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Hormonal Household


"Where did these people come from?" I asked, waving my hand at the droopy, cantankerous, pagan teenagers standing in front of me. "Where are their real parents because these people certainly don't resemble anybody in our gene pools!" I yelled, addressing no one in particular.

"...half of the people living under our roof are either premenstral or menopausal."
I seem to be doing that a lot lately; this talking to no one in particular. Or maybe I'm talking to everyone in general. At any rate, now that our two oldest children have reached the age where they think they give me the "would you pa-leeze stop asking me to do meaningless chores like unload the dishwasher because I am busy and have better things to do with my life, Mo-ther" look every time I remind them of their responsibilities around the house, I do a lot of talking to the ceiling.

It can be hard on the parents, this dealing with teenage girls day-in, day-out. The mood swings alone are enough to send me running for the medicine cabinet in search of Valium, Lithium, Tylenol PM – anything to put me in a catatonic state for the next few hours. The mood swings are pretty fascinating, though. How one person can go from "I hate you!" to "Hey Mom, you're pretty good about picking out clothes. Can you help me find something to wear?" to "Oh get real Mother. That's way too last century!" in less than five minutes is quite a thrilling ride.

That's not to say that I don't have a few mood swings of my own. Sometimes I wonder how my son and husband get through days when half of the people living under our roof are either premenstral or menopausal. Three females dissolving into tears while yelling things like, "I can't find my mascara," sobs Thing 1 (aka, teenager number one), "WHO TOOK MY MASCARA?!"; "I told you already, I did NOT use your stupid mascara, so just GET OFF MY BACK," Thing 2 breaks into tears, "and STOP YELLING AT ME because I didn't even do anything;" followed by "Would you two stop fighting over mascara! I've had a really rotten day," then I start to cry, "I'm tired, my back hurts, and nothing I do is ever good enough!" Then we all retreat to separate rooms, slamming the door behind us to make sure everyone in the house knows that we are not happy. And this is what we have to look forward to for the next nine or ten years (when our youngest will be out of the teen years).

People ask me if dealing with teenagers is harder than dealing with toddlers. "No, it's just different," I say. Whereas toddlers will throw themselves on the ground crying, kicking and screaming, teenagers take a different approach in letting you know they are displeased. Eye rolling, talking back, and reminding you that giving them birth was your idea, not theirs, almost makes one yearn for the "good old days" when one could simply pick up the flailing toddler and put her in a "time-out" chair.

My mom tries to help by reminding me that "this is just a season in your life; it will pass. And believe it or not, there will come a day when you miss all the noise and activity." But it's hard to take comfort in words spoken as Mom is jumping in her car, leaving our hormonal household for quieter ground, no doubt. And by the way, Moth-er, don't think I can't see you throwing your head back in laughter as you gun it down the street!

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