I am a teacher. Like my 5 year old daughter says, I teach “the big kids”, junior and senior English and Creative Writing. I am surrounded by teenagers daily who teach me all sorts of things about the world; mainly they keep me relatively hip to current pop culture and social media phenomenons that I may not otherwise know about in my Disney Junior home world.
My school kids come in daily talking about people who are Insta-famous, YouTubers I have never heard of, and Snapchats I just have to check out (for the record, I just got an Instagram this year to post homework assignments, I hardly ever go on YouTube, and don’t even know what Snapchat is). I’ve always said that being around teenagers all day keeps me young and relatively “with it”.
It happened so quickly that I hardly even noticed it. When my oldest daughter was born, my husband and I were still relatively portable; we could go out to dinner with friends, get concert tickets, take our daughter to see our friend’s band play at outdoor venues. I still had a picture in my mind when my school kids came in talking about Flo-Rida or 30H!3; I even had some of their songs on my iPod.
Two summers ago, I found out that we were expecting twins; identical twin girls. We had to buy a minivan (I’m not knockin’ it, I love the DVD player and the stow-and-go seats). When my twins were born, we quickly found ourselves mired in the newborn world again. I think it was almost three months before I showered for longer than 5 minutes or left the house alone.
We don’t have time to go to dinner or concerts anymore. My oldest daughter started kindergarten and our evenings are filled with homework and school stories with the Disney Pandora station playing in the background while my twins play on the floor. I barely watch the news. I barely watch TV at all anymore. By the time the three girls are in bed, I have about 45 minutes to grade papers, make lunches, do some laundry, and wash some sippy cups before I collapse in bed hoping to get 4 or 5 solid hours of sleep before a twin wakes up for a diaper change or a cuddle.
Trust me, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love every second with my girls; however, something subtle started to happen at school.
My students started talking about Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, Miranda Sings, promposals and dabbing. Suddenly, I had no idea who they were talking about. They began scoffing at my Pandora stations, asking questions like “Who is Jack Johnson? Norah Jones?” or “Who listens to this stuff?” while I stood my ground and said, “I do, thank you very much!” A few weeks ago, they told me Pinterest was a “Mom-App”, Facebook too. I found myself floundering a bit. As my 36th birthday came and went, I really felt like I was struggling. I was officially “late 30s” with 3 kids and a minivan. How did that happen? Where did I lose my cool along the way?
I always thought that teaching high school kids would keep me young. I had my pulse on what was “in” and “fresh” (is fresh cool?). However, since I’ve been mired in the world of Mom, I gradually pulled my finger off the pulse of youth culture. Last week, I shyly asked my students what B.A.E. stood for; they use it all the time and I heard it in an interview on Extra (which I had on before NCIS by the way…another Mom show). They giggled and one went so far as to say, “Oh, Meany, that’s so cute. You really don’t know?” I can proudly say I now know what it means (Before Anyone Else, like your person, I guess) but I have no idea how to use it correctly in context. And I’m okay with that.