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Monthly ‘Date’ Days With My Teens

This year, my New Year’s goal planning was given a new lease of life, thanks to an amazing suggestion by my wise friend. I started with how I wanted the year to feel in different areas, rather than specific goals. For example, under the relationship section, I wrote, “Individual special, mutually supportive and joyful connections with Rosie and Harry.” And hence was born the idea of monthly ‘date’ days, with my teens, individually, to nurture our special bonds.

On our Herbal Remedies Course last summer

As my children mature and grow in independence, they need me less and less. I feel this especially keenly as a homeschool mum. When they were little, we connected over hours spent together reading, exploring, doing projects, art or games. Now, their learning is much more independently led, and this is mirrored in their social time too.

This is all exactly as it should be. I want them to go out into the world, spread their wings, shine their lights, and find their people and their passions.

But as their needs and interests change, I want to find a way to keep alight that special bond I have with each of them. In a way that isn’t so much a parent-child relationship as an adult-adult bond, i.e. genuine and equal connection over a shared hobby or passion.

On Their Terms

Sometimes being led by their interests is no hardship. Rosie loves acting and so going to the theatre together is an obvious, and for us both, a joyful choice. I felt such a buzz of excitement as I heard the introductory notes of Be My Baby as I sat next to my little girl awaiting the start of Dirty Dancing, the musical.

Other times it means being a little brave and stepping outside your own comfort zone. For example, Harry loves thrash and heavy metal. Think Iron Maiden or Slipknot. The music scene was a big part of my teenage years too, but more along the line of 90s Indie music. Substantially lighter on the ears than Harry’s choices!

I remember though the sheer joy of going to watch a band play live either in a small venue or at a festival, like Glastonbury. Sharing stories of the bands I’d seen or crowd surfing, his eyes would light up.

So, I decided to take the plunge and find him a thrash metal concert. The only one available was the heaviest of them all: Slipknot! But I was feeling brave (or crazy!), and booked us both tickets for Dec…

The sheer and unadulterated joy and excitement he feels about this makes it all worthwhile!

Monthly ‘Date’ Days with My Teen Daughter

Over the years, Rosie and I have done many mum-daughter adventures together, dates of a sort. From tandem bike riding to sleeping in a shepherd’s hut in the Scottish mountains to aerial hooping.

Here are our 2024 plans:

A Literary Picnic. My vision for this was sitting on a picnic blanket by a babbling brook, with the sun streaming down on us, as we read each other excerpts from our favourite books or poems and chatting about what the words mean to us. This feels very Anne of Green Gables, a character who reminds me so much of Rosie. Who knows if the reality will live up to the dream, but if not, like Anne, we will let our imagination fill in the gaps!

Theatre Trips. Sister Act is currently booked, but there’s bound to be more!

Escape Room. We introduced her to these too young and scared the little life out of her in the process (bad parenting moment…). But now she’s older and with a love of puzzles, codes and deduction, she’s excited to face her fear and try a new one with me.

Potter’s Wheel. I have always wanted to have a go at wheel throwing: the technique for shaping ceramics on a potter’s wheel. And it turns out she has too, so we’ll book a course for the two of us and get our creative vibe going!

Photo Board. An afternoon of printing out our favourite family photos from across the years and making a collage on a simple cork board in her room. A cheap date (!) but one that she’ll love!

Afternoon Tea. There’s something special about getting dressed up and being spoiled with delicious cakes and tea whilst having a good natter.

Circus Skills. We’ll be trying out an aerial silks class this time after the success of aerial hooping. I’m not the most coordinated but I know we’ll have a giggle!

Sea Swimming. With a BBQ and a blanket, it’ll make for a lovely summer’s evening date.

Beach Art. Although we’re no Andy Goldsworthy, I’m really excited to create our own art sculpture on the beach together.

Glamping & Stargazing. Sleeping out in nature but in a comfortable and cosy bell tent is right up our street.

Cinema Night. Such a simple one but no less enjoyable for it.

Monthly ‘Date’ Days with My Teen Son

I’ve also done quite a lot of mum-son adventures with Harry over the years, from singletrack bike trails through the woods to speed boating on the Thames to a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Here’s our list for 2024:

Slipknot Concert. Most definitely his number one. He’s so keen to share his passion with me that he’s made me four different Slipknot playlists to get me concert-ready, Levels 1-4, increasing in song intensity!

Tracking & Nature Awareness Course. Learning different mammalian tracks and how to identify what animals are present using clues such as their scat, pellets, gnaws and scratches, feeding & kill sites. Can’t wait to get down and dirty with the badger poo!!

Oil Painting Class. He’s always enjoyed oil painting but is keen to learn how to do it properly and I’m only too happy to join him for the ride!

Make Dens in the Woods & Sleep Overnight. Not going to lie, this is another that’s a little out of my comfort zone, but I love that he stretches my boundaries and pushes me to be braver.

Photography Class. Again, something both of us have always wanted to explore further. I suspect this one might not be a one off!

Tennis. Hiring a court for a friendly but highly competitive tennis match is something we’ve loved doing since he was little.

Round of Golf. Another sport he’s substantially more proficient at than me, but we both love playing a round at our local course together.

Crazy Golf. The playing field feels far more level in the fun world of crazy golf!

Strength & Conditioning Sessions. OK, so this doesn’t exactly sound like a traditional ‘date’ night, but he is very keen to train me in his world of strength and conditioning – another one of his passions.

Rowing. This one is more my passion than his. I rowed competitively at university and find it so therapeutic to be out on the water. I’m so excited to share this skill of mine with him.

Fishing. Not one that either of us know how to do, but we’re both keen to learn.

Run/Chat & Breakfast on the Beach. Harry has a lot going on in his brain and he finds it hard to switch off. We’ve found that running with me and downloading all his thoughts is a helpful process. And it means I can just about keep up with him whilst he talks, giving the occasional breathless grunt! Follow this up with breakfast on the beach and you can’t go wrong!

This year, we’ve come up with a really varied list of options, but in reality, simple can be just as, if not more, effective. What’s essential is simply the special 1:1 time spent together connecting through play and joy.

What have been your favourite mum-teen dates?

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  1. This is such a lovely post – precious memories and photos to cherish! What great outings and activities for you to be in the moment and present with each other. I can definitely relate to being outside of my comfort zone when I tried white water rafting with my thrill seeking husband and son, ha ha!

    1. Thanks so much Nicky!

      White water rafting sounds awesome fun – love that you were brave enough to push outside your comfort zone! It so bonding doing family activities like that together – creating lifelong memories. xxx

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