Tag Archives: teenagers

Ten Simple Rules To Dating My Daughter

Disclaimer: This post is not about The Kid’s boyfriend. They have been dating for some time now and he is an amazing young man. I completely approve of him and their relationship. He is a good rule follower.

Ahh, the teen years. With this stage comes mood swings, driving, mascara, and boys. Just to name a few.

Boys. That one scares the shit out of me as much as driving. Although, having your head ripped off for saying “good morning” isn’t much fun either. File that under “mood swings” and shake it off.

But we can’t shake off everything. Like boys. It’s inevitable, so there’s no point in fighting it. We can have some control though, don’t you think?

Sure we can. The boys just need to follow a few simple rules.

  1. Keep your hands above the fabric. Keep your hands above the belt. Keep your hands above the neck. In other words, keep your hands to yourself or lose them. No one likes a hand-less boyfriend.
  2. Make sure she’s back by curfew. And when I say curfew, I don’t mean 11:01. I don’t even mean 10:59. Learn that I usually don’t mean what I say. Also, learn what I really mean.
  3. Do not drive like a maniac while transporting my daughter. Stay well within the limits of the speed (have you ever heard of getting a ticket for going too slow? Do that). Do not, I repeat, do not text and drive. The same thing goes for drinking, talking to Siri and putting your hands on her knee (if you do this last thing, you have violated Rule #1).
  4. Do not take her anywhere you wouldn’t want your younger sister going. The mini golf place? Acceptable as long as you don’t hide behind the windmills. The back row of the movie theater? Not.
  5. When you come to pick up my daughter for a date, always, always come to the door. Always. There are no acceptable excuses like you are running late or you have been maimed by the neighborhood dog and are bleeding to death.
  6. If you hurt her in any way, I will make a voodoo doll with your name on it. I don’t know how to make a voodoo doll but I’ll figure it out. I’m crafty like that.
  7. Do not make her do anything she doesn’t feel comfortable doing. If she says no, she means no. If you don’t understand what that means, perhaps you need to go back to kindergarten.
  8. Don’t be a player. Don’t “see” other girls. If you do, see #6.
  9. Be chivalrous. I believe in equal rights for women but don’t be a jerk. Please open doors for her, don’t walk ahead of her, offer your jacket when she is cold, make her feel safe. Now, when you two have jobs, she should be paid as much as you. Maybe even more.
  10. Treat my daughter with the utmost respect. When I say respect, I mean see Numbers 1-9. Rinse. Repeat.

That’s not too bad, right? I made it easy. Just follow the rules and you will have my undying love and affection. And if you don’t follow the rules? Well, like I said, I’m crafty.

Going To “Prom”

Prom season is upon us. The Kid is a Junior in high school so this is her first. I’m enjoying the time with her — shopping for the dress, shoes, making beauty appointments. I have a feeling that day is probably going to be very similar to what her wedding day will be like. And it’s weird.

When I was a teen, we called it “THE” prom. “Hey Karen, who are you going to the prom with?” Every time I add the “the” I get reprimanded by my teen for saying it incorrectly. Prom. As if it is a proper noun. Like saying France or something. Does it have its own capital too?

Then there is the way the girls are being asked. It’s a huge production. I don’t think most engagements are this elaborate. I bet The Kid’s boyfriend is sitting over in his house, planning out every detail by the minute. Sweating bullets to get it right. I sure would hate to be a teenage boy these days. Geesh.

When I was in high school, I had the same boyfriend in my Junior and Senior years. He was taking me to the prom. He didn’t ask. It was assumed. Period. And if you didn’t have a boyfriend? You either got a phone call on the telephone (or should that be telephone) or was approached after sixth period. “Hey, wanna go to THE prom with me?” “Sure.” “Totally tubular.”

Then there is the dress shopping. Facebook groups for all the Junior girls to join so that they can post a pic of the dress they bought. Why? So there isn’t a double. And if there is? Oooh, I’d hate to be at the prom. Sorry. PROM. I’d hate to be at prom.

I could see a cat fight brewing. Satin and taffeta and crystals being ripped to shreds right there on the dance floor. “You have my dress you biotch! Didn’t you check Facebook?????” I feel bad for the chicks who don’t have a Facebook page. Yes, it’s true. Believe it or not. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

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My Junior and Senior Prom dresses respectively. Recycled before recycling was a thing.

For Junior prom, my bestie and I each bought a dress. Then the following year, we traded. It was a win/win. And we saved a lot of money. Because back in the day, I had to buy my own dress, with the money I made from the job I had. But that is a story for another show. And if someone came to the prom with the same dress? Eh. She had good taste.

