morning it was two degrees outside when I asked him (for the tenth time) to get the garbage cans out before the truck came. He’d rather complain about how I make him do everything while I sit inside (working my ass off to put shelter over his head and heat the damn place), and do nothing.


I can’t lie: he really, really annoys me sometimes. I love my son very much and there are a lot of things he does that I’m proud of. He’s a great brother, and is easygoing when the plans change, and has adjusted so well to not seeing any of his friends for almost a year now.

However, I don’t understand some of his ways, and find myself needing a break from him just as I did when he was younger.

I remember wanting to brush my teeth and shower when I was his age. And maybe I did argue with my parents and was pretty sure I knew more than they did, but at least I smelled like Sweet Pea lotion and wore a damn jacket.

I know other moms of teens and tweens feel the same. As soon as their kid hits puberty they wonder what the fuck has happened to their soft, sweet-smelling child, and why they have this new abrasive, annoying person living under their roof that has a constant stench and attitude following them around all day.

It’s okay to talk about this. We can love our kids and they can drive us up a damn wall and make us want to spray them down with a hose and scrub them up ourselves, at the same time.

These years are frustrating as hell. Not only do they not want to do anything with you any longer, they forget other important life skills you’ve been working literally their whole lives to teach them, like how to brush their teeth and change their clothes.

As a mother who has been through the tween and teens years a few times over, I’ve come to peace with something: These are the years when our kids don’t want to be around us very much and you know what? We don’t especially want to be around them either. Well, at least not this version of them. And it’s more than okay to vent and normalize this.

I’ll take a younger, sweeter version of my son any day over this walking grump who smells like old cheese and sweat, and I know most mothers feel the same.

For now, I guess we just have to light a candle, hope they don’t sprout too many cavities, and continue to remind them we actually do want to help them. And that they should use actual soap while standing in the shower doing God knows what.