Note to Self in 15 Years: Simple Solutions for the Teenage Years, or Avoiding Parental Dictatorship

In a college literature class, I studied The Art of War. It’s an ancient Chinese book that has been influential for hundreds of years, and describes military techniques in war time. I remember reading it and thinking, “I’m not selling this back to the library after the semester so I can refer to battle tactics for raising teenagers.”

I took that class when I was 19 and still a teen myself. I guess my parenting instincts have always been suuuper turnt up.

Laundry baby would never think of being a disobedient teenager. Melts my soul.
Laundry baby would never think of being a disobedient teenager. Melts my soul.

I’ve since lost the book, and it’s highly improbable that this little laundry baby will grow up to be anything less than perfect; however, his future siblings may need stricter parenting. In lieu of a warfare strategy guide, Brian and I have instead compiled a list of “grounding” alternatives. Our future teenagers’ undesirable behavior will be at a standstill due to Mom’s variation of tactics, which happens to be Chapter 8 in The Art of War.

To keep things interesting, the following list is to be used as a CHOICE in place of a run of the mill, predictable consequence. Ie “You can choose to lose your phone privileges for a week, OR______.” Then, pat yourself on the back for bringing democracy back to the family, and let the good times roll.

Discipline Alternatives for Taming a Teen

1. The Sign and Date: The rule breaker will not be grounded if he or she returns a completed petition with a header statement. “I, _____, have come home 20 minutes past my curfew multiple times this month. I am so disrespectful of my parents’ rules. SHAME. Since I was so inconsiderate of my parents, who are super cool and know Jay Z songs, I need your signature to agree that yes, I am in the wrong. Yes, there are repercussions. No, I will not not not be late again. This way, you can still see me on weekends. Include your number, because my mom will be calling you to verify your signature’s authenticity.”  After 25 signatures from friends, with phone numbers, I will call to confirm that all the friends knew they signed and a consequence will be waived.

(And then, I have a secret stash of their friends’ phone numbers. Well, well, well.)

2. Not Stacy’s Mom: Upon continuation of my Pink Box Doughnut fanaticism, odds are good I will become obese. This will come in handy. I will show up somewhere where my teen and his/her friends are, rain or shine, in a bikini. This will have to be more of an ambush rather than an agreed upon punishment, but I’ll work out the kinks when I get to about 308 lbs.

3. Wheely Embarrassing: Should our finances allow, we will have a perfectly safe yet severely cosmetically damaged vehicle for offenders to drive for a determined time period. This total piece of crap car will have duct tape, stale fries squished between the seats, and possibly “I love my mom!” or “Time out car!” spray painted on the side. Driving solidarity will be achieved by removing passenger seats.

4. It’s Not Gucci: The guilty party will wear shirts to school exclaiming their wrong doing. “I KEEP POSTING SELFIES ON  FACEBOOK WHEN I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING BIOLOGY HOMEWORK.” This will be printed front and back, right side in and inside out. By printed, I mean Sharpie. If you change clothes at school…you better not.

5. Au Natural: A negotiated time period of no makeup for daughters. High school social pressures alongside a bare face will definitely instill a fear of talking back to me.

6. Tee hee hee: If we need to bring out the big guns, we will pull out the ol’ love card. The teen culprit will have to accompany Brian and I on a date to a popular place, and Brian and I will show lots and lots of public displays of affection. We will also make sure we talk unmistakably to you, loudly, between kissing. #notmyparents #PDA #eyesburning

Any additional suggestions to our raise-good-kids-sans-grounding arsenal would be appreciated!

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Only Chingy Understands

Dem Jeans? Anyone? Time to pull out the high school burned CD collection.

I mean, we don’t KNOW Chingy wasn’t talking about post-partum jean shopping. This takes me back to a similar situation, at a debatably low point (day) in my life a couple of years back. I will even toss around the words “life scarring.” You can read about it riiiiiight here,  but basically, I outgrew my jeans and made Brian photograph them for eBay. It made me consider anorexia, but I never made it beyond lunchtime.

