Step 1. Find a teenage boy. They are most likely the body sprawled on a bed like a shirtless starfish with a hygiene problem.
Step 2. Knock on the teenage boy’s door. It is crucial that you knock, no matter what time it is. 2 a.m.? Knock. 3 a.m.? Knock. 4 a.m? Knock on that damn door like you’re a DEA agent with a warrant and Scarface is inside stacking up his cocaine. You are not knocking to be polite. You are knocking to protect your delicate psyche from seeing things you cannot unsee.
Step 3. Prepare to enter the teenage boy’s room. Do so by rubbing under your nose whatever it is medical examiners rub under their noses when they’re conducting an autopsy on a body pulled from the river. If you don’t have any of this stuff, tie a bandana around your face like an Old West gunfighter. You are not shielding your nose to be polite. You are shielding your nose so it doesn’t fall off your face.
Step 4. Slowly enter the teenage boy’s room. It will be dark. It will be dank. You will step on a Lego. “But my kid hasn’t played with Legos for 10 years!” you say. Doesn’t matter, baby. You will step on a Lego.
Step 5. Stand by the bed and prepare to rouse your teenage boy. But first, gaze adoringly upon his sweet angel face for a moment. Let his entire life replay in your head, from beautiful newborn, to enchanting toddler, to the 5th grader who filled your life with joy.
Step 6: Calmly say to your son, “Wake up, darling.”
Step 7. Listen as your son calmly replies back, “UGHHHHHH, LEAVE ME ALONE! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRYING TO SLEEP, WOMAN?”
Step 8. Prepare for battle.
Step 9. Using your most passive aggressive voice yell, “Time to get up for school, sweetie!” then grab the teenage boy’s grimy size 11 foot that’s sticking out of the covers, and yank on it like a mofo who’s just shotgunned 10 energy drinks down at the Chevron station. There will be no missed school bus today. Not on your damn watch.
Step 10. If you’re lucky, your teenage boy will now be standing up and scowling at you. If you’re unlucky, your teenage boy will now be collapsed on the floor and scowling at you while he Snapchats your morning wrinkle face. But the important thing is, he’s finally acknowledging your existence. Celebrate, mom! Today you’re more than an ATM with legs.
Step 11.While your teenage boy disinfects his armpits and puts on Under Armour clothes he finds wadded in the hamper, spend a few moments in deep contemplation. How can the son you once spent hours and hours trying to get to sleep now be the son you spend hours and hours trying to wake up? Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
Step 12. It is not ironic. It is fucking bullsh*t, is what it is.
Step 13. Finally dressed and fed, your surly teenage boy is now ready to head out into the world. Attempt to kiss him good-bye while he dodges you and mutters, “Ewww gross”, then as soon as he’s out of the house, lovingly deadbolt the door behind him. You did it, champ! You can finally take a deep breath. For many, many reasons.
Step 14. It’s now your time to plop down on the couch and relax with a cup of coffee. But first, make the next teenage boy wake-up ordeal easier on everyone by setting the alarm for tomorrow morning. Simply grab your son’s alarm clock, turn the setting to loud, then turn the dial to 3:30 a.m and put it under his pillow.
Smile to yourself knowing that one of you will sleep well tonight.
Step 15. And it won’t be the shirtless starfish with a hygiene problem.