How about the nails and hair? Oh, and the makeup? And if you buy open toed shoes? Go ahead and add in a pedicure. I’m sure that all will cost DH and me upward of a hundred bucks. God forbid you do your own. I offered to do it all for her, but for some reason she doesn’t trust me.

I don't know what the problem is? I do hair good.

I don’t know what the problem is? I do hair good.

  If I had asked my mother if she could make an appointment for me to get a manicure, hair job, and makeover, she would have laughed her ass off and then gone and purchased a home perm, a can of Aqua Net and a bottle of top coat. A little black eyeliner warmed by the flame of a Bic added to the inside of my eyelid, some blush (the same blush I wore to school) and voila! I was ready to prom it up!

Then there is the photo party. The photo party is way more important than the actual prom. This is true. No one seems to really care about the prom. PROM. For God’s sake. Prom. Prom. Prom.

I remember The Kid’s eighth grade dinner dance. The photo party was another large production. With someone hosting it. There was a tent with food and beverages all set up for the ten million kids that were there. It was lovely, it really was. The hosts did an awesome job. The kids loved it.

But there are so many teens in the shot that all their faces are just a blur. Then all that work to get them prepped for that evening, only to get a text halfway through the dance. “Can you come pick me up? We’re bored so we are all going over to Dante’s house for taquitos.” Okaaaaayyyyy. Umm…sure?

I have one kid, therefore, I only have to do this one more time. Phew. I don’t think I can handle any more than that. Next year oughta hold much drama. Bring it on. I’ll just pop some corn and observe. After we pay the bill, of course.

Afterthought: I completely forgot that our Junior prom was held in the gymnasium of our school. Carefully and lovingly decorated by the prom committee. Now? The kids (parents) have to pay for a fancy catering hall. Like I said, it likens to that of a wedding. We’ve all lost our f*cking minds.

Hormones vs. Hormones

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I woke up in a bad mood this morning. A real bad mood. Even the text to my mother was full of venom. I’m pretty sure she was praying. Thanking the good Lord that she was 639.59 miles away. Safely tucked away in the sweet plains of The South.

I don’t know why I woke up this way. I just did. It happens. So, when I told The Kid to empty the dishwasher, she replied through gritted teeth with a “PLEEEASSSE???” You know, the kind of “please” you say to your two year old when she demands a lollipop.

This was probably not the best day to get snarky on me. Peri-menopausal women are a force to be reckoned with. “Force” as in an Uzi With A Vagina. But what does she know? She’s only 16. So much to learn. Poor thing.

What was my reply? “I don’t think so, child. This is your chore. Why I feel the need to remind you to do your chore is beyond me. So no, I will NOT SAY PLEASE!”

When she was done with her chore, I told her she had an attitude and that I didn’t like it. “Mom, can I say something to you?” she asked.

The previous night I was at the high school for a seminar. It was about drug awareness. Three kids from our town came to speak about their drug and alcohol addictions. A child professional got up and spoke for a bit. One of the things he said is to listen to your child. Never dismiss her.

Usually when I am in this type of foul mood, I would say something really stupid and completely against what all child development people would recommend saying. They would not only cringe at my reaction, but would probably have my kid in some kind of therapy for the next 20 years.

When I am in this mood, it would sound something like this: “no, you can’t say anything because whatever you say right now will not help you. Now go upstairs and get ready for school.” But I didn’t. I stopped and I thought before I spoke. I know, this is a shocker. My mouth is usually louder and faster than my brain.

“Yes, you may.” I nearly had a heart attack at my own reaction. “Mom, why is it every time YOU’RE in a bad mood, we have to suffer?” I looked around for DH. So sure he was hiding in the shadows with a $20 bill.

I was rendered speechless. This is the second “attack” I’ve had from my family in a week. I use the word “attack” loosely. It was more like an awakening. The first time, when we were in the car going somewhere, it was what I like to refer to as a “come to Jesus” meeting. Except I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo. “We think you are going through menopause and we don’t like it. You’ve kind of been mean lately.”

They were as nice as they could be about it. But I sit here thinking about these occurrences. Yes, I have been pretty bitchy around here. Not always. I’m not one of those raging lunatics who should probably be committed. But I have my moments. Perhaps a little more than less lately.

And I know why. Sure, hormones play a part in it. I was born hormonal. You should have seen me as a teen. Think Regan without the complete head turn. Damned as I tried, I could only get my head to go 3/4 of the way around.

