Mum-of-three Ger Renton reveals the truth about raising her kids, and questioning the notion that girls are more dramatic than boys.
He throws his bag off his shoulders as fast as he can. He sticks his head into the dining room to let me know it was him, my teen son I heard coming in the door and not a baby elephant.
He throws his bag off his shoulders as fast as he can. He sticks his head into the dining room to let me know it was him I heard coming in the door and not a baby elephant.
I’m sure he is asking a question but it comes out like a statement.
“Oven. How was school?” I dare ask, even though past experience has taught me that that question can be a loaded question to teens (who knew eh?).
Yet, the mammy in me has to ask it, I just have to - I’m convinced there’s a ‘mammy gene’ that turns on as soon as that baby is handed to us and it never ever gets turned off, so we ask the ‘loaded’ questions to heck with it!
This goes unanswered as he must get the dinner into his belly quicker than a stray dog who’s found a slice of ham. He sits at the table scoffing his dinner.
“How was school?” I ask once again.
He shrugs his shoulders. “Yeah,” he mumbles in between gulping his water and preparing his next shovel of food.
I laugh, “I asked how school was, 'yeah' isn’t an answer.”
“Could you let me eat before you interrogate me?”
“Interrogate? I asked a simple question!”
“Not simple enough since 'yeah' wasn’t the right answer,” he snaps back, concentrating on getting that last pea onto his fork.
He burps, says excuse me and thanks me for the dinner while clearing his dishes.
“You’re welcome. So, was school good?” I feel like I am asking him what is the square root of a billion multiplied by five thousand as he stands all six foot of him glaring down at me.
“Why? Why do you want to know? You ask me every single day and every single day I give you the same answer.”
“I’m just checking if you have had a good day, it’s called checking in with your kid!” I lose a bit of control. He is annoying the crap out of me and I am trying the ‘involved parent but not too involved parent’ approach.
“Yes, what? School was good?”
I can feel my blood pressure rising. I am telling myself to relax but I am also ignoring my advice. It’s tricky this teen crap.
“School was good, Mother” he smirks.
“Now was that hard?” I stand, my face only coming to his shoulder.
“Was it hard to answer that simple question?”
“So why can’t you just fecking answer me when I ask?” I can hear my father.
“Because Mother dear, you have an awful habit of asking follow-up questions and I am not in the form for it today.”
Immediately I think something did happen in school. I ask once more.
“So school was good, what do you mean you’re not in the form?”
“Oh for fu-” he stops himself. “This, see this, this is what you do, question after question!” One of his arms is dramatically swinging about like it’s squatting a fly. I was bracing myself for him to throw his dishes or at least stomp his foot like he had done when he was a toddler.
“Fine. Go do your dishes”
“Stress isn’t good for me or you, Mam. If there was something wrong I’d tell you, you don’t need to ask me a million questions! It’s annoying and stressful.” He stormed out.
“If you think a few questions are stressful you’d want to harden up, buttercup,” I yell after him.
At that moment, I’ve realised that I have completely bypassed my ‘involved but not too involved’ approach and gone straight onto parenting a teen back in the 1980s.
I sit back down and continue playing with my older son who kisses my hand as I give him a drink.
Ten minutes later I can hear him telling his dad about the ‘huge’ falling out he and I had and how I ask too many questions and he doesn’t need to have that as soon as he gets home. I have stressed him out. The dramatics.
I want to shout something really sarcastic but I don’t.
Instead, I roll my eyes and smile at my six-year-old who is oblivious to his pending teen years and my eldest who is chewing his chewy tube and enjoying my company.
Who ever said teenage girls were more dramatic than boys? I would beg to differ.