We are all in this parenting thing together, people. It takes a village … and an occasional glass of wine and large quantities of baked goods (especially when three daughters share the same “cycle," making you to want to relocate to the nearest Holiday Inn). Consequently, when someone shares a bit of wisdom or insight that's effective, I like to pass it on.
The Super Glue Theory
I am the mother of teens, so I am navigating my way through the land of flying hormones. I know things have changed since my upbringing, where basically my options were to remain a virgin until I marry or die. It saddens me that my daughters are force fed images that reinforce the message that all they have to offer is their sexuality. To reach “celebrity” status all you have to do is perform intimate acts on tape, get married on live TV (then file for divorce after 72 days), get pregnant with a new “baby daddy” (while waiting for the divorce to become final) and maintain your balance in stilettoes with perfectly lined lips. The cultural female role models offered to my teens such as Kim Kardashian and Snookie, motivated me to dish out the “Super Glue Theory” (SGT).
The SGT equates having sex to super gluing your fingers together; you can pry yourself free and move on, but healing is required. Do this several times and it can be downright painful. In theory, when you least expect it, someone amazing could appear on your radar screen. However, if you are wounded from continually being “stuck,” you could be too busy nursing your injuries and miss out.
The Mandy Code
I learned of the “Mandy Code” from a friend of mine and incorporated it into my “Keeping Sane Through the Teen Years 101” manual. Oscar Wilde was said to have uttered the phrase “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” It has been my personal experience that kids love to be unique as long as they are like everyone else. Therefore, the “Mandy Code” is the ideal way for a teen to leave a party and still “save face.” I told the girls to call me and say, “Mandy, do you want to go get some pizza?” or “Mandy, pick me up and we will hang out” if they needed to leave a party or situation. My first “Mandy” call came from my oldest child when she was a freshman. I jumped in the car with thoughts that I would be rescuing her from drugs, alcohol or some sexually assertive nightmare. She got in the car and I said, “Lauren, I know I told you that if you used the code, I would pick you up and not ask any questions … but, if you want to share … ” She replied, “Mom, they wanted to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I didn’t want to get freaked out.” Since then, I have gotten a few “upgraded code blue Mandy calls” and thank my good fortune to have included the “code” in my parenting playbook.
Get on the “Right Bus”
A dad, coach and all around “good guy” who I am acquainted with continually tells his sons to “Get on the right bus!" He also tells them that they are three bad decisions away from totally screwing up their life but I digress. His “Get on the Right Bus” motto hit a chord with me because my grandfather would quote Lincoln when he said, “Make sure your feet are in the right place, then stand firm.” This hands-on dad tells them he believes that they are intelligent enough to realize when they are heading in a bad direction. Actually, I’m paraphrasing. He advises that when they sense they are heading in a bad direction, at the very first stop to “GET THE HELL OFF!”
Parents have shared hundreds of helpful ideas with me and one of these days I vow to collectively organize and share their insights. In the meantime, I will try to keep my girls “unglued,” away from “Mandy” and on a bus heading toward a great future.