The other day Sarah Fader wrote a post on Huffington Post Parents entitled 3-Year-Olds Are A**holes. I agree with her, and so have a lot of other articles on Mommyish, but even though toddlers might be their own special brand of asshole, they cannot compare to the utter assholy-ish-ness of teenagers. Three-year-olds may be assholes, but teenagers are stone cold motherfuckers. And I should know, because I have one.
I love my son. He is one of my best friends. He is amazingly smart, and interesting, and charismatic, and charming, and can be very helpful around the house.. when he wants to be. But he is also sullen and moody and sarcastic and cutting and capable of rational thought, which means that not only is he an asshole, but he is a smart asshole and right a lot of the time. You cannot argue with someone who is 6’3 and who understands algebra. You cannot win every argument you have with an almost-adult who is incredibly difficult to put in time out.
My mom always told me “little kids, little problems, big kid, big problems” and she is so right. I long for the days of my own son putting a cup in the toilet, instead of sneakily checking my vodka bottles to make sure they haven’t magically decreased by ounces since the last time I checked. Tantrums, drawing on things they shouldn’t, refusing to nap are all annoying parenting dilemmas, but I would take those over discussing the dangers of pot smoking and explaining sexual consent almost any day. Add a teen learning how to drive to that pile and a kid refusing to wear anything but pink pants is a cakewalk.
The reason teenagers are assholes is because they can be. Most teenagers are pretty good kids, and I think mine is exceptionally good, but he is overall an asshole, because he knows he can’t get grounded for acting like a normal teenager, making fun of the way I sing in the car or getting all eye-rolly with me when I suggest family game night or doing other asshole teenager things, like expecting me to buy him jeans in adult sizes which cost way more than pants from the toddler section. Teenagers are assholes because they know enough about the world to criticize it, they can debate politics and music and critique films and art and they make sense. And because you are their parent you actually have to do shit like listen to them and respect their thoughts. And worst of all, teenagers are assholes because eventually they take all of your money and go off to college and they are no longer around. And that makes them the biggest assholes of all. Teenagers are assholes because we have to let them go out into this great big world to become adults.
So Sarah, I hear ya, and the rest of you moms going through the three-year-old asshole stage, but come see me when your teenagers are assholes in about twelve or thirteen years. Then you’ll really have things to complain about.