Blog Posts by Manic Motherhood

  • Parenting Fails, According to a Teenager

    Now that my son is a fully-fledged teenager in high school and everything, he's starting to be annoyed by me. I don't understand why. I mean, I was once a teen myself, and I'm sure I'm a lot less annoying than my mom ever was. Of course, Junior doesn't believe me. If you ask him, I was born an adult, ready to become a parent just so I could fulfill my lifetime goal of embarrassing my kid. And grandma? Oh, she rocks. How could she not? She lives 1800 miles away and gives him cool presents.

    Anyway, to prepare for his descent into the teenage years, I have been reading tons of books on the subject. I have to say they're pretty dang depressing. Even worse, the books all indicate that I've already failed as a parent and I should just start saving for Junior's therapy because he's going to need it. In fact, my failures at parenting include, but unfortunately are not limited to, the following:

    1. I have had the utter and complete nerve to humiliate my son by speaking to him in public.
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  • User post: How to awaken a teenager

    When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny, cute, little baby in your arms will someday grow up to be a teenager. Oh sure, we all expect it to happen, but seriously, are any of us fully prepared for the teen years?

    No, we aren't. Or at least, I'm not. And that's why I'm reaching out, helping others to survive the turbulent years we call the teens. Okay fine. I'm complaining and venting, but really…is there a difference?

    One of the first things you notice as your child morphs into a teenager is sleep. They do it all the time. I swear some days my teen sits at the breakfast table, eyes fully open, shoveling food in his mouth and all the while he's totally asleep. Turns out teens need lots and lots of sleep. Which isn't the problem.

    But waking them up? That's the problem. Seriously. I'd rather wake up a bear two days before hibernation ends than wake up a teenager in the morning.

    Waking a teen is dangerous. It requires you to go into the teen's

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  • Why yes, I am covered in poop. And here's why.

    "Some days you are the statue, some days you are the pigeon."

    The meaning of life, according to Manic Motherhood

    I don't suppose you've ever heard my favorite saying? Or maybe you have. But that? That's my favorite saying. Unfortunately, I've been spending a lot of time lately being the statue-which I must say is not nearly as fun as being the pigeon. Also, it's a lot smellier.

    All of this I blame on my teenager. Because I can. Also because a very nice reader emailed me to let me know that scientists have discovered that during puberty teens only use part of their brains. And apparently, the part they use is pretty darn useless.

    To those scientists I say, "duh." I live with a teenager. I know he's only using part of his brain-and not even the good parts. I didn't need a study to tell me that. If you ask me that study was a waste of money. I would have told all those scientists about the lack of a brain in my teenager's head for free. And so would most of the moms I

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  • Parenting Guru: One Hot Family Tradition

    Every family has traditions-whether it's Friday night pizza or helping at a soup kitchen, we all have something we love to do with our families.

    Well, every family except mine, of course.

    Oh, don't get me wrong. My husband, teenage son and I enjoy our summer movie nights, where we lounge in the backyard watching DVDs and try to keep the dogs from scarfing down popcorn. In fact, we're good on those traditions. It's the holiday ones we don't handle well.

    photo © Andrejs Pidjass

    We've never met a holiday we couldn't kill-or at least harm to the extent that we dread the holidays. Take the Mother's Day I caught my mother's kitchen on fire. Or the Thanksgiving the dog ate turkey drippings and threw up on our new carpet-for three days.

    But a funny thing happened once we took stock of our holiday disasters. We realized that we were trying too hard to be the perfect family, to have the perfect holiday traditions. So we made the holidays about our friends, our extended

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  • Teenage Wasteland? Or Just the Fridge?

    Now that Junior is a teenager I have discovered that teen boys do one thing really, really well.

    They can make food disappear in seconds.

    Oh, sure, Junior and his friends have always been healthy eaters. But now that Junior is in high school, the amount of food consumed in our home is staggering. Sadly, it's not like I wasn't warned about this happening. I was. My husband used to tell tales of drinking entire cartons of milk after swim practice. And eating whole boxes of instant oatmeal for breakfast. And a honeydew melon at snack time.

    But I totally dismissed that as exaggeration. Why wouldn't I? I grew up with all sisters. It's not like we were dainty little princesses or anything, but we didn't eat like that. For pete's sake, only horses eat like that.

