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10 Things Moms of Teen Boys Must Know



My favorite blog post last year came from a kindred spirit, and someone I truly believe is living the same life as me, albeit just a few years behind.  Rita Templeton, also a mom of four boys, and blogger over at Fighting Off Frumpy wrote an absolutely hilarious piece titled "10 Things Boy Moms Must Know"  As I read each point  I literally found myself yelling out “AMEN! Yes! Preach it mama! TRUTH!”  and when it ended at number 10, I slumped in my chair. Keep going! You have only scaled the tip of the testosterone iceberg!   Then it hit me- she hasn’t experienced the teenage boy. Well holy AXE spray, zit cream, and hairy legs, I. AM. THERE.  I am treading water in the teen angst cesspool (also known as their bedroom) desperately gasping for sanity,  in male adolescent hormone infested waters. Waters that run deep, wide, smart-mouthed, and scruffy chinned. Where dirty boxer shorts,  crumbled up and forgotten homework assignments,  lost ear buds, sweaty socks, and junk food wrappers are forever afloat. Unfortunately, these waters do not come with a lifeboat. (Honestly, I don’t need a lifeboat, I need a pressure washer and a bullhorn but we will get to that in a sec.) Don’t get me wrong, my teenagers are great kids, they do well in school, are witty, empathetic, amusing, and are actually growing into really cool adults. But there are minutes, days, sometimes weeks where I -in teen terms-  like, TOTES. CAN’T. EVEN.  wrap my mind around their behavior. 




I wish someone would have told me...........




1. Everything will smell.

Their car. Their closet. Their bathroom. Their bedroom. The hallway that leads to their room. It will be a funky, sweaty, noxious, musty, foul, deodorant soap covered perspiration,  “I am no longer a little boy” type of odor. No candle, plug in, floral spray, or wax melt comes even close to touching it,  so stop trying. When they move out, painting the room and replacing the carpet may help. (MAY.)

2. They will suddenly want to wash their own sheets. 

They will bounce down the stairs with all of their bedding wrapped up in a tiny ball, duck into the laundry room,  and out of nowhere suddenly want to start the washing machine with no help.  Don’t ask. Don’t help. Don’t acknowledge. Move on mom. This doesn’t involve you. Just a boy and his dreams.

3. There is no frustration greater than teaching the male brain how to drive.

I’m almost done teaching my second son how to drive. I’ve got chewed up cuticles, severe hair loss, and a prescription to reduce heart palpitations to prove it. No matter how cautious, careful, and smart of a driver they appear to be, and even with mom riding shotgun, dents will happen. So will things like, “Does yellow happen before or after green?” and "Is 65 the FASTEST I can go?" Shoot. Me. Now.

4. When not sleeping, they are eating.

Ever wake up at 3 am to what sounds like raccoons in your kitchen digging through the garbage for food?  Folks at Costco finally give you your own parking spot up front? Then you get it. I live in  “Never Enough Burritos” land.  Someone please invent a pepperoni pizza patch that I can slap on their arms that will offer 24 hour continuous nourishment. 

5. When not eating, they are sleeping.

Never, ever, EVER did I think when I had a house full of babies that woke everyday before sunrise that I would ever sleep in again.  But teens? They SLEEP THE HELL IN!!  Like until NOON. Comatose almost. Not gonna lie, it’s freakin' awesome. Awesome until they have to wake up at the crack of dawn, like, say, for school. Then you are totally screwed.  Invest in a bullhorn, and pray for Saturdays. 

6. They will take risks.

Big ones. Mind numbing ones.  Risks that your shy, overly cautious, hesitant little boy would never take.  (Personally, I think the part of the brain that kept him wary and watchful is now controlled by images of boobies and butts, but who knows.)  Basically, boy brains are fearless, reckless, and sense zero consequence. If you’ve ever uttered the words  “Not my kid” take it back. Take it back right effing NOW. Trust me.


6. They think they know everything. 

Yes, that cliche is true, and they will actually say this to your  face. I literally recorded mine saying it to me. Even he laughed.  This brazen way of thinking must  somehow be a survival mechanism. Perhaps if they had an authentic grasp of adulthood and what real life will throw at them someday, they may not even want to reach 18. Let’s just allow them to keep thinking they know everything. Why ruin the party?


