Highs and lows even out

By Mir
October 28, 2013

Sometimes people ask me about the secret to success when it comes to a blended family, and usually I laugh and laugh and then ask them what they mean by “success,” and also, have they actually MET my family…?

But I think I’ve figured it out. The key is to make All Things Family mimic the child’s natural propensity for mood shifts. Even-tempered kid? Keep things on a nice, regular keel. Not-so-even-tempered kid? Hit the outlet mall.

Where else can you go where—when your mother inquires about where to find that shirt in the window, and when the sales associate informs her that that’s the last one, but she’s welcome to have it—you find yourself dying of embarrassment as your mother steps into the window in front of God and everyone and starts dismantling a mannequin? And then your stepfather moves in to take some pictures of your mother making ridiculous faces with a disembodied plastic arm draped around her shoulders?

But then just when you’ve determined you cannot possibly live under these sorts of conditions, that very same mother (with the shirt she ripped off the mannequin, thankyouverymuch) waits in line at Aeropostale for, like, 45 minutes just to buy you some cool jeans while your stepfather waits in the car (thank God).

There you go. Free of charge, the secret to blending your family (and also picky-teen-approved jeans for $6): The outlet mall.


  1. js

    For us it’s Target. $2 soft pretzels + dollar deals= peace and harmony, forever and ever amen.

  2. Rachel

    That’s brilliant! I may have to try that.

    My current tip for a happy teen in a blended family is: she has nowhere else to go. Seriously. She and her dad got into a big fight, and she won’t go there any more. So, she has become much happier with me and much less angry in general, because she doesn’t have any more bridges to burn. Awesome.

  3. diane

    The Outlet Mall is the answer to an awful lot of life’s difficult questions, I’ve found…

  4. Jenne


    Way better than F I N A L L Y getting an Xbox360, and even getting to pick cool games with awesome perfect stepdad (who may actually be more excited about Xbox360 than you), and having the moment utterly destroyed by Mom in a full-length hot pink down coat complaining that they don’t have the 80s vintage arcade game compilation with Ms. PacMan in stock!

    ROFL ;)

  5. dad

    One can never humiliate one’s child too much in the patient search for bargains.

    Please send photos of your encounter with the mannequin.

  6. Little Bird

    Actually, POST the pictures of the encounter with the mannequin! Pretty please?

    • Heather

      I concur ;)

    • Jenne

      You can’t really put that out there without also sharing the pics! ;)

  7. Jeanie

    I second (or third) the idea of posting the mannequin photos!

  8. addy

    Photos are required. Also, go to said kids school in a winnie the pooh santa hat and talk to the office staff about some pressing matter – between classes when there are many kids around.

  9. Chris

    Photos please!!!!

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