I consider myself to be a super cool mom. I am up to date on all the terms and fashion trends. I’m very open with my teens when it comes to talking about all the things: sex, drugs, alcohol, asking them if they need a special razor for their private parts — you get the drift.
I remember being embarrassed by my very old-fashioned parents and never thought that my kids would ever be ashamed of me. I know what’s up and make sure to incorporate all the latest lingo into my everyday convos. Just the other day, I told my daughter how the woman behind me at the checkout was acting sus. She wasn’t impressed with me. Instead, she told me to stop talking. This is just one of the many ways I have embarrassed my teens by merely existing. Based on my extensive personal experience, here are some of the ways you, too, will embarrass your children once they reach this stage of life.
1. Yawning and/or sneezing.
My son gave me a lecture last week about my yawning and sneezing.
His exact words were, “Mom, can you try not to yawn? You yawn so loud, it’s ridiculous. Oh, and don’t get me started on your sneezing! Don’t sneeze either.”
Hold in everything that lets people know you are living, including breathing and chewing. My daughter won’t even sit next to me during dinner because she can’t stand the sound of my breathing/chewing while I’m trying to nourish my body to stay alive and care for her.
2. Showing them any kind of affection.
They need to know you love them, but they don’t want anyone else witnessing this. Don’t tell them you love them in public. Never try to touch them, give them a hug, or put your hand on their arm, even if you are alone because someone might be watching.
Texting is fine, but even showing affection during a phone call is grounds for getting hung up on.
3. Walking near them.
Do not, I repeat, do not ever walk alongside them, because people might figure out you are related. This goes for any occasion: school, the mall, the movies, a concert you paid a boat load of money to take them to, a restaurant, etc.
I once took my three kids back to school shopping and right before we walked into their favorite store, my oldest said, “Mom, just leave me alone. I’m going to pick out clothes, then I’ll hand them to you. Don’t try to get me to like anything, I know what I want.”
He wasn’t kidding. I’d never seen him walk so fast. My three kids ran from me like I was trying to hurt them, and I wasn’t allowed to make eye contact with them.
I tried on a hat and took a selfie in the mirror to kill some time. Big mistake. They all immediately sent me a text telling me to stop because I was embarrassing them, even though no one knew I was their mother. This moment ruined their reputation.
I met them behind a large rounder of clothing at the back of the store, and they handed me the clothes they wanted and ran. It was as if we were making an illegal exchange and they had to get out fast before they got caught.
4. Asking about their life.
I get texts from my kids letting me know they aren’t talking to their crush anymore and it’s always followed by, “Don’t ask me any questions about this, ever.”
See, your kids want you to know things, but it has to be on their terms. Showing concern or letting them know you are always there to talk to them will lead to them shutting down.
Sometimes, you might even get the hand in the face as a warning that they are about to leave the room if you show any kind of concern for their emotions.
5. Asking them for help with electronics.
This one will absolutely send them over the edge. I am not very tech savvy. I’m always struggling with something computer-related since I work from home on my laptop. My youngest literally said to me, “How can you be so unsmart?” So, I’m unsmart for not knowing how to open a damn zip file, but he can make up words. This is how it goes.
Also, keep in mind you are never allowed to tag them or post a picture of them on your social media. They are allowed to post pictures of half their face, or a blurry selfie with their tongue sticking out on their page, but you are not allowed to put a picture of them looking like the stunning angelic creature they are on your page. Do not forget this or you will be blocked.
So, I’m just letting you know this: You will embarrass your teens regardless of how cool you are. There’s no getting around it, there’s no making them realize you really aren’t as “cringe” as they say you are. There’s no dance moves you can show them to reverse their thoughts.
My advice to you is to live your life because even your breathing is a huge embarrassment to them.
I will let you in on a little secret though: Your kids won’t be embarrassed of you forever. My oldest will be 19 this year, and he likes to go out in public with me now, especially if I am paying. My daughter will be 17, and she doesn’t make half as many comments about how annoying my breathing is. Things are looking up.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.