I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should. I stopped exercising. Exercise plays a huge part in feeling good. It’s got something to do with endorphins. Endorphins are your best friend. But I digress.

Whatever the reason, it’s not a good enough one to treat the people you love the most in this world the worst. No, I seem to save my best mood for everyone else. Friends, strangers, people who I try too hard with.

So, in my eye-opening last two weeks, I’ve decided that I need to lighten up on the closest people to me — my family. I can still be great to my friends. Kind to strangers. Civil to everyone else.

I’m going to save my good energy for my people. The people who, even though I act like Sybil at times, still love me back and never give up on me. Even in my peri-menopausal semi-crazed rage.

With that being said, we are still allowed to get upset with our children when they don’t listen. When they don’t do what we ask them to do. Perhaps I don’t need to spit blood, but I can be a little exasperated. And I’ll try to keep the Regan to a minimum. I promise.

Growing Up Too Fast

“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone.  Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am?  Because The Kid was flying the coop.  Spreading her wings.  Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week.  Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps.  All for the good of humanity.

It will be a great experience.  But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me.  Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.

Sure, there are chaperones going.  One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still.  I won’t be there to remind her about stuff.  You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.

I won’t be there.  Period.  I am relinquishing control.  I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready.  What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?

I guess DH and I did good.  She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been.  She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.

So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry.  I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her.  My baby is growing up.  In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.

This one will do just fine.

This one will do just fine.

Teenagers Don’t Suck Anything But The Life Out of You. Sometimes.

TeenagersWhen I was pregnant with The Kid, I absolutely dreaded the thought of having a teenager. Especially a girl teenager. Freaked me the freak out. Honestly. I was making plans for either having her enrolled in a military boarding school by the age of 13 or me running off to a hideaway for “Moms with Teens” for 5 years. One or the other. Because there was no way there was going to be room in this house for the both of us. No way in hell.

Of course, this is going purely on assuming that she was going to be just like me. And if she was going to be just like me, there was going to be a little problem. Because although my dear mother says “you weren’t that bad,” I kinda was. A little. The crap I did would be enough to send me, as mother, running to the nearest homeless shelter. Because that sounds more appealing. Homeless vs. Hormone Laden Teen. You’ll find me in the woods. By myself. No forwarding address.

We all assume teenage girls are awful. And they are. For the most part. But, there is the exception, of course. There is always an exception. The Kid isn’t horrible. I am becoming increasingly pleasantly surprised. She’s not a dang thing like me. She doesn’t cut class, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t hang out at the 7-Eleven drinking beer. I haven’t seen a hickey on her, she’s a great student and an all around happy kid. Okay, so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t do these things. My mom didn’t think I did either. Oh shit.

Still. She’s a teenager. There are days that can suck. I could definitely do without those times where there is nothing I do or say is right. Other times I am her most treasured friend. You know. Like when we are at the mall. Hmm. 

Spoiled Rotten

A few weeks ago the top news story in the Northeast was about a teenage girl who was suing her parents for money.  From all accounts, it looks like she is just a spoiled little brat who was devising a plan to get all that she wanted (including keeping a degenerate boyfriend and staying out as late as 3am if she so chose to) while her parents pay for her education.

I believe the judge denied the teenager’s request and the girl went back home.  It ended well for all of us parents.  Could you imagine if she had won?  I shudder at the thought.  I was going to write this big post about how I felt about the situation.  And then this morning I had a conversation with a friend about kids today and how spoiled they are and how badly we hover.  Which could possibly be partly what happened to this child.

We live in the age of The Helicopter Parent.  We all do it.  Ok, excuse me.  Most of us do it.  There is the exception.  I have a friend who is the parent of 4 kids and she’s got these kids doing what they need to do, when they need to do it without a complaint from them.  I am in awe of her.  Still, at the end of the day, there is some overprotecting going on.  What, with all the crap we hear in the media about kids going missing, etc. how can you blame us?

But there is a price to be paid.  My generation figured it out.  My parents didn’t do it for me.  We had street smarts.  Hell, when I was 11 years old I had to walk to and from school where we lived in Yonkers.  Alone.  I lived in 7 different places in 12 years.  I had to suck it up.  I would become close with other kids, then BOOM.  The Army moved us again.  Too bad.  I had to pick myself up, brush it off and move along.  There was no time to mope and cry.  Besides I wasn’t allowed to.  Seems rough, right?  No.  It’s called life.  And quite honestly, I’m grateful to my parents for the way I was raised.

