What I have learnt from 18 years of parenting.

Yes I know, I know, I don’t look young enough to have a child of eighteen (even though I feel about eighty myself most days) but I do.  Yesterday, the teenager officially became a man, which is a very scary thought indeed. So rather than an emotional post about how I feel about being a mother of an eighteen year old and what an emotional roller coaster it has been,I thought I would share what I have learnt from these eighteen years of parenting.

It’s bloody expensive.  No great surprise I’m sure, but seriously, you think it is expensive when they are little and then they go and get bigger and wiser and suddenly they want big brand names and won’t settle for any old rubbish anymore. They need money to go out, they need money for stuff, then they go and get cars and thing and you might as well connect your bank account straight to the local drain system and cut out the middle man.  I have no doubt that there is an average amount of money that people spend in the life time if a child, I really don’t even want to think about it as having four, it might give me heart failure. 
I’m never right and I don’t know anything.  Now I don’t claim to always be right and I certainly don’t claim to know everything either, however I do like to think that I have picked up a small amount of wisdom and a fair amount of life experience, but no apparently not.  Me smart arsed teenager knows everything and can be told nothing.  I am really looking forward to that day in years to come when he turns round and says ‘do you know mum you were right about that!’  I may be waiting for a long time but I will be suitably smug if and when it does.
A whole new language – teenish.  From a range of grunts, mumbles and moans, I can usually decipher  enough to be able to understand the teenagers needs and sometime we even manage a conversation if I’m really lucky.  I could even get a job as a teen translator as I often have to convey the teen’s utterances to other people.  
Those dirty underpants that are sitting on the teen’s bedroom floor will not move if you don’t move them.  They will not be picked up, they will not walk to the wash basket by themselves and in fact if you leave them there long enough and you are really lucky, they may even reproduce and you will have a whole family of dirty underpants to look forward to. 
That one single person is capable of using a whole tank of hot water in one go.  In the early days it was to have the fullest and hottest bath imaginable, followed by never-ending showers.  So no problem with body odour I suppose, which can only be a good thing, but no chance of anyone else getting a hot shower that’s for sure.
That all that bum wiping and clearing up sick when they are babies is in fact preparing you for the teen years, when they discover alcohol.  Enough said I think on that one.
That you don’t ever stop worrying about them, even when they are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves.  Adding cars, girlfriends, A levels, jobs and hormones into the mix does not make life easy for a parent.  It really doesn’t. 
They have to learn by their own mistakes.  You can guide them, nag them, cajole them, educate them and push them, but ultimately they will follow their own path and the best thing you can do so be there and support them and encourage them to be the best that they can be. Hopefully, they will find their own way in the end.
However hard you try, you can’t slow down time and the years really do fly by. Before you know it, they are taller than you and although there are still the odd cuddles, they aren’t your babies anymore. They have become amazing, independent adults before your very eyes and you should pat yourself on the back for being a part of that and doing a good job. Being a parent really is the most amazing job in the world and every moment should be savoured and enjoyed as blink and you miss those early years and you never get them back.


  1. October 21, 2013 / 5:34 am

    Great post! An important read for parents of younger kids I think. Everyone is so desperate to slow time down, but they all grow up in the end!

  2. October 22, 2013 / 8:57 am

    SO much of this is familiar! Fab post!

  3. Anonymous
    October 22, 2013 / 12:24 pm

    You’ve nearly made me cry. x

  4. October 22, 2013 / 8:45 pm

    Congtatulations and thank you for the tips – mine are still young and I can’t believe how quickly the time flies, so will try harder to hold on to now!

  5. October 23, 2013 / 5:48 pm

    yes teach them right from wrong and then let them go and make their own mistakes to learn their valuable life lessons from. By they time they reach 21 they have usually re-learnt English and do become useful around the house. And I have to say his dirty boxers would lie and breed as I made them do their own washing from 12 year old cos I was horrible.

  6. October 25, 2013 / 8:32 pm

    Great post – I agree on every level…..I should be fluent in teenish but they seem to change it as soon as I think i have mastered it!

  7. November 4, 2013 / 2:05 pm

    Great post Nikki, they really do teach us a lot these kids, don’t they?! Are the dirty underpants really still not making it to the wash bin?? How old do they have to be to learn this skill?!

  8. Tom @Ideas4Dads
    January 25, 2014 / 3:53 pm

    Lol ive got this all to look forward to with 2 and 4yo daughters. Am dreading the whole having to get the best brands and alledgely keeping up with the Jones 🙂

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