... you have to shout all the time as they spend most of their waking hours with headphones stuck permanently in their ears. In fact, sometimes you would be fooled into thinking that there were no children in the house as the silence can be quite eery. I can hear all you parents of toddlers squealing with delight at what is to come! But, your beautifully prepared culinary expertise (OK, pasta with a jar of ready-made pesto but it's their favourite OK?) goes cold on the table as they haven't heard you call the 57 times that dinner is ready. Hmm, that part, not so much fun!
... you wake in the morning and you have to do a quick mental check of who is in the house. Then quietly swear under your breath as you realise what a rubbish mother you actually are as you didn't wait up for them to come in. Are they even in? Are they safe?
... you find yourself discussing why your child can not have a pre-party drink whilst they are getting ready with their friends. Now I know that this may be mimicked behaviour but they are 14! I'm 42, eek no I'm not I've just had my birthday. Oh pants, 43 then!
... your child sulks when you won't order them a Pina Colada when you are out for dinner. Again, they are 14! And really? Pina Colada? Could they not think of something a little more classy?
... your house has a faint aroma of fake tan. Everywhere.
... your house has a strong aroma of Victoria Secret spray. Everywhere.
... doors slam a little louder than they used to.
... the only way to get your child's attention, if they are in the house, is to text them. Actually, that might just be me being lazy but we will gloss over that.
... you can no longer have a conversation with your child without them glancing at their phone. God forbid they miss one damn message or one notification in real time! We will ignore the fact that I frequently get reprimanded for being on my phone too much, "Mum, I will not continue this conversation whilst you are glancing at your phone." No, that has never been said in this house. Ever.
... the only expression you see eyes do is one of rolling. Oh that could be me. Hey, don't judge. You try living with three teenagers!
... there is total and utter panic of catastrophic proportions when a mobile device reaches 2% charge and there are no chargers to be found. Oh, hang on, that really might be me.
... there's lots of body image issues going on and cries of "my legs are too fat" and screams of "why can't I look like Cara when I wear these jeans?" Again, most probably me (whispers "it is me").
... you are told to stop, just stop, with every question you may ask. Be it about school, plans or, dare I be so brave, boyfriends. My advice, just don't ask. Don't ask any questions. Ever.
... the only response they want to any question when they ask for something is the word 'yes.' The word 'no' is not even an option. Oh my, you do not want to handle the fallout if you ever consider that as an option. Just don't.
... the pressure not to say or do anything embarrassing takes over on such a scale when their friends are over that you spend the entire time just knowing that you're going to fail. One slip and you will feel the wrath of the attitude for weeks. The pressure is real! You suddenly forget how to behave. Don't sing. Don't ask about school. Don't use teenager speak. Just don't do anything should suffice!
But do you know what? When they send you a text saying they love you it makes everything else worthwhile. All of it. It may be a text but hey they can use their phone all they want - those three words when you're not expecting them make you realise just how wonderful it is raising three teens ... just saying!
For more posts like these, visit Helen's blog at http://www.justsayingmum.com