Teenagers are clearly God's punishment for having sex in the first place.
Aged 13, I was taken hostage by my hormones and shape-shifted from a star student into Attila the Teen. My modus operandi became one of first-degree sarcasm and Olympic-level eye-rolling. I started dating surfie guys called Spider, Chook and Fang – Mum must have thought I'd found them in a petting zoo. Worse were the punk musicians, the sort of blokes who spent more on nostril piercing than armpit hygiene.
This Mother’s Day, make sure you spoil your mum rotten and thank her unconditionally for that unconditional love.Credit:Shutterstock
I talked back constantly, sneaked out, sulked, wagged school and developed a three-grunt vocabulary of "Na", "Dunno"and "Errgh".
So, did my poor, beleaguered mother start desperately looking for a loophole in my birth certificate? Did she put me up for adoption? Did she embrace the guppy approach to parenting, i.e. eating your young?
No, she just kept right on loving me.
The trouble is, kids are like tents: you have no idea how much assembly is required until it's too late. (What the hell is a "rain fly ridge pole grommet" and are those howling dogs and that lightning storm getting closer?!)
It's not really until you have your own children that you fully understand the sacrifices your mum made for you.
The agonies of childbirth are a doddle compared to what comes next: the 24-hour catering (as a breastfeeder, you are now Meals on Heels); the sleep deprivation; the sex deprivation (because kids are a contraceptive, aren't they? Every time you go to make love, the baby wakes up or the toddler toddles in. Although I do have an excellent tip for new parents: Vaseline, on the doorknobs. It sounds painful but they can't get in).
While I adore my children with a primal passion, I actually got morning sickness after they were born, a little something to do with the fatigue that comes from playing "hunt the dummy" at 4am; learning that "toilet humour" is not an Amy Schumer sketch on diaphragm insertion, but trying to train an incontinent toddler to poo in the potty; cleaning up projectile vomits at dawn; running trays up to bedrooms 30 times a day for nothing more serious than a stubbed toe; unknotting pee-stained shoelaces with your teeth; sticking out hands in restaurants so kids can spit out some offending vegetable; and taking the blame for school excursion permission slips scrunched at the bottom of school bags due weeks ago.
Then there's the endless battles with babies to eat "solids", which they interpret as nails, needles and loose screws – the latter soon solely located between your addled ears.
One particularly exhausting day, I rang my mother to find out how she'd raised four daughters while holding down a full-time job as a headmistress, without undergoing a DIY lobotomy.
"Love," she simply replied. "Oh, and blatant bribery, otherwise known as 'rewards'. Hey, we mums may drive our teenagers crazy, but we also drive them everywhere … or not if homework's not done!" she laughingly added.
So this Mother's Day, make sure you spoil your mum rotten and thank her unconditionally for that unconditional love.
Although, to my own children, I would say there are a few conditions: book your own driving lessons (no mother should have to go through menopause and teach her kid to drive in the same year). And, if you ever lock me up in a Maximum Security Nursing Home, there's not a ghost of a chance that I won't come back to haunt you. Okay?
Now bring me my flowers, bath salts and brekky in bed, you ungrateful rascals!
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 12.
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