Two of my biggest challenges in life are computers and kids - I deal with them on a regular basis, I have no idea how they work, and they frequently frustrate me. I tend to stumble along and hope things will work out - "My hard drive is making a funny noise but it's not urgent", or "Yeah, I should call about tutoring/therapy/trying to find pants for them, but I'm swamped this week . . . "
However, yesterday I had no choice, my laptop was completely on the blink, and given how much time I spend working in the car while I wait for the boys at their various activities, this was like having a non-functioning right arm. So I fought through my fears (It'll take forever! They'll think I'm an idiot! I won't understand what to do and I'll cry on the phone with a total stranger!) and called the Apple Care number - a charming (and handsome-sounding) young man walked me through re-installing my system, without shaming me, and he even made an appointment for me at a local store to have the battery compartment screw fixed and the loose 'C' key re-attached. The best part? (Apart from my brandnew computer customer service agent fantasy?) It was quick, easy, it worked, and now I know what I'm doing!
So all I need is a 1-800 number for my kids. I can't help it, I'm always second-guessing myself; When is a reasonable bed-time for a 12-year-old? Where's the line between age-appropriate separation and unacceptable rudeness? How do I encourage good study habits? What do I say to an over-extended over-tired 15-year-old who moves understandably slowly in the morning? (Apparently, "Time to get up, you're going to be late" isn't correct, given the crabby reaction I got today!) I want to call some nice, understanding, handsome-sounding customer service agent who will walk me through all my conflicts, make me feel competent, and set up all the appointments I need (tutoring/therapy/trying to find pants to fit a short 12-year-old who won't wear jeans, and a lanky 15-year-old whose pants size is 30/34 except no one on the planet makes those!)
Until someone comes up with that hotline, I guess I'll muddle through like I usually do, call my girlfriends for advice and reassurance, and remind myself that our parents survived without internet, parenting books, microwaves, ziploc bags, or spanx . . . it could be worse!