My oldest child is eighteen. 
I am weirded out about it on the daily -
At any moment I expect Brett to suddenly stop me mid-sentence,
throw up a hand and say;
 "that's it mom, your work here is done" and just walk out the door. 

Honestly though, parenting the kid over these last eighteen years has been a blur.

I mostly remember eighteen years of power struggles, of war and peace, 
of hassles and troubles, of clash and retreat... 
 ...with a small sliver of success thrown in once every few years just to keep me going. 

Eighteen years ago I was young and naive and thought that eighteen years was plenty of time to have it all figured out.


And of course Dean and I are right on top of things.

Oh of course!

 Yep, we have everything under control...

Everything is going according to plan...

Wait, you seem doubtful :(

Well then...

 I think it's high time that I dispense some of my 
good old fashioned parenting advice to all those skeptics out there. 

*Just follow these 7 simple steps for perfect children*
(note: author not responsible for complete failure)

That's right! Just up and leave!
Dean and I try to get out away from the kids at least once a year. 
We simply sit the children down,
 and explain to them that mommy and daddy need some time away...
(right about here Lauren usually says, "that's disgusting" and walks away.)  

One time Dean and I were checking into a hotel in Salt Lake -
 the hotel staff kept staring at us. 
Maybe it was Dean's blood shot eyes, or our ragged luggage
and my five-years-too-late outfit choice...
or it could've been when I opened my wallet, teddy grahams fell out -

 Either way, the staff was whispering back and forth with each other
and looking us up and down. 
Finally, just as we were feeling quite conspicuous, the hotel clerk handed us our room key and said;
"We've decided to upgrade you to an executive two bedroom suit,
with complimentary lounge access, 
a breakfast credit and a late check out."

We both stood speechless and confused and remained there slobbering for a bit,
until the staff finally said, "you have to leave now-" 
Dean and I slumped towards the elevators with our pillows and box of cheez-its in hand, 
just completely grateful that there are still good people in this world
 that recognize the end of a rope when the see it.  

That's right! Let them fend for themselves! 

Are you aware that in the wild grasslands of Australia, mother Dingos (Canis antarcticus) purposely starve their young? It's true.
 Research indicates that the young Dingo pups learn vital survival skills that way. Yep, they just walk around the den for a bit yelping and complaining and then finally grab a mixing bowl the size of their head and down a half box of Lucky Charms in one sitting.    

Last Monday, a sweet friend brought by a dozen fancy frosted doughnuts that I saved for dessert like any civilized mother would. 
Meanwhile, I made some sort of generic chicken casserole, threw it in the oven, 
microwaved some broccoli and called the kids to dinner. 
The casserole wasn't quite ready and the wild I mean kids were sooooo hungry, so I shrugged my shoulders figured eh, YOLO! and distributed out the doughnuts on the plates like any uncivilized mother would.
While all the kids happily wolfed down the chocolate sprinkled goodness,
Quincy looked up from her plate, doughnut in hand, looked over at the broccoli and said;
 "uh Mom, can I have some of those green things?"       

That's right! Till they cry!

When Lauren is late for school, it's like Christmas morning around here. I get to drive her! 
I make sure to drop her off in the football parking lot, where the "who's who" among high schoolers hang out. Where you practically need a social endorsement from a Kardashian to enter. 
And when she grumbles a goodbye and steps out, 
I roll down her window and yell sweet goodbyes to my little peach fuzz and refuse to leave until she can name all the seven dwarfs. 
Her friends walk by and help... "you forgot Sneezy!"   

Things kinda backfired as I'm sure could've guessed they would. 
Yesterday morning, I had to run Lauren to school. 
I basically rolled out of bed, threw on a sweatshirt giving no thought to hair or makeup.
I mean I looked bad folks...reeeal bad!
"Morning Hilary" isn't very pretty (why do you think Dean leaves for work at 5:00 a.m.) -
 I parked in front of the school and was giving Lauren the usual hard time - and all of a sudden her eyes got big and she had the biggest grin on her face. I turned to my left just in time to see Lauren's guy friends walking right up to my door. 
I couldn't lock the door fast enough.
While Ryan ran around and sat in the passenger seat making small talk,
 Max stood taking pictures and later posted them on Twitter.    