Embarrassing eBay picture that I actually posted:

Why do I only have booty pictures, you ask? One word. Unbuttoned. Two more words. Screaming zipper.
Why do I only have booty pictures, you ask? One word. Unbuttoned. Two more words. Screaming zipper.

Since then, leggings, jeggings, and whatever other spawn of spandex came into style, so I am just now returning to the jean market. I’m a motivated buyer, but I ordered all my jeans online to try on in the comfort and privacy of my own home. That way, I can avoid the horrible fluorescent lighting of the Nordstrom dressing room. Nordstrom’s dressing rooms are confidence snipers. I avoid trying anything on in-store, unless I start bringing a wax pot and cellulite remover in my purse, but I’m positive the latter doesn’t exist. Yet.

I'm returning most of these babies. Don't worry.
I’m returning most of these babies. Don’t worry.


Anyway, after the goods arrived, I shooed Brian out of the room. As I slowly turned the lighting up in our room, I realized that my trusty Hudson brand has worked another jean miracle. I’m happy to announce that I DID NOT have to soothe my troubled soul by hiding in the Costco sized Cheez-It box in my pantry and drink my cooking wine.


Talk about progress.

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A Note To Blue Ivy

Dear Blue Ivy,

I can’t imagine the feelings that might torment you in the future every time you have to re-watch your parents get…close…at the Grammy’s. Actually, I can imagine. It’s going to be a combination of nausea, disgust, burning eyes, and revulsion after seeing a reenactment of your own conception. When your friends show you on YouTube in a few years, you explain to them that your mom was, at one point, a super classy role model for the world. In fact, she placed in the top 3 of My Favorite Women I Don’t Actually Know, and that’s a very competitive list.

Don’t suppress any anger or negative feelings after listening your mom’s recent song lyrics. It will resurface later in elementary school in the form of aggression during a game of Red Rover, and you’ll break a classmate’s arm. A law suit will be inevitable. Instead, go directly to the source, and ask your mom why she suddenly had an alter ego mix up. Question how she confused Sasha Fierce for Sasha, the cheap, leftover-90’s-permed hooker who smells like greasy chicken from working at KFC all day.

If your vision is unimpaired after three seconds of watching your thong-clad mom trying to seduce America, you’ll also realize that The Simpsons possibly influenced your mom’s geometric hair. Is that wet looking, triangle shape too high fashion for me to comprehend, or is that the transformation your hair takes when you are drunk in love during onstage severe weather?


I’m sure she has a good answer, because Beyonce couldn’t possibly just turn skanky out of nowhere…ESPECIALLY after becoming a mom. It would be expected and acceptable for “Partition” to be included on a Rihanna album. It would be expected and unacceptable-ish (but customary) to have Miley be all self -touchy on stage. But…BEYONCE!? I may not be able to watch awards shows unedited with my family in the future, but I still want to (need to) be able to listen to Beyonce while driving with kids. Or in-laws. Excuse me if my mama pitbull is coming out, but I’m trying to raise a son here.

Disappointed but Still Pulling for Your Mama,

PS. Blue Ivy, don’t get caught up in Hollywood and compare yourself to your friend North West. Just because her mom cut it out with the, hehehe, tapes, doesn’t mean she isn’t embarrassing her future posterity via social media. Plus, North West’s gene pool is more of a plastic surgeon’s show room than actual genetics. You’ll have a much less expensive form of beauty.

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Crib Rioting.

I spent a good amount of my Albuquerque childhood with my face smashed against my bedroom window screen, watching the neighborhood kids. I particularly remember these evening conversations:

(Next door neighbors squealing with delight as I watched them having the BEST TIME OF THEIR LIVES.)

Neighbor sees my nose pressed into the screen like a pig. “Hey! ASHTON! Ask your mom if you can come over to the clubhouse!”

Me: “I can’t! I’m in BED!”

Then I would squeak the window closed quietly so my parents wouldn’t know that was ME screaming a response to my name as I was supposed to be asleep, even though it was light outside…and I’m pretty sure the Warin’s hadn’t eaten dinner.

Well played, Mom.

What used to be a baffling, sunny-bedtime mystery now is what I aspire to as a parent: early bedtime sergeant.

