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10 Ways I’m Surviving the Teens

I’m not really sure what everyone is complaining about when it comes to having teens in the house. They are joys and help me learn and grow and become a better person in Jesus. I just turn on the Holy Spirit and it’s like Joyce Meyers on steroids round here. 

I’ve decided that having teenagers is akin to turning on one of those giant car vacuums. Except instead of using it to clean out your car, it gets attached to your body, and all your insides get sucked out.

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Until you’re left starting the morning feeling like this:

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And you end the afternoon looking like this:

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And then you get ready for bed with this tape playing in your brain:

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I’m fully aware that it’s not my job to make my kids happy. In fact, the more I give, the more unhappy they are. Too much does not breed contentment. It breeds entitlement. And while I aim to listen to my kids and not judge, the truth is that often I hear them complain about all the things they are not getting compared to some of their friends and family members (trips to Europe, extra curricular classes, new clothes, park passes).  I am getting to the point where it’s time to put the hammer down. They don’t need more stuff. They need more chores. (Yup, I’m going there.)

The trick for me, when it comes to getting off the rat wheel of, “Am I doing an adequate job with these kids?” is to engage in the following. It’s helps me so much. I’d love to hear your tips, too!

10 Ways to Be Around Teens Without Wanting to Stab Your Eyes Out

  1. Building Adults: I remind myself it’s not my job to give them everything. It’s my job to teach them how to be self-sufficient people so they can take care of themselves. (Yes, you have to do the laundry every Monday. Yes, you have to take the trash out every Tuesday. No, I’m not giving you an award for your mediocrity. Thank you have a nice day buh bye.)
  2. Talk to Others: When I share with others my insecurities about not providing enough “fun” for my kids, I feel better. “Oh, you can’t give your daughter a 24,000 dollar education at a private hippy school either? Phewww! Let’s slum it together at public school in a nice zipcode like inner city mall rats!” (I am very lucky. I know it. My kids don’t yet.)
  3. Stay in Gratitude: When I remind myself of all the amazing things they do do for others – when they are not being self-centered and pestering me for cash to get our ridiculously entitled pitbull fancy dog training to keep from massacring small rodents and cats- I stop being so hard on both them and me.
  4. Give Myself a Break: Every day I spend $3.00 on a Starbucks Americano for myself. Yes, that’s $80 a month. It’s a lot. But it’s mental health. I don’t buy fancy clothes, haircuts or even skincare. I’m worth this luxury. It’s not about the taste alone. The cup, subconsciously, shows my kids that I feel I’m worth spending some cash on when they don’t often see that.
  5. Remember I’m Important! Along the lines of #4, I need to remember that I matter. It’s not just about serving my kids. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.
  6. Model Good Behavior: It’s not all about me all the time (who knew?). I make sure to reach out to others every day and ask how they are. It takes me out of myself and gives my world perspective.
  7. Get Comfy with Change: Kids change. Life changes. It’s supposed to be this way. I can hold onto the past forever, but it’s not going to make a very fun present, and certainly not pave the way toward a new future.
  8. Take Time for Myself: Every day I take some time away and read. I’m actually starting to journal again, too. Sure, most people might not take Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz” to Loews and sit in the patio section. But for me, it’s a break from my house. It’s a way to stay cool. And it’s a place full of beautiful lights, plants and furniture. It makes my “everything is perfect” portion of my brain light up. (Especially when life is far from perfect.)
  9. Let Go: I start every day with a list of things I can’t control. It sounds like I’m in victimhood, but I assure you, it’s to remember that there’s only so much I can do. I can’t change my son’s tics sometimes, or my daughter’s attitude, but I can write it on the list and then give it to God to handle for me. PS: This works out well because not only does my son not want me to care about his tics, but my daughter also doesn’t need me bowing down to her hormones. Just like my willingness to give my problems to a God bigger than me, I am not my daughter’s God. She needs to learn to self-soothe on her own sometimes. (And so do I.)
  10. Pray: This is the most important thing on my list. If I don’t pray, I’m a mess. I have seen over and over that God can heal what I can’t change. He might not heal the circumstances, but he can change my perspective on how to handle them. God is my rock (and my salvation) and someone who I know loves me no matter what. “Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

And God loves you, too. (Even if your teenagers do not.)

