One morning, as I was perusing Facebook with my morning cup of coffee, I came across a status written by an old high school acquaintance of mine. Her twins are just into their teen years and she was lamenting about the difficulty of raising a teen compared to babies/toddlers and how she would do anything to go back and do it all over again. #mybabiesaregrowingup #mommymoment
Yeah, hard pass. I would do anything to not go back to the crazy, sleep deprived, slobber everywhere years of my life. Toddlers are great, but teens are better.
My darling teen is blessed with big bushy eyebrows. While she has been tweezing for a while, she was eager to go to the salon to get her brows waxed. As a mom who has never had to do anything to her brows except maybe color them in four days out of the year I was absolutely no help in the grooming and shaping department.
I think the key to momming a teen is to play it cool, even when you are experiencing the thrill and pride of all of these teen “firsts.” Seriously, how embarrassing would it be to actually say out loud, “Aww, my baby is getting her first brow wax!” That pretty much screams to the kiddo, “Don’t tell mom anything-she’s a freak!” Freak I am not, at least on the outside. I don’t know how this goes between other mothers and daughters, but I am pretty excited that her choice for someone to take her to get her brows done was me.
Living in the Moments They Still Want to Share with Us
When I was in my early teens, a slightly older cousin of mine dragged me into a salon. We went off, away from our adults, in search of brow wax. She wanted to get it done because she thought her mom would never let her do it. How is it that it part of the teen experience to hide moments because adults say no? I want to foster independence, choice, self expression, and a relationship that will eventually be less mother/daughter and more two adults who enjoy each other’s company.
This is the kind of stuff I don’t want to miss out on, for fear of the word no. We are full-fledged in the teen years, where she is now just a mini-adult that needs to be prepared and schooled for real adulting. So, I play it cool. She asks and, yeah, we’ll set something up the next time we go in to get your haircut. No biggie. It’s a girls’ night; me, the teen, and the little girl. Little girl and I just get our hair done. The teen doesn’t know she’s getting her brows done because she left her gift card at home, but I figured the first time is on me. That way, if she doesn’t like it, then she can spend her gift card on something else.
Her First Brow Wax
This is it. The stylist calls her back and I jump in to add the brow wax. Brownie points for mom. At this point I’m pacing in the little lounge area, nervous and excited. Still pacing, I’m sneaking glances back where the stylist is prepping her brows and making small talk. Bonus for me is that my girlie really can’t see without her glass on so she doesn’t know that I’m stalking her like lioness stalks a little gazelle.
This is where playing it cool really is necessary because, honestly, I could have gotten straight up embarrassing. I wanted to whip out my phone and take 50 billion pictures. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook; would it be too weird if I posted a video? Other moms post videos of their kid’s first of something. This counts, right?
Now the stylist is applying the wax. I clasped my hands in front of me and used a lot of will power to not jump up and down.
Bam! The stylist rips the paper strip off and, guess what, not even a flinch nor a wince! She is just chill in that chair enjoying the hair getting ripped off her face. I have never been more proud in my life. Why didn’t I at least Snapchat this? Oh, that’s right, I don’t want my teen to think I’m crazy. I want to keep being the person she asks to accompany her to things like getting a brow wax.
She’s all smiles. I tell her how nice she looks and that her eyebrows look amazing. I play it off like it is no big deal. There is no gushing and fussing over her. I don’t get overly emotional because in just a half an hour’s time she looks a little older. I keep all that on the inside…and maybe one status on Facebook telling everyone that my daughter didn’t flinch when she got her first wax.
The Final Firsts of Growing Up
Just think, I only have a few more years to turn a mini-adult into a well-adjusted regular adult. One who is self-sufficient (mostly) and has eyebrows that are “on fleek” (whatever that means). There are many more firsts coming down the line where I will have to play it cool while on the inside, I want to jump up and down, squeal, and post it all over the internet.
Now 16, she is allowed to pick out her first string bikini. Wait, she doesn’t want a million swimsuit pics on social media…okay, can’t blame her on that one.
We’ll have trips the laundry-mat to teach her how to use coin operated washers and dryers. Don’t you want to see a video of her pushing quarters into a machine? It’s practically the same as when they first learn to throw a ball.
We’ll have day trips to Iowa City where I will teach her how to ride public transportation, read the maps, track the bus on the app, and that strangers aren’t scary (most of the time). Don’t you want to see a gazillion Insta-selfies? It’s practically the same that getting on the bus for the first day of Kindergarten.
She’ll be getting a driver’s license this summer. Then comes a real taste of freedom. I want her to still want me to experience life with her.
There is so much that I wouldn’t give up for the world, especially to go back to the baby/toddler years. This, my fellow moms, is the fun part. This is the reward we get for surviving the baby/toddler years and the middle school years. Over the next three, short years I will play it cool and keep all the crazy excitement on the inside. Then when she is 18, an adult, and heading off for college (or doing whatever her heart desires), you bet you will find the crazy, proud, freaked-out, thrilling, embarrassing moment on ALL the social media. #mommymomentsmomdeserves