Help! There’s a tween in the house…


My twelve year old has started saying a word to me that I find extremely upsetting, it is not one I am accustomed to hearing from anyone – let alone my own spawn.

The hateful word to which I am referring to is: no.

“Marchella, can you please unstack the dishwasher”?


“Marchella can you please put your washing out”?


“Marchella can you please stop being a rat face jerk”?

Well I haven’t actually said that last one to her yet but I have thought it, loudly, on several occasions.

I have always prided myself on my relationship with my kids, I had them both pretty young and have tried to maintain a balance of trusted friend meets firm but fair parent. Many mocked me when I announced that I intended to stay friends with my kids throughout their teen years and said it just couldn’t be done. ‘Shut your mouth holes’ I told them, my girls and I will totes be BFFs. (That is teen speak for totally best friends forever.)

Well, I am being tested on that announcement. I truly am.

My eldest BFF has started to stand up to me and; dare I say it, have her own thoughts and feelings.

What now?!

I mean I had heard of this happening to OTHER Mothers but not to cool, young, progressive me. No!

Yes. Yes it is happening and I am not dealing with it well.

Hormones have moved into my house and they are getting comfortable. Doors are being slammed at an alarming rate, secrets are being kept and eye rolling has gone up 2000%.

I am desperately clinging to the relationship we had up until a few months ago but I fear it may be time to reassess the situation and take a new tact. I am having to acknowledge that the slow emancipation of my child from me is beginning, but this is what we have been training for right?!

This is why I have been teaching her things like “everyone is equal” and “look after the planet” and “say no to white pants”.

That is our job as parents, to equip them with the tools they need to function as contributing adults in society. It’s just… it hurts. I don’t like my first born yelling at me because: “You just don’t understand Mum”. I bloody do! I remember feeling as though my parents didn’t get me, that the world hated me and worrying about hair in unspeakable places.

That was only 10 years ago.. What? Ok.. 20 years ago.

I am worried that I won’t be able to be friends with her, that I am actually going to have to become a fully fledged parental figure. I thought I’d be able to just guide her but perhaps that isn’t a strong enough approach. This is an extremely tough lesson for me to learn, one that will no doubt continue to evolve as she gets older and more teenagery.

It looks like it is time for Mum to grow up huh? Does this mean I have to hand in my pumps for crocs and start wearing comfortable slacks and own tupperware?

(Please note I am aware that is a terrible stereotype but I do have to say there is an alarming correlation between the mothers who are organised at my kids’ school and their sensible footwear. Probably because they care less about their feet and more about having a nutritious lunch packed.)

Next year, high school.

Oh God.

Pray for me please.

Em x


Avatar of Ashleigh James

Ashleigh is a single mum of four primary school kidlets, two dogs, one very lazy cat and two guinea pigs that the kids insisted on getting. She lives in Victoria and loves to cook, craft and read.

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