Parenting teens is one of the hardest jobs out there. Here’s a look at some of the lighter—and surprising—truths about parenting three teens at once.

Raising Multiple Teens at the Same Time

When my kids were little (and all in diapers at the same time), I didn’t take a lot of time to think about how having three teenagers in the house would look. Mostly because I was in survival mode. and there wasn’t that kind of time on any given day. But now that they have grown up a bit, there are some things I’ve noticed along the way. Here are 10 truths about raising three teenagers at once:

1. You go through a ton of deodorant.

It doesn’t matter if I buy the three-pack thinking it will last the month, or I buy deodorant every Sunday while I’m at the grocery store, there will never be enough pit stick to go around.

You would think with the amount of deodorant I buy, my kids would be smelling like roses all the time, but alas, this isn’t so. Having three teens means you will go through deodorant like water. Why don’t they make those odor-eating sticks bigger?

2. There is never any hot water.

Between all the laundry and dishes you have to wash and the number of times the shower gets turned on in a 24-hour period, there is never enough hot water to go around. I tried setting a five-minute limit for showers because let’s face it, teens like standing in a hot shower to procrastinate just as much as mothers do, but it didn’t work. My kids started showering when I wasn’t home to avoid the banging sound on the door and me letting them know their time was up.

3. You never have food.

The second you unload the grocery bags, they come in behind you with their hungry selves and devour a box of cereal, a gallon of milk, and pick at the rotisserie chicken you already told them to stay out of if they wanted dinner that night.

It doesn’t matter how much dough you drop at the grocery store. If you buy three bags of chips, they eat all three in a week. If you spend $50 for fruit, it will last two days, max.

4.There is hair all over the place.

Everyone is shedding, no one cares to take the time to clean out their razors, and just the other day I pulled a rat-sized clump of hair out of the tub drain. My children let me know the water in their shower wasn’t draining very quickly and had no idea why.

As soon as I opened the shower curtain, I could see the culprit but of course, they hadn’t noticed the scary monstrosity of a hairball staring at them. I left it on the side of the tub for their viewing pleasure and told them to give the drain a swipe now and again or the hair clump would end up in their beds next time.

5. They fight about razors.

I somehow thought while they were young and fighting over who got the blue sippy cup, those days would be behind me shortly. I was wrong.

I bought my daughter the special razors she wanted because her friend had them. My son took one look and figured they’d work better than his razors and decided to give them a swipe. He loves them, uses them, but doesn’t clean them out so his “man hair” gets caught up in the delicate pink razor.

Needless to say, this has caused arguing and hiding of razors. I got my son his own pack, just like when I went out and bought all my kids a blue sippy cup hoping to lessen the fighting. This worked until my son accused my daughter of using his razors which she denied of course, then used one just for spite.

6. They are amazing sounding boards.

There have been a lot of times when I am very stressed out over something small and my kids remind me just how unimportant it is. Like, the other day when we were running late for school and I noticed I forgot my laptop that I needed for the day and I got so frazzled. My son (who was driving) said, “Mom, it’s not a big deal I’ll turn around to get it, you call the school.”

I realized I was putting a lot of unnecessary drama into the situation. And honestly, it’s what I’ve been trying to instill in my kids their whole life: Don’t worry about something that can be fixed—everything is figure-out-able.

7. They will take your stuff.

My daughter loves raiding my closet, and my kids always find my hidden stash of chocolate. They raid my sock drawer as soon as they realize they don’t have any clean ones because they have not done laundry and I never know where all the pens and spoons are.

8. Their rooms are going to be a mess.

I’ve given up on this one. Most teenagers don’t care how their room looks and really, it’s their space. I used to try and make my kids keep their room neat until I realized they get one room in the entire house that they can call their own. If they do a pretty good job at cleaning up their stuff around the rest of the house, that’s good enough for me.

9. When they bond, it’s even better than when they were younger.

There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing my boys play a game together or take off down the road on their skateboards. My daughter and her younger brother still make tents and sleep in them some nights.

My kids don’t always get along but when they so, especially now that they are older, it reminds me of the bond they are creating that will last a lifetime.

I’m close with my sisters and it brings me great joy to think that my kids will share the same relationship when they are older.

10. They will call you out.

Teenagers may not always look like they are paying attention, but they are. My kids aren’t afraid to speak up for themselves if I am taking my bad day out of them which I have done, and I know it’s not fair.

They have no problem reminding me I tell them not to bring their cellphones to the table when I jump up to get mine because I’m waiting to hear back about an important work thing. They are right and I need to practice what I preach.

I love being a mom, it’s been my favorite accomplishment to date. And yes, raising teenagers can be hard. But it’s also wonderful when you aren’t running around buying food, deodorant, and trying to get them to clean their rooms.

You realize (very quickly) what’s worth the fight, and what you need to let go of in order to enjoy these rewarding years. Because let’s face it, a parent to multiple teens needs to be their best self and pay attention.

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