My Teenage Daughter and Our Nighttime Chats

Night Chats With Her

So, my daughter – as moody as she is – will sometimes decide that she wants to have a night chat with me.  I love these moments.  They don’t happen very often, so when they do, I make sure to enjoy every bit of this time.  You see, my 14-year-old daughter usually can barely muster up nothing more than a grunt when anyone speaks to her.  Literally, a grunt.  Picture this conversation:

me:  good morning Mackenzie.

her:  umphh

me:  whats wrong?

her:  umphh

I have come to accept this as our morning ritual, and it has actually become a conversation that I look forward to every morning.  But on a few rare evenings, after her brothers have gone to bed and she has Snapchatted her last streak and tweeted her last tweet, she will slide into the bed beside me and snuggle.  If I time it exactly right, I can sneak in a real conversation.  On this particular night, I decided to tell her about my new Parenting blog.  Well, why did I do that?  This opened up a whole mountain of opinions.  She first wanted to know why I chose to write a blog?  Who did I think would read it? What would HER friends say?  It’s funny how teenagers can make everything about them.  Well, anyway, she went on to tell me how she felt that this would not be a good idea and that this would be so embarrassing for HER. And of course, she forbid me to ever mention her in my blog.

So, here is my question:  Who gave teenagers the idea that their opinions about adult things mattered?  My four lovely children share their opinions about my dress, how I spend my money, how I parent their siblings, what I prepare for their dinners, what I watch on television, how I should wear my hair, who I should spend my time with, where I should spend my time…I could go on forever.

I love the occasional night chats with my daughter, and can’t wait for her to snuggle up next to me again,  but, I wanted to say to her, “little girl, who cares what you think about what I do?” But instead, I simply said, “I love you, Mackenzie, now don’t you think it is past your bedtime?  Goodnight.”  And of course, I heard the usual, “umphh” as she trotted off to bed.

20 Things Kids Do That Drive Parents Batty!

1.Waking up early in the morning on weekends.  Especially when it takes me hours to wake that kid up on school days.2.  Calling me at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to pick you up from a friends house…you know I have a hangover!

2.  Calling me at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to pick you up from a friends house…you know I have a hangover!

3.  Lying

4.  Leaving their toys everywhere or shoes, jackets, whatever

5.  Walking into my room/bathroom without knocking.  Or knocking, but not waiting for an answer…just barging in.

6.  Not letting us a have a moment to pee in peace

7.  How about this scenario:  You enter the shower, while the kids are relaxing and watching a movie.  Two minutes after you step into the shower, you hear a blood-curdling scream,  “MOM!”  Of course, you jump out thinking something has happened.  What does the kid say, “mom, can I have a snack?”  WTH!

8.  Having to repeat myself a zillion times.  Put away your shoes.  Put away your shoes. Put away your shoes. Put away your shoes, Put away your shoes. Put away your shoes.

9.  Giving them advice and then seeing them do the exact opposite.

10.  Saying mean things to their sibling.  I hate to hear it.  It breaks my heart.  I guess I am a wuss.

11.  Losing their stuff. How do you lose a shoe?  Shouldn’t it be with the other one in the closet?  I don’t understand.

12.  Asking “What’s for dinner?”  as soon as they get in the car after school.  Why can’t you just wait and see what is on the table when you sit down.  Now, if you plan to make a contribution to its preparation then ask away.  I came up with a good answer to this annoying question.     kid:  mom, whats for dinner?  mom:  go up your nose and pick a winner!  It cracks me up EVERY TIME.  He hates, and I get a quick laugh.  The fact that it annoys him, makes it that much funnier to me.

13.  Asking for money.  If I give you an opportunity to earn an allowance through chores.  And you opt to not do the chores, don’t ask me for money to go to the movies.  One day I’m going to surprise her and say, “no.”  ( I wish that day would hurry up and get here)

14.  Giving the absent parent a pass on things that they hold me to the carpet on.  NOT FAIR!!!

15.  Dropping dirty clothes on the floor NEXT to the laundry basket.  What is that about?

16.  Why is your face always in my refrigerator?

17.  Why do you think it is ok to walk in from playing outside and go straight to the refrigerator without washing your hands?  You are a gross kid!

18.  Complaining about going to a grandparents house.

19.  Why is it so easy for you to share with your friends, but it kills you to share with a sibling?

20. Leaving your trash in my car.

What to do When Parenting Seems Too Hard


I don’t know what it is.  Is it because I am getting older?  Is it because it was such a long race.  I don’t know about you, but this year when my kids started school, I immediately began to feel pooped.  I feel like I just don’t have the energy to be a

Tired Mom

parent anymore.  It is a lot of work. And if I must say so myself, I go hard at parenting.  I have been raising four kids for the past 20 years.  That is a long freaking time.  I feel like I have been running a marathon.  After I came home from dropping son #2 off at college, I felt like I had finished the race and I could relax for a minute.  But since there is still a 15 year old and a 13 year old at home and their school year had also just begun, I had to start a new lap immediately.


I started off feeling like, “two down, two more to go”.  But now I feel like I don’t have any more energy left for the last two that are still in the house.  Granted, these two are so fully self-sufficient, they really just need me to make sure that they have electricity and running water and that there are groceries in the house.  So since I knew that I had to keep going, I had to come up with some “life hacks” of my own.  Here is a list of things that I now do to help me make it through the last four years (my youngest is 13) of this race.   I won’t mention the obvious ones, like the fact that no parent of a teenager should be doing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, taking out the trash, etc.

