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Kids These Days!


Mama’s Crystal Ball

Every parent strives to do better than the previous generation, providing for their children that which they lacked or missed out on in their own childhood.

Nowadays, the reviews are mixed.

Kids these days have it too easy! They’re spoiled with less required physical activity and way too much couch-potato-encouraging technology that keeps them inside exercising their thumbs rather than outside, exercising their whole bodies and minds.                                            

~ Any Random Adult 

It’s an on-going challenge for parents trying to strike the balance for their children; keeping abreast of what’s current, necessary and useful and making sure they don’t lose sight of what’s important for them to know how to do.

Despite the difficulties, I LOVE being a mom. Always have. For many years I enjoyed being a stay-at-home-mom, eagerly performing what others might consider mundane tasks for my kids, like painstakingly working out ketchup stains from their favorite dress or shirt, making sure the same favorite dress or shirt (or batman costume) was constantly clean so it could be worn several days in a row or making extra portions of a home-made dinner so I could freeze them for my son who refused to eat a cold lunch at school up until the 5th grade.  I didn’t mind the endless task of picking up their toys and returning them to places they could easily be found the next day during their pre-arranged play-dates and I’d spend many hours searching and experimenting with new recipes I thought they might like to try. Even though my daughter is in 6th grade now, I still enjoy making her lunch for school every day.

These and so much more were—are, to me still, labors of love.


The eyes in the back of my head are blue. What color are yours?

As my kids enter their tween and teenage years however, the tasks are changing and I’m starting to focus more seriously on the notion that it’s my duty to prepare them the best I can, for (real) LIFE.

Parenting is unique to each unique child.

Babies don’t leave the womb with a ‘here’s how I specifically operate and what I’ll need to know, mom’ guide and even though the long-held myths about moms having eyes in the back-of-their-heads and a-future-seeing-crystal-ball hidden in their bedroom closets are absolutely TRUE, our eyes and crystal balls are often clouded and not exactly all-seeing. I’m not always quite sure, how to make sure, my kids have the life-skills and tools they’ll need to become high-functioning, productive, kind and considerate citizens of our future communities.

In short, much of what we put forth is a bit of a crap shoot, flung from instinct.

For example, myself and four other mothers of my 14-year old son’s basketball-playing school mates recently hired a culinary chef who has a school in New York City to give our teenage boys some professional training in the kitchen. Sure, they know how to boil water for Ramen Noodles but what do they know about using a knife or picking fresh produce, making their own salad dressing, gravy or apple-crisp? Not much and my crystal ball predicts the women they’ll eventually end up with 10-years or so from now will not be as interested in devoting the same amount of kitchen and laundry time me or my mom did while raising a family.

It’s a new era and they’ll be out forging new paths and making lives of their own.


Easy access to information.

Our boys need to know how to cook and keep house.

Now that he’s been schooled, will he happily whip up a roasted chicken dinner complete with a fresh vegetable side and dessert when his future significant other informs him she’ll be coming home late from the office? I have no idea. BUT I continue to have faith and blindly put forth my efforts and babble, babble, babble on, hoping that somewhere in their premature brains my kids are processing what I say or make them do and will be able to pull out what they need, when they need it, like a magician pulls a rabbit from his hat.

Still, I can’t help but wonder how my kids will act or react when they get caught in a jam or circumstance that really requires them to step-up and take responsibility.

Thankfully, every once in a while however, the gods are good and toss out a bone, giving us insight as to whether or not we’re on the right track and we get a glimpse of what kind of an adult our child is going to be.

A few weeks before Christmas, I very suddenly and unexpectedly came down with pneumonia. I’ve never had pneumonia before. In fact, I rarely get sick. For the most part, I’m a Type A personality, leaving little time and patience for illness that would keep me from doing, let alone out of work. It’s not in my make up but this was out of my control. I had no choice but to succumb and was completely laid out for nearly two full weeks. With the help of a few family members and friends however, I was checked-in on, and my kids managed to get fed and brought to where they needed to be, including school each morning while I lay incapacitated in my third floor bedroom.

For days, I was completely unawares of the goings-on below and could barely hear my daughter moving about in the evenings.


What’s this? A note?

I finally passed through the fever-delirium period and made it to the tolerating side of a hacking cough that cut like a knife in my chest. As much as I love my secluded bedroom, I desperately needed to make my way downstairs, if for nothing else but to reassure myself that I could still walk. It was sometime mid-morning on a weekday, when I took the last step down and rounded myself toward the kitchen for the first time in several days.

I saw a small piece of white paper taped face-down to the counter.

Reaching out, I flipped it over and this is what it said….


The gods are good.