8.  They will not want to hug much anymore. 

Like ever. But keep trying. You will become the physical form of kryptonite, and when they see you with your arms outstretched they may run away in horror. Keep trying anyway. Because out of the blue one day they will toss their arm around your shoulder and give a squeeze, a grin, and say “I love you mom.” (It may only occur when your trunk is full of Doritos and Cheez-Whiz but hey, take what you can get.) They may seem aloof and un-wanting of your affection, but don’t believe it. They want it. Hug when and if you can.

9.  Showers. All day. Every day.

Go ahead and buy the low flow shower head on their 13th birthday, as it will save you about $500 a year. Kids you previously had to  beg, bribe, and literally chase down and throw into the shower now spend one fourth of their entire day in there. And yet, still #1.  Washing diligently? Probably not, but just don’t be that mom who knocks and cracks an embarrassing joke. Just don’t. 

10. You thought your newborn grew overnight?  You won’t believe these spurts. 

The mere fact that these boys that I have to crane my neck and look UP to now used to fit in the football hold under my arm is mind boggling. But it happens. And it does so at warp speed.  They will go to bed one night with the voice of a Vienna Choir boy and walk out the next morning Pavarotti. Pants that one day you have to roll up will be capris the next. We have skipped three whole shoe sizes at one time. Must have something to do with #4. In the blink of an eye you will go from holding the soft padded hands of a little boy to holding a hand that feels like your husband’s.  Your boys will become men right before your eyes. And if you must know ONE thing, it’s pretty darn cool raising men.  




You Won't Believe How Fast It Goes Now






I remember everything about that morning. The breakfast, the getting dressed in the tiny navy shorts and uniform polo, tying his shoes, packing his favorite  lunch foods in the Blue’s Clue’s lunchbox.  I remember the sad drive there, and thinking silently in my head, “Is he going to be ok there all day? What if he just wants to come home? His teacher doesn’t know any of his likes and dislikes! What if he cries?”

That was 14 year ago, on my oldest son’s first day of kindergarten.  I was nervous, hesitant, excited,  yet leery.  I was holding his hand, my three year old’s hand, and squeezing my swollen pregnant belly through the classroom door.  I was having that surreal moment that every mom has on their first child’s first day of school. I said with disbelief out loud, “How did this happen so fast?” Another mom overheard me. She too had a son starting kindergarten, but also had older children in school. Together, we watched the  five year old miniature soldiers march into the classroom, and I said it again, “I can’t believe how fast that went. He was just born.”  She shook her head and raised her eyebrows, smiled, then sighed, ready to impart some been there done that wisdom on this first time school mom.

“If you think that was fast, you won’t believe how fast it goes by now.”

I will never forget that moment, or how that simple sentence has lived up to its magnitude tenfold. It’s as if the second they cross the threshold into school, childhood shifts into warp speed. I  have since spoken it myself to other first time school moms. And every fall, on the first day of every school year, I too shake my head now in disbelief,  then sigh and wonder how this happened. How does time metamorphosize itself like that, all at once passing painfully slow and then passing painfully fast? Where was all that time that spanned and then magically transported our children faster and faster into adulthood? How did we spend those school years?

We spent it making pancakes and wiping counters, folding pajamas and cleaning skinned knees. We spent it making Halloween costumes and hiding Easter eggs, watching endless baseball innings, soccer games, and 5 hour rounds of youth golf. We spent it glueing shoebox projects, signing permission slips, and changing soiled bed sheets. We spent it packing sleepover bags, athletic equipment bags, and lunch bags. And we spent it yearning for the school year to just hurry up and end, because we were exhausted and eager for summer break, only to find ourselves three months later, totally exhausted, and yearning for the school year to hurry up and start again. 

Next week my little boy*, who I hesitantly dropped off at kindergarten 12 years ago, will get in his car,  and together with that  three year old (now 14) they will drive off to high school. They will leave at 7 a.m., and return 12 hours later after classes and sports. I like to think of it as warp speed weaning in a sense, because for now they are out of my reach 12 hours day, but in two years, that little boy will be away at college, and then out of my reach for weeks, maybe months at a time. Ouch.

I will help out next week at the elementary school’s annual “Boo-Hoo Breakfast” for kindergarten moms that is held on the first day of school. I will pour  hot coffee and serve blueberry muffins to nervous new school moms, and I will watch them shake their head in disbelief, and mumble to themselves, “How did this happen?”  I will hang back in the shadows, and at one point I will find myself talking to an older mom, whose child just graduated college and started his very first job.  I will lament that my teenagers are driving me crazy, and I cannot imagine my 16 year old, who most mornings can’t find his pants, actually being a college graduate and joining the ranks of society as an adult. She will shake her head and raise her brows, smile, sigh, and say, “If you think high school is going by fast, the college years pass by faster than you can say keg party. Just. You. Wait.”  I am genuinely frightened at how right she may be. 

