4 Evil Ways I’m Ruining My Teen’s Summer Vacation.

My evil plan to totally wreck my teen’s summer vacation.

I know, I know. It’s summer time. No homework, no early morning bolt out the door to get to school on time. It’s a summer break. Summer vacation. It’s supposed to be months of complete and total lazy, don’t-brush-your-teeth-for-days sloth.

At least that’s what my daughter thinks.

my plan to ruin my teen's summer vacation and unplug

I’m OK with some summer lazies. The only problem is, her idea of “lazy” is staring at a screen and not blinking for 14 hours. Food and bathroom breaks be damned. (Here’s my earlier rant about an entire summer of unrelenting screen time.)

If I didn’t care. Or if I didn’t imagine myself to be the worst mom on the planet. Or that I was setting my daughter up for a career that entails asking, “if you’d like fries with that”, I’d let her wither away watching hours of Japanese anime.

But, guess what, I do care. I don’t want her to be destined to a career that includes hair nets. I do want her to go to college.

And so, I’ve decided on my mission.

I will, I must, ruin my child’s summer vacation. It’s as simple as that.

my evil plan to ruin my teen's summer vacation

Here’s the specific steps I’m taking to totally ruin my teen’s summer vacation.

1. Make Her Read a Book.

Remember those? Made of paper, full of words? Often found in libraries, Barnes and Noble and by the master bathroom toilet? Yes, books. Somebody call child protective services because I’m going to assign my daughter a reading list of 10 books to read before the summer is over.

Yes, I’m that evil.

2. Unplug The Wireless Network.

Yes, when the computer doesn’t close. When the phone and ipad are hot as Hades from overuse, I’m going to unplug the damned wifi. Bam. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

This will probably end with tears and pouting. Nevertheless, I must remain strong.

3. Eye Contact & Conversation

It’s going down for real. I’m not only going to make her close her computer, there’s going to be conversation and eye contact. This might be tricky in the beginning but after a few days away from devices, her ability to form words and sentences will (hopefully) return. We’ll work our way back to eye contact with actual living beings. Eye contact might start off small, with her cats for instance. But anything worth attaining is worth working for.

And now for the big guns. 

The three words that strike fear in the hearts of teens everywhere. 


It brings back visions of the movie Vacation doesn’t it? Kids crammed into the back of the family truckster for shits and giggles at Wally World. Well, my present day adventure won’t be in a truckster with Chevy Chase, but will instead be in a Prius visiting towns across California. But some of the same teen road trip pain will be present.

Truck Stops in the middle of nowhere. Endless highways that stretch flat and long into nothingness and NO INTERNET.

Even I shudder just a bit thinking about it.

My teen might have to sit and look out the window at the passing big rigs. She might have to listen to crappy radio signals and bad 70’s songs and learn to be BORED.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to thoroughly ruin my teen’s summer vacation and deliver her to high school in a few months.

She’ll have read a few more books. Have a few more mosquito bites. Learned to be bored. And maybe even, God willing, we’ll have grown a little bit closer.

Cover me while I go unplug the wifi and ruin a teen’s summer vacation.

Wish me luck.



  1. says

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more. You are the best Mommy in the world in my book. She will remember this summer for the rest of her life…and some of it in a good way. And by the way, my 27-year-old and 24-year-old still talk about how I lied to them about things like the WIFI isn’t working. I’m not above that for the good of the cause, just sayin’! Good luck and enjoy, because you definitely will!

    • says

      Oh that’s an awesome sneaky mom trick! I might need to try that. Maybe I can say that the entire neighborhood is experiencing an outage! We are going to have fun and one day she’ll understand my mean mommying!

    • says

      Sue! thanks you for the kind words, I do hope that one day she will understand why I’m making her shut her computer and not have a data plan on her phone. One day she will understand if she becomes a parent herself!

