When your Teenage Son Needs a Makeover

It’s been awhile since I first posted that the kids were going for so called make-overs.  As could have been anticipated, the girls new hair styles were a great success all around.  Em and Milla enthusiastically embraced the new looks, and everything that went with a grown up hair salon.

 

Win #1

Win #2

Win #3

Jake, on the other hand, was a pain in the ass.  In retrospect, I don’t know why I’m surprised.  What, 17 year old boy wants to go to a ladies salon to get their hair cut?  I know  it’s his “job” to resist, but jesus, I put a lot of planning and money into getting everyone to clean up their acts. The girls jumped at the chance, but not Jake.

The stylist didn’t help matters when she responded to my carefully curated photos of hairstyles: Oh, that’s too feminine. Let’s not have another Justin Bieber on our hands. 
I thought Jake was going to bust out of there then and there. His face turned beet red, and he was so uncomfortable he wouldn’t even look at me. When she was done cutting ONLY AN INCH AND A HALF OFF, Jake put his hat on and sullenly sat in the lobby until his newly styled sisters asked, did you do anything at all? Now granted, it might have had something to do with being a teenage boy in a mostly women’s hair salon, but regardless, it seemed slightly over the top.  He even refused to take a group photo with us.
Mom side note:  His pediatrician didn’t help matters when just days ago he told me (again helpfully shared in front of him):  Mom, hands off. If he wants to stink, let him stink. Let him wear what he wants, let him have his hair how he wants. His friends will tell him if it’s not cool enough. 
REALLY?  This is the wisdom of the experts?  Is this the modern version of Let Them Fail?  I think we’ve lost our minds.  Would his friends really tell him? More importantly,  if this is the look, is he hanging with the right crowd?
For this mom, the frustrating thing is he’s a good looking kid. But Jake’s years of self neglect has turned his hair into a long, stringy mop that he covers up with a trucker hat. It’s no wonder that some kid from school has called him a school shooter the other day.
So taking matters into my own hands, I forced him to return to the women’s salon, fully aware that one of two things could happen:  I take charge, insist on the cut and have him hate me and complain to his pediatrician next time—Or, all of the above, AND he hates me now, but thanks me later.

I’m not like this usually, but I’m glad I called the salon and scheduled the redo right on the heels of yesterdays mess-up. If any more time had passed, I’m sure I would’ve let it slide. The bonus? We got to spend a few extra hours hanging out and having a sort of inadvertent mom/son time together. And we realized on the spot that neither of us could remember the last time we just hung out, just the two of us.

Now that I’ve taken a stand, I wonder if it would be overkill to call the pediatrician and let her know how uncool it was to undermine me in front of the kid. I think the connection between the oldest kid and mom is an essential one. If that gets unraveled, the rest of the kids would follow suit, and I can’t have that happening. Jake is a year away from being an adult and on his own. I need us to cross the finish line together.

Power Trippin,

So Called Mom

When Life is TOO Much

I have raised my kids to rush from place to place and I only come to terms with it after I’ve found my sanity in the bottom of a bag of potato chips with my makeup running down my face. Call it a ritual at this point. I don’t stay this way of course, as I usually find myself taking advice from a five year old taking pity on me, covering me up with a too-small blanket and asking me to just take a break.

But I can’t just take a break. The world would stop spinning.

I live on a hamster wheel and there are times when I do stop but only if I spin out first.

Look, it’s no surprise that being a mom of 7 kids is chaotic and downright exhausting. And you can go ahead and say it: What did you expect? You brought this on yourself. 

But the alternative is what? A dull life? Sheer boredom? Living the same, day after day piloting two, maybe three kids? If the short end of the stick means that I occasionally experience the blunt force trauma of having a life of 7 kids catch up with me, then so be it. I wouldn’t want a normal life. I’m happy to not even know my freaking name by the end of the night; to be so tired that I sleep well—that means I’m happy right? And when I wake up and it’s a new day, I can get dressed knowing that I’m not fooling anyone—I’m not living a life that I really didn’t want. And I’m definitely not going through the motions. Going through the emotions, maybe, haha…but definitely not caring whether or not I’m coloring inside the lines with raising a family.

The thing that gets me through it all is being different—unconventional. Taking a traditional upbringing and turning it inside out. What does this build? Character? Self-awareness? Resiliency? I think yes to all the above. Our big family does not have a solid foundation—it is always moving; changing so much the concrete can’t set. As a result, someone is always unhappy, someone is always thrilled, or lucky, fulfilled, crying, feeling left out, or feeling too crowded. The list goes on, the emotions are always changing and sometimes just as fast as their ages.

 

To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t clone myself if I could, because even she wouldn’t get it right. I’d wind up firing her for fucking up, for not being me. There is no one else that could do this job. No one else probably would. But it’s all the same because it’s exactly who I am and I wouldn’t do any of it differently. These kids are a very different extension of who I am, of who I wanted to be and I’m so happy to see so many versions.

Crunch crunch crunch,

So Called Mom