teenI have this weird impression of parenting that I don’t know how to shake. It seems like everyone is excited for you the moment you conceive—OMG, YAY! Let’s throw a baby shower! Then, once you pop out that little sucker, everyone gives you the side-eye of pity and jokingly asks if you’re getting ANY sleep at night.

After you’ve mastered the baby stage, the cracks about the terrible twos start. If you have the audacity to say, “I’m actually enjoying my nine-month-old baby,” well-meaning friends and family members respond by telling you how terrible the terrible twos will be.

Well, I have news for all of the friendly naysayers. I wasn’t a huge fan of the baby stage, but I absolutely love the terrible twos. Now that my second son is close to a year old and my older son is two, I’m really enjoying my life as a parent. Sure, toddlers are insane and do totally unpredictable things. But I am getting to know my older son’s personality, and I love it.

Now that I have more of a handle on parenting and am surviving the terrible twos, there’s still more doom on the horizon for me. If we talk about having fun with our toddler on social media or among friends, someone, somewhere will inevitably say… JUST WAIT UNTIL HE’S A TEENAGER!

Ugh. As if the smirking about the terrible twos wasn’t bad enough, more experienced parents are always quick to remind you that the terrible teens are right around the corner. If you think you’re having fun now, just wait—they threaten with a cheerful smile on their face.

I’m as bad as the rest of them when it comes to being snarky about parenthood. Sometimes that’s the only thing that will keep you sane. But I don’t want to spend the next 10 years dreading the teenage stage, and I don’t think I have to.

I’m not planning to be best friends with my sons as teenagers because I’m sure they won’t be having it. But I also don’t think I have to be sentenced to years of communicating with my surly teen via text as he listens to emo music on full blast on headphones during family dinner. There’s got to be a better way. Teenagers can be pleasant, at least some of the time. Quit raining on my parade by insisting that the teenage years are going to suck.

(Image: Edyta Pawlowska/Shutterstock)