Well, one of us was crying that day. 

That's right! Who cares!?  
Look, we've all had those moments of forgetfulness as a parent.
 Some (me) have them more often than most. 
And sure, you'll forget a name here and there - that's normal. 
And a birthday or two, who doesn't forget those ;)
We're all human, right?
So what if you forgot that your child needed lunch money for the 35th day in a row... 
- pshhh whateves.

And so what if you carelessly leave your child at the pond literally all day. 
Sometimes the peace and quiet at home is well worth the scowls and judgement from "the authorities."

And so what if you forgot to pick your child up from football practice after and hour and a half wait, and so what if you actually forgot and he was 45 minutes late to begin with and so what if you forgot to take your cell phone with you so he could call you and you forgot that you told him not to go home with anyone else and you forget that you promised to pick up a mouth guard, which you, uh...forgot. 
He'll get over it...(in time)

That's right! It's kinda funny!

A story that will likely be told at my funeral (or in my kid's therapy sessions) 
is the one where I spent the whole day lying my pants off.
We were fed up with our kids and their so-called half truths. 
So for a full day, everything Dean and I told the kids was a lie. 
I told them we were going out to eat at restaurant of their choosing, then to a movie, 
I bought a bunch of candy and told them it was theirs, 
I told them my Dad shot a prized buck and he was going to be on the news, 
I told them we were going to St. George the next day, 
I told them we were getting a new puppy, 
I told them their cousins were coming to stay with us so they all willingly and excitedly cleaned the whole house including their rooms. 

So imagine the look on their lucky little faces when I said these words. 
"Kids, everything I have told you today is lie..." 

Brett immediately protested the unfairness, Lauren demanded justice, 
Kal, River and Wade hugged each other and cried. 

It was one of our finer parenting moments. 

That's right! Get mean!

I'm convinced there's something wrong with my children. 
Well, besides the usual stuff. 
They fight and pester and tease each other till I think I'm going to lose my ever-loving mind. 
I like the fighting though, it's good for one reason. 

It makes moments like these kinda wonderful.

Quincy and Canyon tagged along with me and my sister Brooke out to lunch.
In the middle of her story Brooke nudged me and said; 
"Hil, look"
 and points over to Quincy and Canyon who were playing a game on my cell-phone 
and Canyon had his arm wrapped around Quincy. 
I smiled in acknowledgement also knowing that the moment wouldn't last. 
Sure enough within the minute, they were fighting and pushing and pinching.

Those thirty seconds were golden though.

That's right! What can it hurt? 

I'm as laid back as it gets when it comes to mothering. 

So when I saw a guy walking around Macey's with a snake on his neck
 I casually said to Quincy, "you should go over and pet that snake" 

So she did without hesitation. Well, maybe a little hesitation.
She gave me the most trusting look of, "if you say so mom"     
I'm so glad the snake didn't swallow her whole, 
 or that would've sent my whole "laid back theory" out the window. 

I'm so laid back that on Brett's eighteenth birthday, I agreed to my sister Brooke's brilliant idea of sending our barley cognitive teenage boys to St. George for an 
all-boys-all-cousin-no parents weekend.   

Before they left, we lined out for them the "do's and dont's" of the weekend, 
listing all the good things they could participate in -
 i.e: Mini Golf, hiking, taking selfies, and if they were feeling really risky they could think about going to an all-you-can-eat buffet!

And as almost an after-thought -
 as they were pulling out of the driveway, 
we said; 







NO VEGAS!"    

So guess where our darling boys ended up?

Yep, I think my work here is done. 

And welp, there it is:
Your step by step guide to having perfect children...

                                                                         like mine...


Catherine Faux said…
I saw this link posted on Facebook and, well, after reading it, feel like I had better follow your blog. So much helpful advice! Hilarious! Thanks
Kari Lyn said…
Hi Hillary,
I'm Shane, Kevin, Karen and Brian's sister. I have enjoyed reading your blog. You are such a talented writer and your family is so fun!
~Kari in Texas
I'm totally taking your advice. I think that we've got some of those down already. I hope my kids turn out as well as yours. :) You're awesome. Keep up the good bloggity work!

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