Mother of a Man-Child

My life with teenage boys

Season’s Greetings December 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 9:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

christmas tree
Season’s Greetings to all. Christmas has come and gone, and so too has Santa for another year. The presents have been opened, the lashings of food devoured, the wine savoured, all shared joyously with family and friends.

Now the real wind down begins, in the great Australian tradition, with a beach-side holiday. No doubt there will be a few stories to tell of the boys New Year’s Eve adventures, but for now dear readers I am taking a short break, as I hope you are, and recharging the batteries. That means time away from the laptop (and other devices), and therefore my blog.

Thank you for your continued readership of my blog during 2012, and I look forward to entertaining you with more man-child tales in 2013.


The Piercing – It’s Official December 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , ,

They say a picture paints a thousand words.  So here it is.


Yes, that’s right, man-child has done it.  He’s actually got an eyebrow piercing.  Now that he’s left school, and he’s 16 years old, he’s apparently allowed to, without needing parental permission.  No doubt he’ll fit right into trade school next year and the building sites in due course (yes I know I am painting a picture of a stereotypical tradie here, not necessarily an accurate one.  Apologies to my tradie friends who don’t have piercings).

As the man-child did warn me the other day, and Father of a Man-Child had actually told me he’d had it done, I was pretty calm by the time I actually saw it.  Father of a Man-Child, on the other hand, was not.  He insisted it be removed ahead of a special dinner out on Sunday night, for various reasons, including respect for his father (grandfather to the boys).  I explained (as others who have had piercings will know) that you actually can’t remove it for 6-8 weeks, so the solution is to cover it for the night with a small bandaid.

I think there is some concern about the opinion of one grandfather in particular, but I also think husband may be surprised by the mellowing of his own father’s attitudes in regard to this sort of thing.  Certainly there is anger that our son has got the piercing, with little respect for anyone else, and to be honest, I can empathise, to a point.  But I also recall our nephews going through exactly the same thing, and neither now has them in their 20’s, so I am confident in time he will remove it of his own free will.   And let’s face it, at least it’s not a tattoo!!!

For those who are curious, I asked where one goes to get an eyebrow piercing these days.  I was quite amused to learn he was referred to a reputable establishment apparently – called “Off Ya Tree”.  And yes they do sell exactly what you would expect.  Say no more!


School holiday madness December 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

HolidaysThe men-children are now on school holidays for at least 8 weeks.  In the case of one, he won’t be returning to “school” officially (TAFE instead as you recall next year) so he probably feels like someone who just got released from gaol.  And with the freedom from their normal schedules, they seem to believe they are also released from all other responsibilities.

I am not sure whether it’s a boy thing, or just a man-child thing (meaning my own sons), but all common courtesy, common sense, and common helpfulness has evaporated completely from the boys since holidays began.  They seem to believe that a carefree existence is normal for them and therefore for everyone around them.  We don’t know where they are, where they are going, when they’ll be home for dinner, if they’ll be home at all, and if they are they may have a few mates along with them.

Now I don’t know about everyone else, but I do believe it is common courtesy and respect for one’s parents that you at least keep them in the loop.  But no, our men-children seem to have their own ideas.  I do see it as a major failing on my part as a parent that my sons have not learnt such basic skills, so I can only hope that it’s an adolescent, carefree (and careless) attitude that will slowly fade as they morph into adults, with increased responsibilities.

Since they are so rarely here for dinner, our rule from a while back is we don’t even cook for them on school holidays, such is their unreliability.  If they expect dinner, then they need to let us know they will be here.  The reality is our habit is to cook for five people, so there’s generally enough if they “drop in” to join us.  However the other night, one of the men-children strolled into the kitchen and asked “what’s for dinner?”  As it was a Friday night, and I had of course worked all week, I simply explained (without an ounce of guilt):  “It’s Friday night, I don’t cook on Friday night.  Get your own.“  It works both ways!

Such is the extent of their rudeness, and seemingly lack of ability to even grasp the most basic of skills, the other day, one of the men-children was asking for the address of the holiday house we will stay at over summer.  When I enquired for whom, I was advised it was for all the people who were going to stay at our house on New Years Eve.  Well, you can imagine how quickly I hit the brakes on that conversation, doing a little more fact-finding very quickly.  Small details like how many are you inviting, and whom exactly?  And do their parents know that a bed (mattress on the floor) does not constitute me accepting responsibility for their under age daughters at Portsea for new years?   He was aghast that I not only expected the parents to phone me to make sure it was kosher, but if they didn’t then I would ring them all to ensure the ground rules were clear.  You see, I have been a 16-year-old girl before, so I know how it works (and how the truth can be very distorted depending on what you actually SAY).

