So this week I planned on writing about the season premiere of The Walking Dead and possibly the insanity that was the Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion, but then I was confronted with something a tad bit scarier than a rogue zombie herd and middle age bullies in heels.

My teenage daughter announced her latest plan: she would rather take the GED test than finish high school.

WHAT (or wAHt in Jersey speak or rAWrrr in zombie)?

Scary for a parent to hear, but I guess I wasn’t that surprised considering it was only the latest in a long string of big ideas and grandiose plans.

You see my daughter has one objective, kind of like a zombie (only in that they both have one objective, because of course my daughter is smart, beautiful and has way better teeth).

Zombies only want “food” and my daughter just can’t wait to leave home.  It is her motivation for everything, but apparently this week graduation seemed too far off.  It’s a mere 18 months away, but you see that’s seventy-two years in Teen speak.

Anyway, this week she decided that maybe finishing high school wasn’t necessary.

My first instinct was to sprout six-inch heels from my feet and  flip a table Teresa Giudice style (hey I am technically a Jersey girl).

But I contained myself.  Instead I pulled out the big adult speak–dropout and GED statistics, the cost of rent, insurance, food, etc.  The fact that she did not own her precious car she’s been driving for the last couple of months.  The fact that simple dental upkeep is not cheap.  Um, did she want zombie teeth?

The truly frustrating matter of the whole interaction was my apparent inability to convince her of the holes in her plans.

What I want to know is when did I lose the ability to speak Teen? I mean I know what it’s like to be a teenager, I spent seven of my own precious years as a teenager.  Plus, I already know what it’s like to move on to adulthood, accept responsibility and even give over a huge chunk of my life over to said kid and yet somehow it’s as if I need an interpreter to speak to my own child.

It was like she didn’t hear a word I said.  When did I become Charlie Brown’s teacher?

I felt like my daughter and I were transported to a Bravo TV couch in the middle of a Real Housewives  reunion.  Nothing she said made any sense, but it didn’t matter what I thought, because well, everything I said was apparently just plain stupid.

Or as Caroline Manzo said this week in the reunion, “I am in a whirlwind of stupid.”

Oh Andy Cohen, do you make house calls?

Anyway the “conversation” ended when my daughter went to work.  I stewed, alongside my husband, both of us wondering where we went wrong.

Then we watched our zombies (The Walking Dead), then I watched my zombies in prettier packages (Real Housewives of New Jersey).

The next day my daughter came home from school and said, “Sorry, I was in a weird mood yesterday.  Don’t worry, I plan on finishing high school.”

And I thought the zombie apocalypse sounded hard.



20 thoughts on “Teen Apocalypse or The Walking Housewife of New Jersey

  1. Stacy Jensen

    As I recall, my parents didn’t do anything “wrong” I just sometimes got strange notions about how life should be. As a newbie parent, I have lots to learn. Maybe Cohen will be doing house calls when my son becomes a teen.

  2. Debra Kristi

    You have just shoved a scary thought in my head. Wow! I have worried about the kids trying to sneak out, throwing fire ladders over the balcony to escape detection. But the GED route never crossed my mind. Thankfully she thought better of it, but man that must have had you going for the night. My heart goes out to you.

    Hubby and I also curled up to watch the herd of zombies on Sunday night! Gotta love the Walking Dead!

  3. Susanna Hill

    I think you handled it brilliantly! As evidenced by the fact that she came home the next day and blamed it on a “weird mood.” She was testing the waters, you stayed calm but pointed out the impracticalities, and she heard you and found a way out that kept her dignity intact. If you had forbidden her to do it, she would have challenged you. Well done, I say! But yeah – I know exactly where you’re coming from. My daughter did the same thing last year 2 days before her college applications were due when she announced that she wasn’t going to college. So I feel your pain 🙂

  4. Suma Subramaniam

    I so agree with Susanna. You handled it really well. It must be very interesting raising a teenage daughter. I can trace your experience back to my life and think about all the trouble I gave my mom. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lani Wendt Young

    Loved this post! Well done on your handling of a true teenage zombie moment – and sorry but it had me laughing, although I know that you werent laughing at the time you were living it. My oldest child is 16 and yes, we as his parents are realizing that he changes his mind and perspective on stuff i nreally weird ways. And we have to learn not to freak out at every shift. Thanks for the great read!

  6. Tricia Conway

    Holy cow, what a great post in the sense that it absolutely kept my attention through to the end. I’m SO glad your daughter had a change of mind. I was reading, brainstorming suggestions of ways you could try and get through to her. Sounds like you handled it really well, though, so kudos for being one of those “in touch” parents!

  7. Jennifer Hendren


    So glad things worked out. As others before me pointed out, you handled things brilliantly.

    I know this wasn’t the main focus of your post… but the RHWNJ Reunion was:


    Whirlwind of stupid, indeed. (g)


  8. Sophia Chang

    I also couldn’t wait to leave high school so I did – I went straight to college after 3 years of h.s. and I couldn’t be happier. I graduated from Harvard when I was 20. But I DO NOT recommend a GED for anyone with some level of ambition. (I’m a college admissions coach so of course I’d say that lol)

    My situation was different though – I had an abusive and high-stress home life, I was a fairly high-achiever and a very driven child.

  9. Margo Berendsen

    Oh I know that frustrating feeling where you can still remember being a teen but have lost the ability to speak teen!!!

    But I think you hit on it there: they are more prone to passing fancies and thank good ness she was able to admit she was in a weird mood.

    They are not quite as single-minded as zombies!

  10. Emma Burcart

    I never would have thought there could be a three way connection among zombies, real housewives, and teenagers, but you totally pulled it off. I have never watched either of those shows, but now I want to check them out. Well, at least the housewives. I don’t do zombies. I became a vegetarian for 10 years after seeing Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Thanks for sharing your story will us in a way we can all relate to and enjoy in the process. I feel like Charlie’s Brown’s teacher all the time, so I’m glad I’m not the only one! Wah wah wah wah.

  11. SJ Driscoll

    Sorry for being an instigator, but–

    My son and daughter left high school after junior year. Both were immediately accepted into college. They had good grades, but neither had any community college courses, special recommendations, etc.

    Kids don’t always have to follow the rules!

  12. Kristy K. James

    Parenting is so much fun sometimes, isn’t it? Those times when your mind is screaming and you just want to shake your child…and scream right along with your brain…ARE YOU CRAZY???!!!

    The worst part is, I usually can understand where they’re coming from. As a former teenager myself, I know how much these young kids want to grow up. Fast. It’s just too bad they don’t realize that once you get there, there’s no turning back. And that once they do arrive, they’re going to wish they’d opted to stay a kid for as long as possible because being a grown-up isn’t as much fun in reality as it was in the dream.


    As someone who dropped out of school 6 months before graduation I can see both sides. Although I agree that there’s no real turning back from adulthood I’ve rarely regretted my decision. Just the same I’m happy for you that she’s changed her mind.

  14. Coleens daughter

    Gee thanks mom love you too :p
    I like the lady who said both of her kids left highschool after junior year…

    1. SJ Driscoll

      OK, now I’m in trouble! LOLOL
      As Kristy said, there is no turning back. Many times, I’ve wished I could’ve offered my kids more security. Each of them had a hard time–and many adventures! But they’re both doing stellar now and I’m so proud of them.
      Dear Coleen’s Daughter, it’s so hard to let go of the children you love! Even if it’s time, if circumstances force you to, if they’re really all right. Please understand that. I wish you all the best!

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