So if I was raised that way, as I’m sure most of us were, why is there so much coddling?  “Oh, let me clean your room because you have too much homework.  Oh, why don’t you take the day off of school, you need a breather.  Oh, no, you can’t walk down the street to Diane’s house, you might get stolen.”  Everything from doing their homework to calling Abercrombie to see if there is a size 1 in the faded skinny jean they just “have to have.”

I do it all the time.  Actually, I don’t do the homework.  I don’t believe in that.  Besides, my kid would fail.  Anyway, guess what?  We aren’t helping our children.  Not at all.  We make it too easy for them.

The Kid and I toured a college last week.  A college that is at the top of her list.  When we got there, I was expecting a show of extreme excitement from her.  Because she is, by nature, an easily excitable person.  She will deny this for the rest of her life, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was completely freaked out.

I’m hearing a lot of stories of kids dropping out of college lately.  Kids just not able to take the pressure.  They don’t know how to take care of themselves.  They can’t keep up with the work.  They miss mommy.  It’s scary.  What do I do to prevent this from happening to my kid?

Suddenly, we are on the final stretch of our parenting journey.  And it dawned on me that we have about 2 years to get her ready.  Because as much as I will miss her and will probably cry my eyes out for a good week after she leaves, I do not want her coming back home.  Not under those circumstances.

Oh God, I have to go.  This helicopter just ran out of gas and is plummeting to the earth.  Which is good, but I have some repairing to do.  It’s going to be a long 2 years.  Wish me luck.

Linking up with Shell

Car Phones, Tape Recorders & Card Catalogs

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My first “cell” phone looked something like this

When the kid starts complaining about something that makes her life difficult, I have to bite my tongue.  I have to refrain from acting like my mother and not bore her with the angst I dealt with as a teen.  So I’ll bore you instead.  Tell me if you can relate.  I know you can.

  • Me:  One bathroom for 5 people.  Her:  Three bathrooms for 3 people.  That means there is a toilet for each ass.  No schedules.  No waiting.  Life should be good based just on this alone.
  • Our song download consisted of a tape recorder, a radio, a quiet room and a lot of time.
  • We only had 3 remote controls in my house.  They were called Mo, Ed and Mark.  On the up side, we never ran out of batteries.
  • Our DVR/TiVo was whoever you were watching TV with.  “What’d they say?” has been replaced by “Rewind that.”
  • My first car phone was the size of a small suitcase, weighed as much as a toddler and did nothing but make and receive phone calls.  It was called a car phone because that’s where it stayed.  In the car.  I was major cool.  Really.  I was.
  • Funk & Wagnalls and the Card Catalog were our “go to” guys for information.
  • People smoked in restaurants.  But at least we got our choice of the “smoking” or “non-smoking” section.  It was super fun when the “non-smoking” section started at the booth right behind you.
  • When we got sick of Pac-man, there was always Pong.
  • If I wanted to go anywhere, I relied on public transportation, an ex-boyfriend with a car, or hitchhiking.  I could have walked, but that method was used in the generation before me.
  • We took a typing class, with real typewriters complete with carbon paper.  Mrs. Darling would smack the back of our hands with a wooden ruler if we so much as peeked at our fingers.  The “Hunt & Peck” method?  There would have been a lot of blood spilled.
  • We sat for hours in class learning how to write in cursive.  Apparently that was a friggin’ waste of time.
  • I got to babysit 2, 3 and sometimes even 4 kids at once.  And all for a dollar an hour.  At least it was easy to do the math.
  • There was no iTunes.  What I did have was $6 of my babysitting money that only took 2 days to earn and this thing called A Record Store where they sold albums made of vinyl.

And the next time you are bored?  Go catch some fireflies.  Or better yet, make a crank call.  Oh wait.  I forgot.  You don’t know how to use a phone.

 

Flatsy Patsy

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I was a member of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.”  It’s true.  I had the tank top to prove it.  My friend and I each had one.  It was a great committee to be a part of.  We were so cool.  I know, anyone who knows me can’t believe it.  I was a flat-chested teenager.

What’s worse is we would actually walk around with this shirt on.  I mean, walk a mile to the deli after school on a main road kind of wear.  Wow.  There are no other words.

I used to get teased in school for my lack of, um, boobies.  There was this one certain boy, let’s call him “Danny.”  Well, because that was his actual name.  He used to rub the top of the desk like he was rubbing my chest.  Even though it appears as if I completely embraced my lack of….boobies, Danny really got to me.  Once I ran home crying to my dad.  He was so supportive.  His reply?  “Well, it’s true.”  Nice, dad, real nice.  Danny even bought me a box of bandaids once.  And they weren’t meant to cover a cut.

