The Hell That Is The Morning Routine With Teenagers

by Darla Halyk
A brown-haired girl sleeping in her bed, white bedsheets covering her mouth
SKABARCAT / Shutterstock

Mornings are one of the hardest times to be a parent. Mornings with two teenagers is comparable to the pain Tom Hanks went through when he smashed his abscessed tooth with an ice skate in the movie Castaway.

Maybe you are one of those cheery, upbeat people who enjoys mornings, and somehow you have Ward and June Cleaver’s kids. If you are them, I am happy for you. Okay, to be honest, I am not happy for you. I extraordinarily hate you and your perfect happy morning routine. My mornings are not sunshine and happiness; my mornings are dark cloudy shitstorms that often have me wondering why I ever come home from work.

Every morning, it’s the same damn thing. I roll my sorry ass out of bed, wipe the sleep from my eyes, and then I knock on two teenagers’ bedroom doors. Every morning with the best of intentions, I smile cheerfully at the two humans I once called my precious and beloved children. The two children who used to run to the side of my bed with delight and adoration at the ass crack of dawn are now horrid ferocious creatures from the depths of teenage hell.

Waking up a sleeping teenager is akin to waking a bear from its winter slumber. Sounds resembling squawks and groans, at times accompanied by tears (I have a teenage daughter, enough said), bellow from messy bedrooms scattered with clothing. Despite my angst, each morning, I put on my best parenting face and greet the beasts from the dark, hoping for angelic smiles and tidy rooms. I’m invariably disappointed (unless of course it is Saturday).

Once I leave the depths of teen angst coupled with awakening the Kraken, I head back to my room to take a shower. Then it happens—the fight, the door-banging battle for the shower, all of which means I will again share my morning shower with the hormonally possessed daughter I once called my sweet baby girl. As the hot water drains from the tank, and I am left standing barely within reach of a trickle, my daughter will then decide her hair needs a second shampoo, because who gives a fuck about the woman who labored over 20 hours, then pushed you from her vagina, tearing it apart. Rest assured, not my teenager, not while in the shower.

Washing the remnants of conditioner from my hair with lukewarm water, my daughter will then bounce, leaving puddles of water in her wake and the bathroom door open just enough that stepping from the shower gives me that my-nipples-could-cut-through-glass response.

Coffee becomes a necessity at this point (or I would murder these two assholes), so I head downstairs, a towel twisted in my hair and my body wrapped in my robe. I hit up the coffee maker for my morning wake-up juice. Might I add, at no time has the sound of teenagers subsided from upstairs. At this point, my daughter is now shaking it off to Taylor Swift, and my son is yelling, “Turn that down!” I do my very best to drown out my life as I sing into my coffee cup, “The best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup.” It doesn’t work.

As I make my way back to my bedroom to get dressed and ready for work, I will hear the first of a hundred “Mom, Mom, MOMMM!”s that will follow for the next 45 minutes—again, because who gives a shit about what the lady who gave birth to you is doing.

My son, the older and more docile one, mills around as if he is Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It’s as if he goes to bed, and his mind is wiped clean of all his previous memories. (Honestly, kid, no, I don’t know where your toothbrush is, and I’ll bet you 2o bucks it’s where you left it the last time you used it.)

Turning on my hair dryer seems to be the only way to shut out the mayhem of two teens muddling through their morning routines, that is, until the hormonal princess decides she needs me to help her with her hair, which by the way, is similar to trying to braid Medusa’s locks. Do not, I repeat, do not, look a 13-year-old girl in the eye while touching her hair. After 10 to 15 minutes of perfecting the fishtale braid, there’s a scream, tears stream, and words of hatred pour from my daughter’s mouth. Her head will spin around just enough to put the fear of the devil in me as she rips each laborious braid from her head, exclaiming that it is not what she wanted and I made her look ugly. (She’s a real fucking peach, this kid.)

With less than 20 minutes until we all have to be out the door, I’m left still standing in a robe, questioning why in the hell I just had a strip torn off me from my 13-year-old. My children head downstairs to the kitchen to make their lunches. By the way, the two of them, they’re fully dressed and completely ready for their day. I, on the other hand, I’m in a shit mood, my coffee is cold, and I want to move out.

The next 10 minutes are usually fairly quiet—two teenagers in a kitchen with food is truly the only time there is peace. Quickly, I apply makeup and get dressed, knowing full well the silence will only last a few more minutes. I have only heard “Mom” 75 times; they owe me at least 25 more.

With only a few short minutes left to get out the door, I am swiftly inundated with school forms that need to be signed. On top of that, there are lost jackets and backpacks, shoes that were somehow left in their locker at school (“How the fuck did you get home without shoes?” is a question that never seems to get answered), and not enough coffee to keep me from screaming obscenities at these two selfish teenage assholes!

Every morning is a struggle in my house, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, sure we have tried to be more organized, and I have worked on not screaming (still working on it, very hard), but we always fall back into the same morning craziness. Yet, no matter how terrible each morning is, at the end of my workday I’m excited to get home and be with the two most important people on this planet—my kids.

Walking through the door after work is a whole other story.