  1.  Stop doing laundry for anyone other than yourself.  I don’t wash, dry, fold or put away any clothes that I am not wearing.  I don’t even tell them when to do their laundry.  Well, this actually does not work for Miles, my 13-year-old son.  He would not hesitate to pull out a dirty, stinky school uniform shirt from his laundry basket and wear it to school.  So, I do still have to remind him, but Mackenzie will get up and start doing laundry at midnight if she is laying in bed and remembers that the jeans that she wants to wear are dirty.
  2. I do not push grocery baskets through the store, load groceries into the car or out of the car and I do not put groceries away.  And if they dare complain, I just simply tell them you may only eat the food items that you load and unload.  If I have to load it, you don’t get to eat it.
  3. Paper plates are a tired mom’s best friend.  Even though I don’t wash dishes anyway. When the kids have sporting events and we get home late, it is much easier for me to throw on a quick and easy dinner, rush them into the shower and to bed then it is for me to worry about getting them to do their chores before bed.  Then I can just throw away most of the dinner dishes, wash a few pots and call it a night.
  4. Don’t be afraid of frozen dinners.  Birds Eye has come to the rescue.  They have amazing one-pot skillet meals; from Alfredo Chicken to Garlic Shrimp.  And my kids love the Beef Lo Mein.  It comes complete with a heap load of vegetables, so I am covered there.  I know you might be concerned with the amount of sodium. But I already checked it out for you.  There are on average about 590 mg. of sodium per serving.   And the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults and children ages 14 years and older limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.  Pa-dow!  We are good.
  5. To make me feel even better about these one-pot wonders that I feed my kiddo’s, they get a yummy green smoothie with this dinner.  It is packed with spinach, greek yogurt, avocado, bananas and any other fruit that I choose.
  6. I no longer feel obligated to make it to EVERY event that is happening at the school or to their athletic events.  My son has been at the same school since, kindergarten.  He is now in the eighth grade.  This year, I gave myself permission to skip the annual Open House.  This is the fourth and the last kid that I have had successfully pass through this school.  I don’t think I need to see another Open House.  Yea, I said it!  By the way, Miles has a football game tomorrow.  I don’t think I will be going to that either.  Back in March, Mackenzie had a gymnastics meet in Alabama.  I packed her suitcase, gave another team mom money to help with gas and lodging and sent her on her merry way.  It was the first meet that I have missed in 4 years.  I must say, it felt good to miss that road trip, and she had fun hanging tight with a teammate.
  7.  It is not beneath me to pay for good grades.  As tired as I might be of pushing them to excel academically.  I continue to incentivize my expectations of being on the Honor Roll (or super darn close) each semester.  And lucky for me since I have pushed academics for the kids for so many years, I guess it is ingrained in these last two and they just kinda fall in line and push themselves.

These are just a few of the things that I do, to make life a little easier for me.  Along with reminding myself that in five years, they should all have flown the coop and moved on into their first phase of independent life.  The goal now is to find ways to get it all done with the least amount of pain and suffering on my part.

My Son is Leaving For College

In exactly nine more days, I will drop my 18-year-old son off on his college campus.  Literally, drop him off.  We leave Florida on the 15th, he checks into the dorm on the 17th and they immediately immerse him into his freshman experience  I dreamed of having a few days to mill around campus and get to know his friends, his dorm mates, the cafeteria, the Student Union…all of that.  You can imagine my surprise when I looked at the schedule that had arrived in the mail last week.  It informed me that on the day he checks in to the dorm, the college would host a family dinner and Q&A and then he would be whisked off to his first freshman Meet and Greet.   Parents, by the way, were not invited to this Meet and Greet.  The Meet and Greet would end at 9 p.m. and then the students would move into a night of movie watching.  I secretly wished that he would choose to come back to the hotel and watch movies with me (I know…wishful thinking).  The next two days will be filled with more of the same type of jam packed schedule. Galavanting on campus was NOT in the cards at all.

So today, when I arrived home, again nine days before taking him to college, I looked in his room and said, “Justin, when are you going to pick up your laundry off of the floor and put it away?”  It was at that moment that I realized, this would be the L-A-S-T time that I would say those words.  It sent me on a whirlwind of other thoughts.   How many more “lasts” will I have, have I had this summer?  I didn’t realize it, but this was a year of lasts.

  1.  2017 was the last year that I would get to celebrate my son’s May birthday with him.  At least for the next four years.
  2. This is the last week that he will be assigned to dishes, trash or any other family chore.
  3. I won’t wake him up for school anymore.
  4. Today, was the last time that he will “ask” me if he can go to the movies.  From now on, when he comes home for visits, I will more than likely get the required notice that he is going to the movies.
  5. I will never take him to or pick him up from basketball practice.
  6. I will never rush to leave work to make it to a basketball game.
  7. I won’t tell him to make up his bed before leaving again.
  8. We will never fly at break neck speeds to make it to Boone High School’s Meet the Teacher.
  9. I won’t be texting Coach Martinson ever again to ask him, what time does the game start.
  10. Tonight he came from the movies and said, the typical, “What’s for dinner, mom.  I am starving.”   I guess I might hear that one when he comes home for Christmas break.
  11. We won’t travel with any more AAU basketball teams.
  12. I won’t ever wash another Boone High School basketball uniform.
  13. As much as it annoyed me, he won’t call me again at midnight to pick him up from Midnight Basketball.

I knew this day was coming, but I just didn’t know it would come so quickly.  I pray to God that I will make it through the next nine days without shedding many more tears. #thomascollege  #boonehighschool