One day, I woke up and there they were.  Finally.  I was about 17.

It was some time after graduation and I was pumping gas at a local gas station when guess who is getting gas at the next pump over?  Yup. You got it.  Danny.  There was genuine shock on his face and he seemed a bit too happy to see me.  But there was something wrong with his eyes.  Yo Dan, up here dude.  My face is up here, about 6 inches higher.  Oh, and eat your heart out.  I heard he married a flat-chested girl.  Hahahahaha…sorry.  I’m over it.  Really, I am.

The Lost Art of Communication

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I’m not sure if you’re aware of it or not, but we, as a country are completely screwed.  When you say to your child, “I need to speak to you,” and she says, “just text me,” you know we have a problem.

I grew up with the rotary phone.  You know the kind.  It had a curly cord attached to it and a circular “key pad.”  We had one phone on the kitchen wall.  For privacy, it was literally a stretch across the hall and into the bathroom.

Sure, in retrospect, it was a pain in the ass.  But at least we SPOKE to one another.  We opened our mouths and actual words came out.  We put the effort into dialing a phone that took 2.5 minutes so that we could talk to our best friend or boyfriend.  We also learned about time management because otherwise we would never get the opportunity to make that phone call before mom or dad needed to use it.

If the kid needs to ask someone a question that needs immediate attention, she texts instead of calls.  When I suggest she actually pick up the phone and call them, you should see the look on her face.  It’s as if I just suggested we go skinny dipping in the Atlantic in February. Like it was the stupidest idea since the Snuggie.

Every job description I come across during my job search says that good verbal communication skills are necessary.  I’m afraid this is what a job description of the future will look like:

“Must be proficient in texting at least 95 words per minute without error.  No need to speak to anyone.  No need to pay attention to anyone.  Ability to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter an added bonus.”  To top it off, they will probably be required to have a Master’s Degree.  So, we all get to pay out our asses in education for our children so they can get a job that doesn’t require them to speak.

This should be interesting.  I’m not sure I want to be around for that.  If I am, please call and let me know.  Although the phone may be obsolete by then.  Um, text me?

Parental Discretion Is Advised

Parenting comes with its trials and tribulations. You want to be able to give your teen some freedom. You want them to be able to figure some stuff out. But we have to keep them on a leash of some sort and guide them. How do we know what we should and should not allow them to do? I think it just comes down to good old fashioned common sense.

A few months ago, my 14 year old daughter came home from school asking about a party she wanted to go to.  The conversation went something like this:

Her: Mom, there is this party this weekend. Can I go? The thing is, the parents aren’t going to be home. Like, I think you should let me go though. So-and-so’s mom is letting her go.

Me: Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate that. But, no. You will not be going to someone’s house party without adult supervision. And you are not so-and-so (ugh that was a major “I have turned into my mother” moment).

Her: Mom, I think you need to trust me. I mean, I’m not going to drink or take any drugs, if they have any of that stuff there.

Me: (holy shit…drugs? alcohol? Lord, help me survive the next 4 years) It’s not a matter of trust.  Of course I trust that you will make the right decision, but putting a bunch of 14 year olds in that kind of situation can only lead to trouble.

Her: Gawd mom, I don’t understand what the big deal is!!!

Me: Ok, fine. Then I’m going to call Penelope’s (name changed to protect the innocent) mom and thank her for allowing a party to be going on at her house while she is away. That is super nice of her, don’t you think?

Her: OMG! No mom! You cannot do that. OMG, please don’t do that, I will die!

Me: Well, if I can’t call the mother, then you definitely cannot go.

Her: Never mind.

My kid is smart. So, why do I have to explain this stuff in triplicate? Then I recall when I announced to my mother at this exact age that when I had kids, they would be allowed to do whatever they want.

I wanted to see what she would do in this situation. She is definitely much smarter than I was. Unlike me, she’s a straight A student and has more sense in her head than I ever had in my left pinky toe. Surely, she realizes how stupid her request is.

So, I asked her this: “Honey, put yourself in my shoes. If you were a mom and your teenage daughter approached you with this same question, what do you think you would do?” REALLY dumb question, by the way. Her reply? “Of course she could go, I don’t see what the big deal is.” Duh.

So, it is completely true what all those child psychologists and books say. Teenagers are stupid. Plain and simple. I don’t care if you gave birth to Albert Einstein. I bet his mother thought he was an idiot at 14 too.

As for that little party, it didn’t happen. It turns out I’m not the only parent that is totally uncool. What can I say? We certainly know how to kill a good party. We uncool moms have that effect.