*As of August 2016, that little boy is now a college freshman. GAH!!






11 of Summer's Must Read New Books



It’s summertime readers!  Are you ready to relax, hit the beach, put down your phone, and pick up a nice new book? Great! Because this summer’s newest book releases from your favorite authors and some fresh debut titles will have you lounging in your beach chair for hours on end devouring each and every word, while ignoring each and every iPhone ding. Whether you fancy psychological thrillers, contemporary fiction brain candy, chick lit, historical fiction, or even a steamy page turner, there is something for everyone on this list. 






Perhaps the most anticipated release this summer, Moriarty is at her finest in this keep you guessing multi-family drama surrounding a tragic event at a casual neighborhood barbecue. You will not soon forget this cast of troubled yet very likable characters, and the relationships that both bind and nearly destroy them. 




First class chick lit as well as a love letter to New York, this delightful charming story around the happenings of one little black dress and the women who wear it is a sweet, simple, satisfying, and cheeky summer read. You'll want to dig your little black number out of the closet and play along.




If you loved “A Man Called Ove,” you will be happy to know Backman’s latest is just as good. A heartfelt story including a keen description of one woman’s OCD, this novel is both funny and starkly real, and you'll quickly fall in love with its varied and lovable cast of characters. 




Gone Girl fans rejoice! This wickedly written psychological thriller will keep you up late into the night. Forever twisting and turning, this novel will take you down a spinning and gripping rabbit hole of jaw dropping “I didn’t see that coming” moments. 





The steamiest one of the bunch, this light erotica is intelligently and beautifully written, and boasts a cast of characters that actually have depth and are relatable. This deep yet delicious debut will get you warm in all the right places.  If you long shied away from this genre, give this one a try. You won’t be sorry.  




Two rocky marriages and one trip to Italy form the basis of this sharply written and suspenseful novel that digs deep into the intricacies,  paradoxes, and secrets of married  life. Booklist describes it as a “bewitching take on relationships—marital, parental, casual, and serious—in this read-in-one-sitting, escapist escapade with a message.” A heavy, edgy,  and thought provoking novel. 




Green, a NYT bestselling author, is back at it with this story of a young woman’s journey from leaving home to finding herself, and ultimately discovering who she is and what she wants out of life. Set in the backdrop of busy Manhattan and then small town Connecticut, Green’s version of the struggles befalling contemporary women is both warm and intelligent. This is a tall glass of cold lemonade on a hot day.





Fans of historical fiction this needs to be your go to summer indulgence.  Set half in the late 1800s and half in modern day California, this coming of age story for two women linked by a tragedy is a fascinating tale that manages to seamlessly stay woven together. 



A Library Journal starred review that states,  “Reading this novel is a test of how fast you can turn pages,” this debut novel will have fans of Girl on the Train relieved to have found another compulsively readable and unpredictably delicious  book to devour. 




If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading Ann Leary, you’ve been missing out on some very special storytelling. Her latest is no different, and is filled with dark humor, layers of edgy prose, and  is fast paced enough to be the perfect vacation read.






Chicago Sun Times has called Giffin a “Modern day Jane Austen” because of her ability to write with ease the inner feelings and emotions of both a female protagonist and antagonist. Here she does it exceptionally well, with a sweeping story of the bonds between two sisters who are worlds apart, yet find they need each other more than they ever knew. Giffin fans will not be disappointed.

















Stop BLAMING Parents for Accidents. Please.

Parents, I beg of you, stop blaming and shaming other parents.

35 years ago, a mom shopping in a Sears department store went to go look at lamps, and left her six year old with another group of boys, who were all trying out the new Atari game at a kiosk. That boy’s name was Adam Walsh.

30 years ago, an 18 month old toddler playing in her aunt’s backyard fell into a well. Rescuers worked nonstop for 58 hours, finally freeing “Baby Jessica” from the well.

In both cases a tragedy happened, an unforeseen tragic accident took place which left Adam  dead, and a toddler fighting for her life deep underground. But they also has something else in common; they had an entire  country of moms and dads supporting the grieving parents. 