I’m on that path, but my son beat me to it! Gus has been really into this “bedtime at 6:30” lately, and I guess all babies are…news to me! This is great! (He has even been sleeping through the night, but I have to whisper that. Last time he had a few good nights, I got cocky. Prematurely. Gus had a surprise retaliation and yelled at me, personally, for an hour. I tried to hold back tears and let myself cry it out. I watched in the monitor as his socks flew off in an angry rage. No Pottery Barn bumper has before seen the likes of such prune fueled bicycle kicks. He was just short of setting Sleep Sheep ablaze, when the fatigue of so much physical exertion hit him. When the sun came up, he returned to being a little angel.) (We’re hoping there won’t be a relapse.)

Save yourself, Sleep Sheep.
Save yourself, Sleep Sheep.

Gus wears fedoras when he's feeling well rested.
Gus wears fedoras when he’s feeling well rested.

Anyway, that’s our update. I’m really enjoying the memory part of my brain returning (slowly).

As for trophy wifeing, I got a new lipstick, and I’m thinking about flossing daily.

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Trophy Wives: Your Complete Guide

A compilation of rules to becoming a trophy wife, from the Ashton Hawker diary archives. I always question this being  especially applicable to Las Vegas residents around March when the weather gets warmer and women in their 40s forget they’re not Kardashians.

“She don’t believe in shooting stars
But she believes in shoes and cars…”

Avoid sitting too close to your children in public as not to reveal your age. If you must speak to them directly, let the words fly off of your lips with the same sharpness as the needle that has just injected them. Think that sounds harsh? We’re trophy wives, not soccer moms.

Never show signs of emotion, specifically on your face. Trophy wives everywhere look to Victoria Beckham for inspiration. Not only will this poker face keep you mysterious, it will also keep you from getting wrinkles (Botox will help you better achieve this impassiveness).

Although some may interpret this unexpressive attitude as heartlessness, it’s better than being considered sweet. Trophy wives should never like anything sweet, unless it’s Splenda-based. Anything made without this sugar substitute will later be carved off by a surgeon.

In the rare and unfortunate event that this should happen, clothe yourself as little as possible to distract eyes from any healing scars. Make sure that any couture that is absolutely necessary to cover up has at least one giant designer logo, preferably in rhinestones. This is a typical trophy wife defensive maneuver used to blind those that seek proof of plasticity.

Apprentices flunking their crash course after veering off the Trophy Wife path for a $9.95 dinner.
Apprentices flunking their crash course after veering off the Trophy Wife path for a $9.95 dinner.
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A Wedding + Greyhound Prisoners of War.

My brother’s wedding was beautiful, and a road trip success! I was a little obsessive about planning the drive to Salt Lake City around Gus’s naptimes, but the sleepy silence from the back seat proved my paranoia was not in vain! Hallelujah.

Colby’s wife Amanda looked gorgeous on their wedding day. The drive was well worth the effort to see my brother so happy! There’s nothing like a wedding to remind you how special finding your love really is.


Mr. and Mrs.! Props to Colby for a sweet suit. No one usually cares about groomal fashion.
Mr. and Mrs.! Props to Colby for a sweet suit. No one usually cares about groomal fashion.

familypicat colby wedding

Gus had multiple wardrobe changes. He was already in his after party pants here.
Gus ready for the after party.

On our way home, we stopped to let Gus get out and stretch in Parowan, where we noticed an emptied Greyhound Bus. There was very little commotion for how many of its passengers were sitting around police cars. A gas station clerk informed Brian that there were reportedly weapons in a passenger’s bag, as well as a possible HOSTAGE SITUATION. What the.

We walked back to our car, and checked out the evacuated Greyhounders to look for Denzel Washington. All we saw were a handful of people lying down, and some chatting and eating sunflower seeds. A few looked annoyed. One older guy was dangling Crunchy Cheetohs in his mouth like they were cigarettes. Another reason Crunchy Cheetohs trump Cheetoh Puffs.

I was let down by the lack of chaotic outrage from the hostages, but we still took Gus’s picture to document his first truck stop adventure.

Captives not pictured.
Captives not pictured.
Happy to be home!
Happy to be home!
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