noun \ˈper-ən-tiŋ\
: the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves
: the things that parents do to raise a child

The way I look at parenting, it’s actually a combination of these two definitions – the things that parents do to raise a child till they are old enough or able enough to care for themselves. This leaves things wide open. I know there are plenty of books and classes out there to help guide you, but that’s all they are, guides. Each child is unique, so there is no one size fits all parenting tactic. Your parenting technique has to evolve as your child does. The key thing is to try to find a way to stay ahead of the curve with your parenting, just as you would at your job.

The infant years are about getting to know your baby. Learning what each little cry or coo means. Is it hunger, joy or maybe just gas? You have to some how master the skill of caring for another human being’s every need. This is something that becomes trial and error. Every person you meet gives you advice, but in the end, you have to find what works best for you and your baby. Going by the book could be a total disaster for both of you. Generally, trusting your instincts is the safest route, as long as you listen to them and not everyone willing to give you advice.

Just when you think you’re getting the hang of the parenting thing, that little eating, pooping and sleeping machine starts to walk and talk and becomes a toddler/pre-schooler, bringing a whole new set of skills you have to master. Now they’re on the move and mimicking everything you say and do. Better beware of your temper or what you say about a neighbor or co-worker, that sweet little angel just might blurt those very same words at just the wrong time, creating a very uncomfortable scene. Great stories after the fact, but not while you’re living them.

Before you can blink it’s time for elementary school. And homework, ugh! Not that elementary school is that challenging, but now there’s something more that had to be dealt with in the evenings. Not just dinner and bedtime and all that goes with it. Speaking of homework, when did they change how they teach math? By the time my son was in third grade I gave up trying to help. Thank God math is his thing. Reading, writing, history and even art, no problem, but the way they teach math made me feel like an imbecile. No more 2 + 2 = 4. Oh well, I can still balance my checkbook, which is really all I need to deal with any more.

I used to look back on my son’s infant and toddler years as the toughest, but that was before middle school. That’s when the real challenges came to a head. The cocky, know-it-all pre-teen came to play and I was not prepared. Having my son heading into puberty and me in the throws of menopause, we were living the clash of the hormones on a daily basis. We could go from screaming to waterfalls at any given moment. Add to this adjusting to middle school and we had the perfect storm. In middle school, kids are expected to be more responsible and there is less hand holding. Which I get, but, in my son’s case, it felt like he was thrown off the dock without a life preserver. This all helped to escalate the hormone wars. A war in which neither side was winning.

It was at this point I really found myself getting more and more creative with my parenting techniques in an effort to find harmony in the house and attempt to save what is left of my sanity. Having a bright and creative child doesn’t guarantee no headaches in the school work department, particularly when that child is also a bit immature, scattered, disorganized and not willing to take responsibility for his actions or inactions. These issues apply at home, too. Getting my son motivated to do anything became more and more of a problem. There were days I would take a terrible two tantrum over this.

That was until this past fall when my son dragged me into the world of “The Walking Dead.” A world I swore I would never enter. Boy was I wrong. I was sucked in just like the walkers suck the guts out of their victims. Now zombies and their apocalyptic world have become the neutralizing agent in the clash of the hormones. Through this common ground a new parenting technique was also born. I endearingly call it “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic.” I discovered by tapping into the shows character interactions and traits, I was able to get through to my son on levels I never  thought possible. At first this seemed a bit crazy, but after seeing some positive results from this method, I realized I just might be onto something. With that in mind, I decided to document our journey by starting this blog. I hope you enjoy reading about the lengths at which this single Mom of a zombie, aka teenager, will go to keep the peace while teaching her son some valuable life lessons, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll garner some insights that might help you wake your own walkers.