After a lecture about the courtesy of actually asking before you invite five friends to stay, the same man-child went out that night to a gathering.  He had a few mates here before hand (of course he didn’t ask), went off to the party, and told me he didn’t know if he was staying at home or at his girlfriends for the night. I was pretty surprised to hear him and three mates arrive home at 3.30am at our house, (yep, thanks again for the heads up – they don’t listen or learn clearly), and then proceed to start-up the play-station for a few games.  No they don’t care if someone else (twin brother) is trying to sleep upstairs too.  So I yelled up the stairs to shut it down and get to bed – there was no argument – a grumpy mother always wins at that hour.  But I was left lamenting again why he just didn’t get my point of earlier in the day, and have ANY consideration for anyone else.

When the same child mentioned that he was planning to have some mates over to christen the new “party” deck we have just built, we casually asked how many that might be.  “Oh 15, maybe 30 people”!  WTF.  He has no idea…..really.

It is times like these that Father of a Man-Child and I tend to shut down their social lives, rein them in, ensure they’re at home for dinner, and use the chance to get some normalcy back in their lives and ours.  Sometimes the routine of being at school can actually be good for everyone.

So am I being unreasonable?  Or am I a stressed out parent who should just RELAX a bit more about her teenage boys?  Does a few weeks/months of being carefree matter at the end of the day, for them or us?  Or should I just accept that I am losing control of them, they are 16, and it ain’t going to get any easier to tell them what to do, as one reminded me the other day, when he casually mentioned that the piercing he has been so in favour of for a few years is now likely to become a reality very soon now that he has left school – great!

The last time he mentioned getting a piercing, we had to argue very strongly with him to avoid it.  Read more here.



The joys of single parenting December 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mother of a Man-Child @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

I recently spent a full week playing single parent, whilst Father of a Man-Child was off at “boot camp”.  I have to say, when you work full-time and have 3 kids and a household to manage, it’s pretty hard work.  I did a fair bit of travel a few years back for work (including some great overseas trips), leaving Father of a Man-Child in charge.  I realise now I owe him a medal for his efforts.  It’s Herculean just to make sure they don’t starve each day, with school lunches and daily dinners to prepare, let alone squeezing in all the other stuff you need to do, like gym, feeding rabbits and keeping the washing pile under control, whilst also ensuring you are at work on time and never late for aftercare pick up.  Oh, and then being on top of your game at work – it’s not where you spend the day having coffee and chilling is it?  All in all an exhausting week.

Nevertheless I would do it again in a heartbeat for the same results.  We recently packed Father of a Man-Child off to boot camp for a week to kick-start a healthy lifestyle.  At our age, the bad habits of a lifetime can really start to catch up with you, and let’s just say that Father of a Man-Child had done an excellent job in developing a long list of really bad ones, that all needed addressing.  A not so subtle threat finally convinced him to consider a couple of venues for his incarceration, and to his credit, he opted for the hardest of them all – as in the one most like hell on earth for someone with bad habits.

red applesSo how did he fare with 7 long days and nights not smoking, or drinking alcohol or caffeine, deprived of red meat, bread, dairy foods, full cream milk, and expected to sustain himself on fresh fruit, salads, fish, more salad, vegetables, more salad, soup, did I mention salad?  And to add to his woes, no TV (that means no sport to watch), no internet, or mobile phone?

You may be surprised to know that he managed it very well.  Whilst he didn’t exactly enjoy it (by day two he told me in a rare phone call from “prison” that he was hanging out for a hamburger and a packet of cigarettes), he did arrive at the end of his term with a whole new attitude, and understanding for the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  Now for those of you who know Father of a Man-Child, I am sure you would be very surprised to hear him talking about the benefits of Tai Chi, or all the bad stuff in mayonnaise (“not for me thanks”), or sipping black tea in the morning in lieu of his regulation coffee and cigarette to start the day.

We are all thrilled at the conversion of Father of a Man-Child in such a short time.  Already, he’s a candidate for the BUPA ad, you know the one where they show the healthy you versus the unhealthy you.  In seven short days, putting in good stuff, and no bad stuff, exercising, and getting some sun has him positively glowing with health.  The one short-term set back is that in embracing the opportunity to exercise daily he suffered an apparently common injury at boot camp, arriving home with a badly torn tendon in his foot.  Once he is back walking normally, he aims to keep the long walks and exercise up.

So hat tip to Father of a Man-Child, and all our encouragement to keep up the good habits you have learnt.  Mother of a Man-Child thanks you for having the courage to do it, and the Men-Children and Sister of a Man-Child thank you for extending your life and staying around a whole lot longer to watch them grow up!!!!

For those who are curious to know where he went, it was Golden Door, in the hinterlands behind Brisbane, Queensland.  Highly recommended by Mother of a Man-Child. 🙂