Yes, the first word in the fourth item on my 11-year old daughter’s List after ‘work on gifts’ (because she hand-makes Christmas gifts for each member of our extended family every year) is sew and even though I don’t, apparently she does.

It’s the second to last item however, that stopped me cold in my slipper-laden tracks.

Take care of mom

Thank you, good gods.

And as if that wasn’t enough to bring an already weepy mom to tears, on my way back up to Never-Never-Land, I glanced down the short flight of stairs to the front door. One of the last statements and only instructions I recall making from my sick-bed to my daughter before literally entering the Twilight Zone in the first 24-hours of being laid out was …

You’ll have to buy lunch at school.

BUT like many other kids these days, she had her own ideas about lunch and apparently, made it herself.

Every day.

Even reminded herself, not to forget it from the fridge before leaving in the morning.


Kids these days.

They’re pretty awesome!

Photo Credit #1-3 Google Images

Photo Credit #4-6 KarenSzczukaTeich&www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com

  1. jen
    December 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

    What an awesome story, and I’m not the least bit surprised!


    • December 30, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Thank you, Jen! Something tells me you are just as lucky as I am! xoxo


  2. Heather
    December 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

    You did it! You raised two competent, loving children, congratulations! I have always had those same worries too, but am also lucky to have two great kids.


    • December 30, 2012 at 9:29 am

      We do our best and we hope for the best, Heather! Thanks for reading & commenting. Hope all is well & Happy New Year!


  3. December 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

    oh, god, Karen! You have me almost in tears over here. I knew you were sick, but I had no idea you were THAT sick. And those NOTES!
    She’s a great kid.
    Can’t wait to see you guys again,
    ps. I really like that line about it all being a crap shoot – been feeling like a full on participant in the crap shoot lately. Could use a bone from the Gods!!


  4. December 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    It’s all good Breida! And BTW…You are a GREAT mom. Did you see the item on her list that said “skype Cormac” ? 🙂 Can’t wait to see you guys too. xoxo


  5. Nicole
    December 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    You have two AMAZING kids…. That have two Amazing parents!!


    • December 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Awe….. Nicole 🙂


  6. Shandra
    December 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Love it! Single parenting for most of my two now grown sons lives instilling respect, responsibility and Faith shows in the fruit. Saving and tithing , cooking, cleaning , gifting , serving others, enjoying time with family. It’s not always easy (ha!) to hold to “higher” standards but well worth it for them and Community. Well done Karen.


    • December 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      Shandra, thank you so much for reading & commenting with such kind words. All the best, peace & good health to you & your boys in the New Year!


  7. December 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I love the notes! You have some very thoughtful kids Karen. You gotta be happy and proud. I imagine it all comes from their source of you being the right example and instilling great values. Like we preach in our family, if you don’t have each other you’ve got nothing. Blessed new year Karen!


    • December 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      I love the notes too, Andy. And yes, I am VERY proud.Thank you for the kind words. Peace & good health to you & your girls for the New Year & always.


  8. singleworkingmomswm
    December 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Oh, gosh, Karen, so we were in the proverbial same boat it seems, just with different illnesses. I’m so happy you had the help you needed, and little Hannah, wow, so precious and self-sufficient she is. Maycee did similar things, but I was too miserable to take pictures. She, too, wrote little notes about stuff to do, and she even did the entire loaded sink of dishes the first night back from the ER, waiting for my dad to arrive that night. Off and on she tried her best to be helpful, and all of this while she was fighting a sinus infection and cold of her own. We’re doing good fellow SWM. We’re doing good. Love you so much, and glad you are better! Hope that your Christmas was bright, and best wishes for 2013 (I’m praying for a NY trip some how, some way)!


  9. January 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Yes, SWM apparently our parallel lives of sorts included simultaneous illnesses that gave us both an opportunity to see how blessed we are with our awesome children!! No doubt Maycee was a trooper even in while she suffered as well! Yeah…. we’re doing well 🙂 Love you too!! xoxox


  10. January 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Kids these days ARE awesome! What a lovely story.

    Hope you feel better soon!


    • January 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Agreed! Thank you, Lady.


  11. January 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Karen: Off topic … just wanted to stop by to say Happy New Year to you and yours


  12. January 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Frank: Thank you!! Same to you and yours 🙂


  13. January 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

    OMG!!! You brought up your kids so well!! I smiled when I read the lists your girl had made. And the reminder for the lunch box was just beyond cute. May you always stay happy and blessed together.
    Also, off note, Happy New Year to you all!!


    • January 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Thank you so much gull…. I really appreciate your reading & kind comments! Best to you as well, peace and good health for the New Year… Lucky 13!!


      • January 3, 2013 at 6:55 am

        No thanks required, appreciation drives us all-especially where it is well deserved!! 😉


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