    I'm not kidding. I go to Costco. I buy milk. I put one gallon in the kitchen fridge and one gallon in the garage fridge (yes, I have two refrigerators, which is akin to having a neon sign that flashes "teenage boy

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  • How I Spent my Summer Vacation

    Summer is almost over-so I spent some time today tallying up my summer of 2010.

    I yelled 10,982 times for Junior to please shut the front door/windows/sliding glass door because the air conditioner was on and contrary to Junior's belief, we do not now nor have we ever owned any part of PG&E.

    I spent 5,675 minutes sitting by the pool getting splashed by kids despite my firm rule that if I'm not wearing a bathing suit, nobody can splash me. I spent 45 seconds sitting by the pool without anyone daring to put one drop of water on me.

    I played "horse" in the pool 393 times. I won "horse" 4 times. Junior cheated at "horse" 389 times.

    I cut approximately 24 watermelons into teenager-sized slices (which is approximately half a melon thanks to the phenomenon known as "growth spurts"). I also tossed away the rinds of approximately 24 watermelons after they were tossed on the lawn, in the rose bed, on the patio and basically anywhere in the backyard but the large garbage can

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  • Vacations with Grandma or How I Drove Myself Crazy

    Have you ever done something you know will be long, torturous and yet fun all at the same time? I have. I vacationed with my mother. I should have been warned when my Dad and husband suddenly had to "work" and couldn't possibly get away for a week with us. At the time, I figured they just wanted a vacation also-but a vacation from us.

    Turns out, I was right. Sort of.

    Day one of our weeklong travel odyssey to the wilds of Southern California began at Mom's place, loading the car. I swear this is the same woman who traveled across country with 3 children, 2 dogs and a husband in a 70's station wagon every summer of my childhood. We had nothing but food, a few cans of Fresca and my Dad's 8-tracks of Frank Sinatra to entertain us. If my sisters and I got antsy while sitting in the backseat crushed together for 8 hours a day, we poked each other until my Dad finally stopped the car and threatened to strap one of us to the roof until we reached our destination.

    Things have

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  • Teen Room or Hazardous Waste Site?

    If you have a teenager, you know love. Seriously, as the mom of a teen, I love the smart mouth, the stink, and the fact that he's now taller than me and thinks that makes him in charge. But what I really love is that my house can now be declared an official hazardous waste site.

    Yes, I am talking about Junior's bedroom.

    Seriously, this has to be one of the foulest places on the planet. I even looked it up on Wikipedia. To be declared a hazardous waste site, there are four requirements: flammability, reactivity, corrosivity and toxicity. Hello? Junior's room totally meets all of them. Look, at great personal danger to myself, I have gone into that room just to make sure.

    Take the flammability portion of the test. Every time I open the door I am assaulted by a curious smell that seems to be made up of farts, feet, Axe body spray, and dog. I can tell you that this is not a good combination. All attempts to mask the smell through use of deodorizer have sadly failed. Now, I'm

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  • Hurray for Sparklers!

    When I was a kid, the 4th of July was all about the sparklers. I didn't care about the hot dogs, the homemade fried chicken or even the potato salad. I didn't care about the huge block party we had every year. I didn't even care about decorating my bike for our parade-even though I was positive that Suzy, who was my rival for our mutual best friend Cherie, was going to have the best decorated bike that evening and thus, win the admiration of all, including Cherie. I didn't care about that-even though under normal circumstances I would have done my best to outdo Suzy.

    I didn't even care that this night was the only night that my mom let me stay up way past my bedtime because, as mom said, who wants to watch the firework displays during the day? None of that mattered to me. Not staying up late, not winning my best friend's sole affections, not even food.

    Nope. For me, it was all about the sparklers.

    I loved them. I couldn't get enough of them. When I ran out of my

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  • Happy Graduation, kiddo.

    "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

    - John Lennon

    I like June. I think June is a great month. It's filled with the promise of summer and picnics and weddings and graduations. It's like a party that happens every year. And every year, young people grow up, graduate and begin their lives, including my son, Junior, who is moving on to high school (yeah, it's totally killing me). Anyway as an official member of the not-so-young, I want to tell all those graduates the following:

    • Appreciate your youth. I know you won't. But as an old fart looking back, I can tell you that youth is truly wasted on the young. Seriously. If I had your body, your energy and your fearlessness along with my life experience I could conquer the world. So appreciate it. It doesn't come back, no matter what a plastic surgeon tells you.
    • Travel. If you have always wanted to see India, go there. I don't care if you have to put off an internship at the best company on earth. Go to
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