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

Date Nights Work

As Pippin and I blurted out during yesterday’s mini-blog,

we haven’t had a proper date since the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

But yesterday we received some earnest money from the sale of our house, and while “date night” may not be at the top of most people’s priority list, it was on mine.

One thing Pippin rocks at is Dates, and how to make this tired mom of 7 feel like she’s the 25 year old with only three kids that he fell in love with.  He took me to my favorite restaurant, Departure, which is at the top of the Nines Hotel.  For those of you paying attention, Leopold was born in the corner suite on the 11th floor.
We got there early enough to savor a few cocktails at the bar and look into each other’s eyes the way we used to. All I cared about was cherishing the guy who knew intuitively how to keep our freak flag flying.  Usually there’s so much going on in our lives, I don’t have a moment to think about tomorrow…I’m so busy reacting to today. Managing nine people who are growing in new ways every day, selling a house without having another in sight, an unplanned vacation in a couple of weeks – everywhere I look are potential mine fields of stress.

But the best part about last night was none of that existed.

Don’t get me wrong – being in the moment, where it’s just the two of us, takes real effort.  It means shifting gears and forgetting I’m an entrepreneur, a wife and a mom. I’m talking about being good company, being present as a woman who is flirting with her man and even getting a little drunk. This way, when the bill comes, drinks and dinner don’t qualify as a tax write off—but as an aphrodisiac that holds us together until next time.
Look, I don’t pretend to be an expert at this. But if there’s anything I learned from finally finding Mr. Right (who also happened to be Mr. Third Times a Charm) and being able to stay with him for more than 10 years—it’s to pay close attention to each others needs. And that may include ordering a pizza or two and getting the hell out of Dodge on occasion.

Seeking that all important re-connection to your partner means reconnecting with who you are too. I tell myself often: At one point this was everything you wanted. And revisiting those feelings on a date that feels like the first one is very much reminding you that this was what you wanted. And it still is.
Head Over Manolos,
So Called Mom

We Sold the House! NOW WHAT?!

It might be rainy still in lovely little Portland, Oregon–but we are entering VACATION MODE!

We sold the house and it’s time to make a list, knock it out and hit the road to relaxation…..but only after we get our DATE NIGHT!!!!

We’re excited, to say the least–Do you have any idea HOW LONG it has been since our last date? The fact that we can’t remember is enough of a sign that it’s been an eternity.

Looks like we’ll just have to make up for lost time!

Off the hook as of RIGHT now,

So Called Mom

Blended Family Goodbyes Are Never Easy

Every week, part of my family breaks away.

Most of the kids in our family go back to their other parents’ house for a few days. Even though we’ve been doing this for 11 years now, it hasn’t gotten any easier. The ones that are left behind struggle a great deal with it, including me.

In this Mini-VLOG, I discuss the difficulty with having kids leave, while Leopold showcases his favorite pieces from my wardrobe (and helps me feel better).

It’s quiet around here,

So Called Mom