  2. says

    You are an evil genius and so funny! I can tell you from experience that her teachers will thank you come September and someday she will too…but it’s probably going to be a little wait for that part to happen! This was so clever and well written, Rosie, but such an important topic. And I’m in awe that you’re shooting for EYE CONTACT. 😉 I had kids, I’m not kidding, in my 6th-grade classroom, standing face to face and texting back and forth TO EACH OTHER instead of talking.
    Go, Ninja warrior mom!
    Lee Gaitan recently posted…No Free LunchMy Profile

    • says

      Lee I love you and your pineapples! Thank you for the support, eye contact seems to have gone the way of cassette tapes but I’m trying to bring it out any way I can. I’m hoping that by the time she’s 30, maybe she will have forgiven me!!

  3. says

    I do love these, Rosemond! The road trip is awesome, and it gets better every year! After 18 years of making the same 15 hour trip each way with my daughter every summer, she finally gave us our own hashtag. Perseverance, my dear, perseverance! 😉 Or you could do what my niece did and create a “Dual Tolerance” playlist: a list of songs both she and her mom could handle (of course, that negates the whole “bad radio signal” experience). 😉 Have a great summer!
    Wendy recently posted…Between The Lines — The Art Of “Why Not?”My Profile

    • says

      Wendy! I want a hashtag!! 18 years of the same 15 hour trip, I bet that sparked lots of great car conversations (which is where all the good ones happen anyway!) I’m staying strong!! (so far!)

  4. says

    This is what summer is all about. I would say ruining summer is a bit much. May seem like it for a while, but someday when she is older, she will call on all the memories you are going to make! LOVE IT!

    • says

      Kim, thank you! We will have a blast but sure she’ll get sick of me telling her to put her electronics down and pick up a book! But one of these days maybe she will understand. Thanks SO much for visiting!

  5. says

    The best moms are the men ones. My daughters always thought I was out to ruin their lives. Someday she will return to the land of the living and actually converse on her own! My oldest was a tough teen, but now she is the one who calls me the most!

    • says

      Funny how that happens. I do think we have to do the tough work, which is not always the most popular thing to do according to our kids.

  6. says

    as a mom of former teenagers (before Facebook), I’m cheering you on! I unplugged the router, changed passwords, blocked cell phone usage (texting was and is still a big thing), and made my kids read (although, there was no arm twisting necessary, they both loved to read).

    These days, when we get together, they’re the ones reminding me to get off my phone 😉

    • says

      Peggy, it sounds like you totally won the parenting thing big time. And how wonderful that now you can see your hard work payoff. It’s really helpful to hear that you did these things and they still love you today!

  7. says

    I reckon a game of Scrabble too! I love torturing my kids in similar ways – funnily enough they turn out to be the best times usually that we look back on fondly. (-8

    • says

      Katie, you are cruel. Scrabble? Love it and will have to add to my mean mom summer arsenal. Yes, these simple times together usually do end up being the most special times we remember. Thanks for the mean mom support!

  8. says

    I was lucky that my daughter as a teen was a bookworm & a homebody – she rarely was online, even now! She loved having coffee & conversations & helping to look after her much younger siblings. My sons as teens, worked during the summer holidays. However in UK the holidays start at the end of July; we have 2 weeks family holiday & that leaves just 4 weeks ….
    Linda Hobden recently posted…An Interview With Tony PorterMy Profile

    • says

      Yes, boredom is a gift. Think of how many times we had to entertain ourselves and how we came up with ways to do that. Thanks for the support of my mean mommy summer!

  9. says

    Tough love but great strategies. What a rebel you are Rosamond. I have hope that your teen will have a GREAT summer once she goes through technology withdrawal. Now, to apply these same techniques to myself so I can enjoy my summer too. 🙂
    Molly STevens recently posted…Open the door to summertime!My Profile

    • says

      Oh it’s going to be tough. I do think there will be a tech withdrawal. Twitching fingers, blank stares. I know, I need to disconnect myself too!

  10. says

    Now, unplugging the wireless network is just cruel! LOL – love this post, and that you care enough to want the best for your daughter.

    • says

      Oh love these evil mommy ideas!! Eye contact, conversation and recapping her books!! My evil plan just got even more mean mommy (if that’s even possible!) Love your style Mama!

    • says

      Mary! I know you understand what I’m saying since you have teens at home too. I’d love to join our Link party! thanks for letting me know about it!

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