And just like that, our second daughter graduated from high school. I don’t know how exactly to describe the feeling, I guess because it was lots of different feelings all rolled into one. I felt so proud – proud of her for achievements, proud of the fact that she graduated with honors while holding down two part-time jobs, proud of her independence in keeping up with everything she was supposed to do without my intervention. I was proud of me for surviving all of the emotional trials and tribulations that come with being the parent of a teenage girl, and proud that I had successfully raised two cute little girls into adulthood.
I also felt relief. I was relieved that this stage was finally over. Don’t get me wrong – I truly enjoyed watching both her and her older sister cheer at football games, and shop together for prom dresses, and get their drivers licenses, and all of the other fun stuff that comes with the high school years. But I am relieved that there are certain things I no longer have to deal with, like the high school’s stupid dress code rules (I have a blog post on this topic in the works), the parking situation, and the drama. Oh, the DRAMA. If you have or had teen girls, you know what I’m talking about.
I do most of my thinking in two places: in my car while commuting, since I spend many hours every week in my vehicle, and while walking my dog. When it’s just Zig and me and the quiet neighborhood streets, I have plenty of time to clear my head, and then fill it up again with other stuff. So while I was walking Ziggy a few nights ago, I thought about what is the one single thing I am most happy about leaving behind as I become an empty nester. It’s not the extra space in the driveway so we don’t have to do the car shuffle in the mornings. It’s not the fact that my house will be tidier and the kitchen much cleaner, or that I’ll need to purchase less food. It’s not that I will come home to peace and quiet with no TV on running endless episodes of Gray’s Anatomy on Netflix, or Chopped reruns on the Food Network (though that may run a close 2nd place). The single thing I am most happy to leave behind is Teenage Drama and Drama Mamas. Drama Mamas are just the worst.
We all know who these women are. No, I’m not referring to the parents of thespians and aspiring actors. And I’m not talking about the moms sitting in the bleachers at sporting events, gossiping about this mom, or that kid. Let’s face it that is like 98% of the mom population at any high school. I’m talking about the ones who like to stir the pot. The ones who get a thrill out of calling out other people’s kids’ bad behavior. The ones who call you up, pretending to show concern, and acting like they’re doing you a favor to let you know what crappy thing your kid has done this week. These ladies tell you it’s what they’d want if you witnessed their kid doing something crappy. They act like this is some great act of true friendship and hey, it takes a village, right?
Wrong. “It takes a village” does not mean you should stick your nose in someone else’s business, pretend like it’s some helpful, friendly gesture, and then gossip with your other close friends about it, thinking the whole time that this particular incident makes your own kid’s crappy behavior seem not so bad after all. What inevitably happened in these situations is I would punish my kid, and the tattletale’s kid (who was usually involved in some way) would get off Scot-free. And believe me, that fact did not go unnoticed by my kid. Every. Time.
I fully admit my kids aren’t perfect, far from it. I know they’ve both done some stuff over the years that they aren’t proud of, but I also know that each time they did something worthy of punishments like loss of cellphone, being grounded, etc. they learned from their mistakes. And yes, if they are breaking the law, by all means call me. But don’t be a hypocrite about it, and don’t do it then use it as fodder for the conversations with your herd later on.
Drama Mamas like to stir the pot because, 1.) They’re bored and have nothing better to do, 2.) Their own kid has been acting shitty and they’re hoping this takes the spotlight off of them, and 3.) It makes them feel good about themselves because they honestly feel like they are providing a public service by protecting the community’s moral standards. Sorry, that last one always makes me giggle.
I will never, ever have to deal with them ever again. Both of my girls are legally adults now, and they have to deal with their own misjudgments and mistakes. Will I support them, and help them out and provide advice in these situations? Of course. But I am honestly happy that they will deal with the bad times as adults and that no one’s mama is going to text me with “Call me. We need to talk.”