I realised today that teenboy is facing scary new things everyday.
These things are par for the course for us adults (or pretendy adults if you’re anything like me!) but when you’ve neverhad to deal with them before how do you know what to do and what do you if you mess it up?
Last night teenboy came home from job 1 and said he’s been asked to work there on Sunday, but he’d already agreed to work at job 2 on Sunday.
This is how our conversation went:
Teenboy: “Job 1’s asked me to work on Sunday.”
Me: “But you’re supposed to be at Job 2 on Sunday.”
Teenboy: “I know.”
Me: “So what did you tell job 1?”
Teenboy: “I said I’d work at there on Sunday.”
Me: “But what about job 2?”
Teenboy: “I don’t know. ”
Me: “Why didn’t you just tell your manager you had already agreed to work at job 2 on Sunday?”
Teenboy; “I didn’t know how to.”
I was bloody livid with him, but I let him go get ready to go out and party again (there’s been too many fights lately and I’ve decided to pick my fights with him and rightly or wrongly I opted to not pick this one) and I sat and seethed and and stewed at his stupidity. And the mess he’d now created.
Then today I had a bit of a revelation (I’d also had a lot of time away from teenboy and some fresh air with a loving, facepainted toddler and some animals): this was a scary new thing for teenboy and he panicked.
Now if that were you or I we’d know we have to tell our bosses that we can’t work. We know that honesty and being up front is the best policy and that the truth is always the right way to go. But we’ve done this before, he hasn’t and it’s not something I thought of preparing him for. It just never crossed my mind, not once.
This is the first time he’s been faced with this scary new thing and he did what we all do when terrified: he panicked and agreed to whatever, just to make the scary new thing go away.
When I was 16 I worked in a job I loved as a wedding photographer’s assistant but one day my boss (who wasn’t the nicest woman in the world or the easiest tbh!) asked me if I could take lunch early. And I said I’d rather not. And when she asked me why, I replied: “It makes the afternoon go quicker if I have my lunch then.”
To this day I don’t understand why I said that, why I wasn’t just honest. Twenty five years later I want to reach out to that little girl and to slap her silly as I shout in her ear: “Tell her you want to go at your usual time so you can watch Neighbours at your Grannys house, tell her, tell her…”
But I panicked and I said the first thing that came into my head and all hell broke loose. I won’t go into details as it’s too painful even now for me to remember how that woman bullied me and lied about me, how she called my mum and lied about me and how my mum believed her and not me.
Needless to say i lost my first proper job just a couple of months after starting all because I panicked when faced with a scary new thing.
So why didn’t I teach teenboy how to handle the scary new things that would come with working? Because it didn’t cross my mind, not once, despite the pain my panic caused me.
I’m not perfect, teenboy’s not perfect but we’re muddling through…but I think I’m the one learning the most.
PS Teenboy sorted it out quite magnificently this morning – he went to job 2 at 9am (an hour before he was due to start job 1) explained what had happened and job 1 told him to go job 2 and not worry about it.
I may despair of him much of the time, but he’s a good boy really.