Why Parenting Teenagers Is Like Having a Mammogram

Young women who have not yet had a mammogram, or male readers, you may want to sit this one out. #fairwarning

Recently, my day began with a school meeting, a pelvic ultrasound and then a mammogram.

You know that moment when you have amazing experiences you would love to endlessly reenact? Maybe your own personal Groundhog Day filled with cotton candy and rainbows?

This was like that but exactly the opposite.

Since this particular mammogram went slightly off-script, I turned to writing therapy.

And I discovered the parallel between parenting teenagers and having this procedure is simply uncanny.

[UPDATE: All results were perfect – thank you concerned friends]

both require you bare yourself

One moment  you feel covered and dignified and next moment you are exposed and vulnerable. You may find yourself wearing a short crunchy paper vest that opens in the front, or worse yet feeling out of touch and irrelevant. Vulnerability is hard.

you are so not in control

My sweet technician said, “Don’t try to help me. The more you try to help, the worse it gets.” I tried to cooperate. Who wants to tick off someone armed with a growly boob flattener?

But the more instructions she gave me the worse it got. “Move forward. No! Not with your feet. Your feet are not supposed to move. Move forward. LEAN forward. Just relax. Make sure you relax!“ I was half expecting, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

And how do teens respond to parental help 9.9 times out of 10? EXACTLY the same! They protest indignantly – out loud with glares. “Don’t try to help me. The more you try the worse it gets.” Although I didn’t see the technician roll her eyes, the message was the very same.

On the plus side, we can keep our shirts on when trying to help our teens.

first impressions can be wrong

The first two mammogram images were relatively easy to position. I felt like a professional mammogram-ee. What were all those women complaining about? Maybe invincible breasts were my undiscovered superpower.

Karen Gauvreau
Karen Gauvreau
Karen Gauvreau would gladly squeeze her four-baby-body into a cheerleading outfit if it meant you knew someone was rooting for you as a Mom. She would cartwheel for your victories and offer a pep talk when you are getting pummelled. She wants every Mom to feel understood and valuable for their sacred role. And if she makes you laugh in the process, even better. You can find her over at Lightly Frayed, parenting four boys ages 5 to 16 with hope and humour {most days}. Catch her writing at www.lightlyfrayed.com,

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