What Would You Add to the List?

How’s teen life in your home? If you don’t have teens yet, what do you think of my list? If you’ve had them, I’d love your input!

Until next time…

Andrea

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Can You Admit a Mistake to Your Teens? I’m About To.

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You know, I always kind of thought I knew what I was doing with this parenting thing. And then I had teenagers. And it went out the window.

It’s been a week since “The 24-hour/Sit on the Couch/ My Mother is a Horrible Human Being/Laundry Boycott/Summer 2017 Manifesto.”  Since that time, a LOT has changed. And much of it has to do with my thinking. What I’ve learned is that sometimes, as parents, the hardest thing to do is realize that we’ve made a mistake – and one in particular in our home is so gigantic that it’s turning our family dynamic completely upside down.

Post Recently Revised

When I first posted this, I went into specifics about what those dynamics were. I will again, but for now, it’s not really appropriate. (Annoying fact: My kids never read this blog – heck, they haven’t even read my book all the way through – why should I care? Plain and simple – because they aren’t babies anymore. I can’t just write what I want and post embarrassing photos and changes they aren’t even aware of. All parties need to be talked to first. On one hand, this is very annoying. On another, it’s called respect. I owe them that.)

 

The Power Struggle is Real

Someone I trust called me out on my dilema a few days back. I had mentioned to him that I was going to sleep at the neighbor’s house one night a week just to get 8 hours of sleep based on current living arrangements. To me, this seemed brilliant. To him? Not so much. Forgive me, Christian readers, for quoting my friend exactly. when he responded, “Are you FUCKING insane?”

To which I replied, “I’m not aware of that. No.”

To which he went on to prove wrong.

“You’re so used to giving away your power you don’t even realize that you’re living like a trapped animal. Tell the kids you made a mistake. That the way things are set up in the home currently causes too much discord. That there is no room for peace, love and tolerance.”

Me: (horribly guilt ridden)”They are going to Freak. Out.”

Him: “They will get over it. And when they see you and your husband calmer and more of a team they will, on the inside, jump up and down for joy. For you, my friend, will be stepping up as a parent – a parent who does the hard thing in the long run even when it hurts in the short term.

We Are Not the World’s Perfect Couple

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I admit it. We struggle like everyone else (sometimes more – sometimes less). But one thing we do not struggle on is giving our kids a solid place in a home that is structured fairly. I’m grateful that Rex and I are willing to team up on this, bring our lives back in balance, and love our kids enough to rip their delusions from them  admit we made an error in judgement last year with one decision.

I’ll let you know what we decide. Wish us luck.

Do Your Kids Have Too Much Power?

I really want to know. Do you do over indulge your kids without realizing? (Note: I really want to give my kids better enrichment classes. I’m not talking about education – I’m talking about arrangements in your family dynamics that put them above you or your partnership which could, potentially, harm them long term.)

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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On The Couch: Mystery Monday #3

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Today was a day from hell.

It started with one of my kids’ continued refusal of chores which shall hereto be known as “The 24-hour/Sit on the Couch/ My Mother is a Horrible Human Being/Laundry Boycott/Summer 2017 Manifesto.”

Other than informing said child they had until 5 p.m. to either get necessary work done or I would be throwing out their clothes myself… and if they still did not do them by tomorrow I would be disassembling their bed so I could have a room to myself (oh and I might also be giving the dog away in a week since I can’t handle undone dog poo on top of undone laundry) I  remained very very VERY calm.

Minus the screaming match with my spouse in the kitchen.

Which turned into me driving to Hollywood to meet a friend… alone.

Note: Child’s sibling didn’t want to go with me to Hollywood because they needed “More than a day’s notice” which was just as fine with me. (Rabbit trail: Finding out I was pregnant with them unexpectedly thanks to a leftover 99 Cent Store pee stick didn’t exactly give me very much notice one surprising summer…. but I digress.)

Guilt about leaving my children with nothing to do on a Monday faded into the Malibu sunset when I reasoned they could find lunch within the couch cushions that my one child remain prostate on. (Lord knows there was plenty of carbs, half eaten granola bars and crackers left with the chores not done.)

