Guest blogger Marian Merritt, member of Family Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board, on her “prom mom” experiences.

All I can say is now that the prom is over, I’m so relieved and a bit exhausted! Even with that big sigh of relief, I want to tell you that M’s prom can certainly be described as a BIG success. A success from a parent point of view, because as far as I know, there were no problems or situations requiring me to run to rescue my daughter, her date or any of her friends from trouble. There were no frantic calls for emergency supplies of comfortable shoes, safety pins, hair spray or first-aid supplies. And a big success because my lovely daughter left the house happy and excited and arrived home smiling and exhausted.

The preparations began as usual with a trip to the local hair salon. Umberto Los Angeles was hopping with excited teens and their parents and there were two girls from the class leaving with finished styles just as we arrived. M began her salon experience with a manicure and pedicure in matching pale pink polish. Then she went off to get her hair washed. I think I was allowed to tag along at the salon not only to pay the bills but also to advise her on her hair style. She really wasn’t that interested in any of my suggestions from the salon magazines or pictures of celebrity hairstyles we found on the Internet. Then we looked at the Momster Prom 2012 hairstyle article on my smartphone while she was sitting in the stylist’s chair. That helped! M decided on long, romantic curls without any ornaments, clips or fancy braiding. And as it turned out, she was right because it was so pretty!

While M was getting her hair washed, another of her friends was getting the finishing touches on her updo with our hair stylist. So I had a nice chat with her, took a photo and emailed it to her mother. Then when M was in the chair, the other girl went off to get her makeup done at the MAC counter in the department store at the mall. </p><p>After M’s hair was completed, we drove to the home of a very close friend of hers we’ll call “J”. J happens to be extremely artistic and this skill extends itself to makeup application. She had volunteered to make M up and she was so good at it, I think I’ll have to hire her for my next big event!  She’s just that talented and took all the right steps to clean her brushes and keep everything professionally organized in kits from Sephora and The Container Store. She also spent a lot of time considering shades and materials to give M just the right soft, sophisticated look. I asked her how she learned to do makeup application at her young age and she replied, “from watching lots of YouTube videos and lots of practice.”

By the time we arrived back home, M’s date and steady boyfriend “S” had arrived with his mom. We had to sneak M past him so she could finish dressing without him seeing her. Then with her dress and glittering sandals and earrings in place, she emerged to loads of “oohs” from her boyfriend, his mother, her parents and even her little sister. Then we took a few photos in our living room as S put the wrist corsage in place and then we all jumped into the car for the short drive to the “pre-prom” festivities.

I’m not sure we had a “pre-prom” when I was in high school but what a super idea! One of the grad’s parents hosted a backyard event where the parents and siblings could visit with each other, take photos of the prom-goers and enjoy the warm summer evening together. Many of the families have become close after more than 15 years of having our children in school together. After an hour of socializing, the parents peeled off for other events and dinners back at home. A party bus came to the house to take all the kids and their dates off to the prom.

The prom was held in a party space that was, up until recently, a Hollywood nightclub. There were parent chaperones and security provided by the site. They had music and dancing and the festivities went on until about 1:30 a.m. when the party bus came back and took the kids home. One interesting innovation: there was a special “after prom” time during the evening where underclassmen and friends of the students who had purchased tickets could join the prom goers. That seems like a nice way to carve out separate events, raise additional funds and include as many students from this small school as possible.

After talking to few other moms today, most of the kids had a wonderful time. One boy was heard to describe the evening as “overrated” but he was the exception. For the other kids, last night they felt a connection to each other, an electric feeling that lasted all prom night long. There is something magical that can give two kids on a prom date a special bond and a lasting memory. At the same time, there’s an inherent pressure that prom night should be “perfect” and completely different from regular teen life. That kind of pressure can backfire and cause anyone to feel deflated, disappointed, and a bit of “is that all there is?” Fortunately, life will present many more occasions for our teens to put on some fancy clothes, spend too much money and stay out too late. But there is never anything quite as exhilarating as the preparation that goes into prom and for that, I’ve been happy to share all of it with you.

Marian Merritt is a mother of three (two teens and a tween) and works for security company Norton by Symantec. You can read her internet safety blog She serves on Family  Circle’s Tween/Teen Advisory Board and has written the award-winning Norton Family Online Safety Guide, now in its third edition.