If your teenager likes you, does that mean you’re doing a great job as a parent or a terrible job? Conversely, what if your teen says they hate you?
I think most parents struggle with this. Of course we want to think our kids like us – at least we want them to talk to us and to share information, to laugh with us and be able to enjoy each other’s company. But we also have to be careful not to fall into the trap of wanting to be their friend. After all, someone has to be the adult, be responsible and make the tough decisions, saying no when appropriate.
My memories of home life and the teen years are not very picturesque, and I’m sure my parents would agree. Most teens, if they’re honest, would probably admit to being embarrassed by and not wanting to have anything to do with their parents. Other teens give up on communicating with their parents, thinking nothing they do will ever please mom and dad. And parents can do the same, thinking their teen will never be happy no matter what they do. It’s a time when parents say black, but kids say white and never shall the two meet.
The good news is the teen years don’t last forever. It just feels like it when you’re going through it!
I wish I was a better delegator. I’ve always been more of a worker bee and sometimes still have a hard time delegating tasks to others instead of just doing them myself.
At home, for instance, I can only live with dirty dishes for so long before I just take over. Technically, this is supposed to be my daughter’s job, but there are frequently days when I come home from work and the counter and sink are still a mess from the night before. And rather than wait for K to get home from whatever practice she’s usually at, I just do them myself. After all, if I’m going to attempt to cook dinner, I need a clean place to work.
Speaking of dinner, that’s another thing I could delegate, especially now that the boys are home from college. There’s no reason why the kids can’t start or even cook dinner, rather than wait for me to get home and do it.
The boys, for some reason, seem to be better about contributing to household chores. I’m not sure why. I guess I haven’t done a good job delegating with my daughter and enforcing consequences when the jobs didn’t get done. I need to redouble my efforts.
After all, despite my motherly need to take care of them, it does them no good in the end if they have the mistaken notion that a household runs itself.
Don’t you just love those school/sports/clubs fundraisers?
I went to one last night at my daughter’s high school. It was a nice set-up, with the smell of scented candles you could buy filling the air and tables offering taste-tests of the various food products for sale.
My kids have sold all sorts of things through the years, from wrapping paper to candy, candles and magazines. And of course, don’t forget the Girl Scout cookies! It always ends up being the parents who do most of the legwork and sell most of the goodies and I think I can safely say that the Girl Scout cookies are probably the only item anybody ever really wanted to buy.
It was always with guilt that I’d provide relatives’ addresses for the kids to send inquiries about magazine subscriptions. Then I’d try to let said relatives know that it was OK to throw those inquires straight into the recycling bin when they arrived.
Last night’s event included a contest incentive: $50 cash prizes to the person who brought the most people and the person whose guests spent the most money. My daughter will win neither.
I went, and also took my oldest (anybody over age 18 qualified as a guest) so K could log at least two attendees. Then I got out my checkbook. On top of the money that was due to the team sponsoring the fundraiser – costs for summer camp and next year’s equipment – I also bought a few items for sale. Ca-ching! But then again, it’s a sound familiar to most parents.
When your child is born his life is a book waiting to be written. And like many novels, some parts of that life are page-turners and others just normal every-day living. All three of our kids’ lives are still novels in progress, but our firstborn has recently completed a significant chapter — he’s now a college graduate.
The big event was this past weekend. We had family who came in from the Midwest as well as the West Coast and the pageantry of the ceremony was beautiful and celebratory. Seeing my son’s name on the list of graduates was cause for reflection. It sounds so clichéd but it’s true: Where did those first 22 years go? Just yesterday, it seems, I was putting a beaming, waving happy little boy on the bus to kindergarten.
Now he has a degree in hand and, I hope, a better sense of himself. The high-powered commencement speaker talked about the graduates’ IQs, but then mentioned something he thought was even more important — their AQs, or Adversity Quotients. I hope our son’s AQ is high. I think it must be. After all, he persevered through four years of a rigorous engineering curriculum. He had successes and failures and had to learn to deal with whatever came his way. He knows better what he can accomplish when he puts his mind to it. As his mom, that’s really all I can ask for.
Now, his life’s book is beginning the next chapter. And I think it’s just getting to the good part.
There’s nothing better than a clean house and mine is looking pretty darn good (if I do say so myself) — both inside and out.
The ever-present clutter is gone, floors are mopped and vacuumed, furniture is dusted, kitchen and bathrooms are clean and spotless and everything is in its place. Outside, the grass is green and mowed, the flowerbeds and pots are planted and blooming, the stone walls have been powerwashed and everything has been trimmed and tidied appropriately (much of this due to huge amounts of work on my husband’s part).
It took some great motivation, of course, to get this all done and, more importantly, to get it all done at the same time. Out-of-town family begins arriving at dinnertime today in anticipation of our oldest’s college graduation on Saturday. And we’re having a big party on Sunday to celebrate, with lots of family, friends and neighbors expected. I am so excited I can hardly get my work done!
Of course, I wish I could keep my house this clean all the time. “If everybody would just pick up after themselves there’s no reason why it can’t stay like this,” I’ll say to whoever is listening. Problem is, I’m just as guilty as anybody else, letting things begin to pile up a few short days into trying to keep up with the clean.
But I’m not going to worry about that now. Instead, I’m going to enjoy the company of family and celebrate our son’s accomplishment — from our nice clean house!
I must admit that this past year I’ve gotten a bit lazy about fixing weeknight dinners. After all, there were only three of us left in the house. But now that a fourth has returned from college, and a fifth is expected back in another week, I’m feeling pressure to put a nice dinner on the table.
It’s something I used to do with regularity, but I’m having a hard time getting back into the habit. Remember those lists I talked about in an earlier blog? Well, somehow I always forget to add “take meat out of freezer” or “marinate chicken before leaving for work” to the list. The result? Staring into the cupboards, freezer and refrigerator — usually between 6:30 and 7 p.m. — and trying to come up with a creative way to turn the assorted items I see into a meal fit for a family — in 30 minutes or less.
In the past, when I’d say I had to get to the grocery store, my husband would sometimes chime in and say there was no need to shop, that we had plenty of food in the house. I used to wonder what he would say if I took that advice and served up a dinner of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, garbanzo beans and potato and cheese pierogies or shoestring fries — items that often can be found in my pantry or freezer.
Is it just middle-age catching up to me? Or do all moms lose their desire and creativity to pull together a dinner after getting home from work? In a perfect world, the kids would have had dinner ready when my husband and I got home from work. And sometimes, they did. But often, they were busy with their after-school activities and weren’t getting home until later themselves.
I still enjoy cooking, of course, but prefer it when I have more time and can cook at a leisurely pace, sipping wine as I work. I’d rather do it on my own terms, without the ever-present dinner deadline.
In the meantime, I’ll try to answer that age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”