After a long ride to Hollywood where I ruminated on everything from my ineffective parenting, 17 years of marriage and the fact that L.A. drivers maneuver the roads like drunks on doobage, my friend never ended up being able to meet me because the parking was so bad.

Which resulted in me driving through traffic back towards home.

Except I didn’t want to go home what with the boycotting and the overall hating of me.

So I drove to my old stomping grounds for tacos instead.

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(It’s pretty impossible to be in a bad mood with surfers, homeless people, Hollywood writers and happy lights.)

A full and very happy belly later I walked across the street to the beach.

This move worked out smashingly if I do so myself, for when I sat in the sand, I looked up to my left and there I saw an incredible rainbow in the sky. (Look closely at photo on top of page!)

Odd or God?

I’m sure it was just that time of day….the way the sun hit the clouds at just the right moment… but the closest I’d seen to a rainbow in these here parts was the West Hollywood Halloween Parade. I’m just going to assume that my higher power put it there to remind me that there is hope.

That I am never alone.

That end even in times of darkness where I don’t know what to do there’s color, beauty, joy and radiance that transcends my understanding. For that, I’m so grateful.

The Takeaway (Besides leftover fish tacos?)

Sometimes the only thing to do is nothing. It is there, with that beautiful empty space, that I can move out of the way and let God make His magic.

PS: Big thanks to Tuscany who afforded a generous ear to the play-by-play drama which is my life with teenagers.

Thanks also to Valerie Coulman, a generous writer and friend who I met at the Southern California Christian Women’s Conference. While I stuffed my face with extra fries we laughed and prayed together and realize just how strong we are – especially when we don’t take ourselves so seriously.

Leave a Comment

Let me know about anything cool that happened to you this Monday. Let’s connect!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Teenagers. Detaching with Love. And Tacos.

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You might notice less cute pictures these days on my blog. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. My kids aren’t that cute anymore. They are teenagers.
  2. These teenagers don’t want to be photographed and put online anymore. They are certain some predator will track them down and kidnap them.  I try to tell them that no one but me would take the time to put up with their half done chores or pull vegetarian recipes out of my butt for dinner because they’re more worried about saving chickens and cows than their library book reminders, but I digress.
  3. I’m too tired from waking up at midnight thanks to them stomping around upstairs, to bother with a camera.

I’d like to say that I’m my cheerful self, despite the challenges of raising two kids, one of who is 6’3, 14, and eats more food than a baby cow. I’d like to say that balancing a day job, a little book marketing, some freelance gigs and the occasional conference doesn’t throw me for a loop. But nope. This about sums it up.

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And yet…

Here’s the deal.

When I get cranky, like I did in my last post, it reminds me that I’m not Super Woman. It reminds me that I need to pull my drooling head off my chest and remember that it’s not what my kids do but who they are that’s most important. This means me – their imperfect, sucks at cooking, over commits, running late mother gets to breathe life into them. Not just on Christmas or birthdays – but every day. I can be boring and angry (and sometimes I am) or I can choose to be playful and encouraging (which is what I strive for.. but not yesterday. Yesterday? #epic fail.)

Bottom line: Fun is everything. If I can’t have fun with the little things – like dancing in the kitchen to Maroon 5’s “Sugar” while neighbor kids stare at my wooden spoon microphone and wonder if I’m adding doobage to the cilantro – then I won’t have fun with the big things.

My kids are growing up… fast. I better enjoy it while I can… because the hard stuff… the “Oh My GOD you’re keeping me awake AGAIN” stuff is the stuff I’ll miss in … gulp… four years… when they are out of the house.

Or, let’s face it, still in the house. (My kids are not like other L.A. kids. They don’t take music and language classes. They aren’t winning sports trophies or modeling for The GAP. They  specialize at cracking jokes, begging for snacks and getting a degree in Sarcasm 101.)

I’d say I feel like a bad mom. And sometimes I do. But most days – even when I’m wondering what the hell I’m doing – I have to admit…

I adore ’em.

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The top note from my daughter reads: “Doing chores is doing something, relaxing is doing something, therefore relaxing is doing chores.”

The bottom note from my son reads: “Insert clever comeback here!”

Until next time,

And eat tacos. They always help.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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