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Stupid Mama Syndrome

Parenting Teens: Stupid Mama Syndrome

Published February 2011

I should have expected it. I remember my own mother going through it when she was parenting teens. She was about my age . . . . No, she was even younger than I am . . . of course, she started having children at a younger age than I did. No matter, I still thought I could delay it a little longer. But I might as well own up to it. I am after all, parenting teens (three of them at that) and the symptoms are undeniable.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Yep. Stupid Mama Syndrome (SMS).

My mother, bless her heart, was plum pathetic when I was a teenager. My sister, born two years before I was, reported that the SMS came on our mom a couple of years before I turned 13. But to be honest, I just didn’t see it. I was about 15 when she was at her worst.

Back when my mama was parenting teens, I had to explain everything to her. Like when I finally got my driver’s permit (I had to wait until I was 15—so not fair). As long as my mama went along in the passenger seat, I could take the wheel. Listen, that poor woman had SMS so bad, she could not begin to teach me how to drive. I had to correct her over and over again. (If it hadn’t been so aggravating, it would have been downright sad.) Frankly, it’s a good thing I could drive then, because with her so sick with SMS, I would’ve been afraid for her to get out in traffic.

Mother suffered with SMS up until I went off to college when she made an almost miraculous recovery; though, come to think of it, my younger brother did report SMS flair-ups back at home. She must have kept her symptoms pretty well under control when she was around me, though, because after I left home, she started making a lot more sense.

Today, at this stage of her life, Mother has more than beaten her SMS: she’s positively thriving. Even my teenagers can’t see any evidence that she once suffered from such a grave case of Stupid Mama Syndrome.

This must be encouraging for them. I know it is for me.

Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight? Job 18:3 NRSV

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