Let me repeat that, EVERYONE SUPPORTED THE RESCUE EFFORTS WITHOUT BLAME. NO BLAME. None. ZERO. 

No questions asked, not one single “Where were the parents?” comment. Just a country of other moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas watching in horror as a set of parents, one of their own, went through the unthinkable. Adam was our son. Jessica was our baby daughter. 

THOSE PARENTS WERE US. 

Flash forward to 2016, the year of THE PERFECT PARENT. 

Yesterday, a two year old boy, splashing in the magical lakefront waters of a Disney Resort, succumbed to the wilds of mother nature. An aggressive alligator scooped him out of the water, right under the watch of his father, who attempted to fight with the alligator to free his baby son. Pure horror. Sheer Terror. Parents who actually had to watch their baby be taken from them, as if they were in some African nature documentary. 

A tragic and unforeseeable accident. An accident. 

I weep for this mother and father. I am sick with anguish for the pain, agony, misery, and regret pulsating through their viens this very second. And I bet you are too. 

But not everyone is. 

You see, we now live in a time where accidents are not allowed happen. You heard me. Accidents, of any form, in any way, and at any time, well, they just don’t happen anymore. 

Why? Because BLAME and SHAME. 

Because we have become a nation of BLAMERS and SHAMERS. 

And how are accidents allowed to happen if we can’t blame someone? Surly, they can’t, right? I mean, random acts of nature, unpreventable tragedies, and fateful life changing events that take place in a matter of nanoseconds cannot possibly take place if everyone is being a responsible parent, right? NOPE.

They can’t,  because this country and its population of perfect pitchfork carrying mothers and fathers sitting behind keyboards needs to accuse. They NEED TO BLAME, to disparage, to criticize in every damn way and at every damn corner, the parenting of another. 

And when do they really get to lick their blaming chops? When a tragic accident happens.  That’s when the pouncing is at its freshest, when raw emotion and ignorance collide, and they dig their word claws in, and take hold of whatever grace these grieving mothers and fathers have left in their souls. 

And then they tear it out. 

Listen to me very clearly perfect parents, VERY CLEARLY. 

I’VE HAD ENOUGH.

 I’ve had enough of scrolling through comment threads and seeing over and over again questions like “Where were the parents?” and thoughts like, “This is what happens when you don’t watch your kids.”  

I have simply HAD ENOUGH. 

I have one question for the blaming and shaming moms and dads. You know the ones who immediately  blame the parents, the ones who go on the internet and type comments like, “This is nothing but neglect by the parents,” and  “They should have known better. Who was watching that little boy?”  and my favorite, “I would never let that happen to my kid.”

Here is my question, 

Have you ever been to a child’s funeral before? 

I have.

The funeral of a child is an event in life that you never, ever want to experience. 

Now let me ask you another question.

In the coming week these parents will fly back to their home in Nebraska without one of their children. They will leave a vacation resort, packing up his Buzz Lightyear pajamas and his favorite blanket, and they will make an excruciatingly difficult journey home. A journey that they never in a million years thought they would be making. 

They will meet with a funeral director, pick out a tiny casket, a tiny burial suit, and surrounded by family,  they will bury their baby boy. 

And they will suffer every single day for the rest of their life. 

At the funeral for this two year boy who died in front of his parents, can you do me a favor? Can you walk up to the mother and say the words that you just typed out last week? Can you? Can you greet her, hug her, shake the father’s hand and then say, “ Who was watching that little boy? You should have known better. I would never let that happen to MY child.”

Can you do that for me? I mean, you felt those words so deeply in your heart and soul that you typed them for a million people to read. 

Certainly you can say it straight to the faces of  the people you meant it for, right?

Here, let me help you. 

Put away your pitchfork for a moment and try this.

To the mother and father who went for a walk on vacation for the last time with their little boy yesterday, I am deeply sorry that you had to experience the worst kind of tragedy possible, an accident. I grieve with you. Your baby was my baby. Your son was my son. I have nothing but love for you,  love to help you get though the pain yesterday, today, and for what is gonna seem like a thousand tomorrows. I wrap my thoughts  and prayers around your aching heart and soul. May the God of this universe in some miraculous  way bring peace to you and your family.  

That is what you say. THAT. And just THAT. 

Stop the blaming. 

Stop the shaming. 

In their darkest hours, can we please just LOVE other parents. Please?

Because Childhood Summers Go By Way Too Fast


This Summer...


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