Prom is stupid. Sure, I know that sounds a bit harsh, but I’m just not the kind of mom who gets all excited about spending loads of money to send a kid to a party. Go ahead, call me a party-pooper, but that’s just the way I feel.
However, as stupid as I think proms are, I have a fun-loving teenage daughter who wouldn’t have missed her junior prom for the world. So, I strapped on my “I’m here for you” smile and off to the mall we went. (That is, after she had spent MONTHS looking for a dress online and I’d shot down every single one.)
It was the easiest shopping trip ever: “I’m going to Teavana and Williams Sonoma. Call me when you find something.” One Youthberry iced tea and a new mug later, the phone rang. Now, let me preface this by saying I have clear clothing rules when it comes to these things–no cleavage, nothing tight, nothing hanging out. I don’t stress about colors or tradition or impressing other people. So, when I got there and found it was a romper, I was initially a bit surprised, but it fit my parameters (and dad was ok with it), so I told her yes.
It was a stress-free Saturday afternoon. Just like I like ’em. We talked about it being different, and how she wouldn’t have to worry someone else would be wearing her outfit. My beautiful non-conformist was happy and all was right in the world.
That is, until she told her “date” what she was wearing. Then, our stress-free and happy slowly morphed into messy and drama. It wasn’t long before everyone in the house was wishing she had just gone with her girlfriends like she’d originally planned.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details. Just know that there was a lot of back and forth with her date’s mom about appropriate prom outfits, new teen drivers and our non-negotiable family boundaries. All in all, my daughter learned some significant lessons and came out unscathed. I managed to survive it all too, and here are my tips to help you survive your first (or next) prom as a mom or dad!
Surviving Your First Prom as a Mom
- Set boundaries before-hand. As you read, we were very clear about what we would allow. We covered clothing, budget, transportation and curfews. It also helped that we already had clear boy-girl relationship rules in place, so there was little for her to question here.
- Communicate. Talk to your child, his/her date and the date’s parents. I gotta tell you, this was the worst part of it all for me. It would have helped if she’d gone with someone we knew well. Nevertheless, we remained true to our values and communicated what would and would not work for us. This is the point at which you also want to
nagtalk to your little bucket of hormones about sex, alcohol, drugs and consequences. Don’t gloss over this, friends. It’s an un-fun part of your job, but it is an essential part of your job.
- Stick to your budget. Outfit+shoes+makeup+hair+nails+photographer+driver+dinner= a lot of money for one night. Don’t let that force you to use a credit card. Shop smart, shop early and set an amount you can afford to part with. Set a good example for your teen on this one. Don’t let him/her develop the habit of overspending for special occasions.
- Plan ahead. This goes hand-in-hand with the budgeting. Cars book up quickly, hairstylists are busy on prom days and things tend to get more expensive closer to the night. Don’t wait until the last minute to start booking things. You’ll regret it.
- Safety first. We opted for renting a town car so we could avoid the dangers of teen-prom-night-girl-alone-in-the-car-with-a-boy-driving. It was definitely worth the price. We also had our daughter share her location from her iPhone and we had a discussion about the X-Plan. If you haven’t heard of that, I recommend you read that post. I think it’s a clever idea, although we chose an alternative for her to text.
My final piece of advice is to take plenty of deep breaths and keep reminding yourself and your child that this is just one night in a long and promising life. If you stick to your family’s values and determine to keep things as stress free as possible, things will work out. Oh, and remember to try to have fun with your teen in the process. You’ll grow in your relationship because of it!
Now, I’d love to hear about your experiences. What was your first prom as a mom like? Let’s chat about it in the comments below or on The MamaZone’s Facebook page.
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P.S. I was pretty sure who ever invented prom could not have been a parent. If you’re curious about the history of prom, here’s a funny post on the origin of prom and a brief history from TIME magazine.