Today I’m coming to terms with the fact that my teenager has actually been listening me.



Last week I stood in line for a water ride with my 14-year-old daughter. I watched the two teenaged girls behind us chit-chat with each other and I strained to hear their conversation over the rushing water next to us.

Yes, I’m that crazy lady.

They both had their hair curled and full make up adorned their faces. Umm, we’re at a water park girls. Seriously.

They flipped their hair and maintained their most serious duck face lips. They were as cool as cool comes. Both girls had on the skimpiest bikinis that the hippest store had to offer and I think I smelled perfume. WATER PARK GIRLS, WATER PARK!

I looked over at my bare-faced, ponytail wearing daughter and actually chuckled. She was wearing JC Penny’s most fashionable tankini, blue with daisies all over it. I leaned in slightly to get a whiff of her just to see if maybe she had sprayed some body spray. Nope, just the sweet smell of chlorine.

She’s in high school.
High school kids are weird.
They are also super-duper cool, just ask them.

Standing there my daughter was the poster child for modesty and my heart jumped from my chest.


We finally let her add a few boys numbers to her phone this year and laid out our expectations that come with that responsibility. She added three boys and they are all boys we have known since she was in 1st grade. Good kids.

One boy that’s had a crush on her text her and ask if she could go have a smoothie with him at a place right at the end of our street. Her response:

“You know how my mom is and you are going to have to respect that”

I read the text (because that’s my responsibility) and I immediately broke out into the cabbage patch dance followed by the roger rabbit and then moon walked right out of her room with my hand in the air like Michael Jackson. She simply rolled her eyes at me and this time I was totally cool with it.

I laid in bed that night and repeated it over and over in my head.

“You know how my mom is and you are going to have to respect that”

(That’s me raising the roof and celebrating)

Today I let her meet the boy for a smoothie but she had to take a friend and so did he. They sat outside at a table I could see from my yard… not that I was spying or anything.

She was good, responsible and held herself with high standards and extreme modesty. She also updated me the whole time through texts.

I’ve been panicking for 14 years over this child.
I’ve been stressing about how she would handle teenage pressures.
I’ve been worried about her boy craze phase.

It just dawned on me that she’s actually been listening and taking mental notes. She’s been following the rules, obeying the wishes, respecting the parent laws.

I’m the one who hasn’t accepted my own parenting or had enough faith in myself that maybe I did something right with her. I’ve been waiting for a something, I have no idea what, that would be the big moment when I would know that I could trust her.

It’s not her, it’s me.

I have to trust myself. I have to accept that we will have fails but for the most part my little girl has been following my lead, listening to my instructions and jotting down life’s rules. There’s no doubt in my mind that I am in some way completely messing her up in some aspect of her life and one day she’s look at me and let me know that I totally screwed something up but for the most part she’s turning out to be a pretty awesome young lady.  Today I’m going to allow myself to take some credit for that.

It’s time for me to accept that my teenager has actually been listening to me and that maybe I’m not a total mess of a mother.

This parenting thing is weird. It looked so much easier when I was 14. Back then I could have told you the right way to do it. I’m not so sure there is a right way anymore. What I have learned is that you have to put some faith in yourself, model the behavior you expect from your child, be consistent, be a parent and not a best friend and don’t totally freak out when the almost man-child asks your daughter out for a smoothie.

My advice is to brush up on your cabbage patch, roger rabbit and moon walk, you’ll need them for the victory parenting moment.

4 thoughts on “Today I’m coming to terms with the fact that my teenager has actually been listening me.

  1. I was just wondering what your parent laws are on dating? I have two girls one almost 13 and one 17. Thankfully my 17 year old has not been boy crazy until now but she is slowly starting to show interest in boys. I don’t know if my rules are too much or not. Just thought I’d get another moms advice. Thanks in advance.

    • Teri, We didn’t allow boyfriends in grade school or middle school. We never really had a problem with it, she told us she didn’t want a boyfriend because she would eventually have to break up with him and that would be awkward. She’ll be a sophmore this year (15 years old) and there is a no car dating rule, no alone dating rule. She can go out in groups. We don’t allow her to go to a boys house and no boys in our house, although groups of friends, boys included, are allowed to come over and swim or hang out. The boys she likes goes to our church so she sees him often in group settings and is totally okay with that. We also have a rule that she is not allowed to ride in the car if a teenager is driving so that kind of eliminates car dating…at least for now that’s the rule.

  2. As a high school teacher let me say BRAVO. Not only have you set boundaries your daughter respects, you’ve taught her to be self-assured enough to set her own boundaries even in the face of possible rejection. You’ve taught her she does not have to follow the cool kids to be a cook kid.

    My niece is only 7, but I try to instill in her those same values (she gets flightiness from her mother). Not long ago, she was telling her father about some boys in her class she likes (she rides, so do they. She likes to mother. They need it. She has the world’s most affectionate dog. They don’t mind).

    My brother – he who fears female teenagery – says “You can’t have boy friends” only half joking. She says “They are boys who are friends. What do you want me to do, be friends with impractical girls?”
    My poor brother – doomed out of the gate by a daughter with six strong female role models. She’s skipping boys are gross and going right to boys are less complicated and don’t mind the manure on my shoes.”

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