What would this competition really look like if we had American Ninja Warriors with only 40-something moms as competitors in appropriate mom tasks? I’ve chosen 40-something moms because those are the ones that usually have teens and this is a teen oriented competition. And besides, I’m a 40-something mom…I’ve come up with a few events I think may be worthy of an American Ninja Warrior Decathlon…
- The Midnight Round-Up
Also known as — Where’s my teen? It’s past curfew. I’ve become a stalker. What are good teen stalking techniques in this day and age? A network of other mom’s? Facebook (or Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc.) following of all your teen’s friends? Hmm, let’s be creative here. How long will it take you to find your teen? Maybe this one should be measured in how long it takes your teen to respond to your text/call? Or maybe it should be measured in how many minutes late your teen is after curfew? Should we allow bonus points if your teen uses the “pick me up no questions asked” card before curfew expires?
- Bunk Bed Sheets Wrestling Match
Wrestling sheets onto a bunk bed without breaking a sweat is a tough task, but moms can do it. How long will it take you to wrestle sheets onto bunk beds against a wall? Without breaking a sweat! Bonus points if you have more than one set of bunk beds in your house. Making up loft beds count for even more bonus points because who doesn’t hit their head on the ceiling (and bed) trying to make up one of those?!?
- Sneaker Smell Quashing
Who knew that kind of smell could actually exist on Earth? (NO fair if you’ve been to see the Grossology exhibit when it was in town, you already know the answer to that (rhetorical) question!). How can we get rid of that stench? Oh my God! Don’t take those shoes off in the car! Maybe we can see how long we can stand the smell before we pass out? What would this competition really look like? Would it be measured by how long you could stand the smell or how long it takes to get rid of it? If we do this as an event, I think maybe Gas Masks could be a potential lifeline, but you lose points if you use one!
- Pout and Eye-Rolling Combatant
How fast can you embarrass your teen into eye rolling or pouty behavior? If you can even get them to attend the competition at all. If not, you might have to borrow another teen for this event! I can hear it now, “Anyone up for a game of Cards Against Humanity?” “No, mom!” Swiftly followed by “How could you (even suggest something so lame; we are not playing this with you)?” And the biggest eye roll known to man… Maybe this competition should be measured in how fast you can get your teen not to eye-roll or pout and actually smile? That kind of event might be more difficult! Nigh impossible in some households…
- Teen Driving Nail Biter
Although this event is self-explanatory, the pain can be measured by the length of the nail raking scars on the dashboard or by the depth the nails have dug into your palm. Am I right? Or perhaps we can measure it by the amount your auto insurance increases once your teen actually becomes a licensed driver… I think there may be special award points for moms of boys if this event is measured by the astronomical changes in your insurance costs… especially if they have an accident their VERY first week of driving.
- Logistics Planning
Who hasn’t had to be in three places at the same time with their children? This event involves planning the logistics for three teen sports tournaments at the same time, in different states. It can be measured by the loss of parental sanity multiplied by the miles put on the car odometer for the weekend and divided by the money spent on food/equipment/entry fees during the trip…
- Snappy Comebacks
What are your snappy comebacks (or are these behavior modification techniques?) that you use as a parent when your teen proposes doing something completely preposterous? Or is making excuses not do a chore they have been asked to do? Or is procrastinating from doing their homework? I think this one is best summed up by “a funny” making the rounds on the internet: “Breaking News: The Pity Train has just derailed at the intersection of Suck It Up & Move On, and crashed into We All Have Problems, before coming to a complete stop at Get the Heck Over It. Any complaints about how we operate can be forwarded to 1-800-waa-waaa. This is Dr. Sniffle Reporting LIVE from Quitchur Fussin’.”
- Git Ur Butt Off the Couch and Find a Job…
Teens have amazing ways of wheedling money out of their parents. How many ways can you say no? In how many foreign languages? Bonus points for more than 5 foreign languages. How about “Hell No!”
- Grocery Bill Tally
How much do teens eat? How much does it cost when you go to the grocery store? I don’t even go to Costco anymore – that’s $400 a pop. How much meat do teen boys eat? Let’s find out… in the grocery bill tally event. What groceries would you buy to feed your teens for a week? Enough said. I’ve got to go rob a bank now!
- Homework Hell
Do we even need to discuss this ring of hell? Perhaps we need to call this event “Are you smarter than a High Schooler?” Could you survive doing one night of their homework load? Once you’ve been through a couple of hours of running and exercises (to simulate whatever sports practice your teen was at that afternoon/evening) and you gulp down a meal (probably pizza and a coke), you get the pleasure of doing a calculus problem set, a chemistry lab write up, writing an AP English paper, and studying for a Spanish test. All the while, texting and chatting with at least a dozen friends/classmates. And listening to your favorite tunes on Spotify. Oh, all of this is to be done without coffee! All before 10 pm (or is it 11 pm) bedtime? I didn’t think so.
Now, if we were fashioning this decathlon competition after the Amazing Race, we could add a few detour type events that are centered on common teen activities (legal ones only, because the illegal ones often involve a real life detour with serious consequences):
Emergency Room Detour – how fast can you drive to the emergency room? How many broken bones were found? How long did it take to be seen in the emergency room? Bonus points if you’ve been to the emergency room more than once in a day… even more bonus points if it was with different kids! (Not saying this happened with my kids or anything…)
Clothes Shopping Spree Detour – You have XX minutes/days/years to find something your teen will actually wear that YOU bought for them without their help or input. This event cannot really be a part of the competition because it could go on for years and we don’t have that long to judge a winner…
Sports Equipment Search Detour – Where is the football tee? The Lacrosse stick, the volleyball knee pads… this list could get very long if your teens play three sports and have a regular schedule of games and tournaments. It gets really hairy if they are playing more than one sport at a time. We’ve set up an obstacle course of sports clothing and equipment and it is your job to assemble a complete sports uniform so that if your child had to step on the “playing field” once you are done, they would meet the sporting regulations to be able to play… I pray that there are swim trunks somewhere out there in this event; they don’t really need goggles do they?
Lifelines – Even though we aren’t playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire (although we could be, because as parents of teens, we are merely seen as an ATM most of the time), I already mentioned the possibility of a gas mask lifeline in the Sneaker Smell Quashing event. I think the other two lifelines need to be “Phone a Friend” and “Where (the Hell) is the Wine.” These lifelines are self explanatory to most parents, even if your kids aren’t teens!
Now, I know this competition is a little very boy centric. But, I’ve earned the right, as a mom of three teen boys (yes, count them), to make this competition whatever the hell I damn well please… and I deserve big jewels… at least that’s what the nurse said as she handed me my (third) ten-pound child and told me not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds as I recover from my C-Section… Seriously, if you do have teen girls and have suggestions for teen girl centric events, I am all ears! Tell me about it!
Author’s Note: This blog post was inspired by my Facebook posts of 7/28/2014 and 8/24/2014 and any similarity to my VERY real life with my three sons is purely coincidental.