Thirteen years ago, a doctor handed me a pink bundle and said, “She’s yours”.
And while it wasn’t said out loud, I’m pretty sure the “Don’t screw her up” was implied. I could swear I heard it, though.
Since the day that pink bundle was resting on my C section scar, the weight and enormity of raising a confident, plucky, strong girl has never been far from my mind.
These days, with social media, celebrities who weigh approximately 46 pounds, mean girls, and Kim Kardashian, parents of girls have their work cut out for them.
Lately, I have found myself quietly watching the little girl we used to have transform into a young lady and if I’m being honest, that transformation has me running scared. She’s almost thirteen which means, I only have five more years to get her ready to fight for herself in the real world.
Five more years to make sure she knows how to braise a roast, manage her iCloud storage and distinguish between a douchebag and Prince Charming.
That’s not a lot of time.
And it makes me twitchy.
What if I forget to tell her something? What if I miss an opportunity to impress upon her the importance of never buying sheets with less than a 200 thread count? What if she leaves my house without ever having learned how to make the Thanksgiving stuffing her father’s side of the family eats (it’s DISGUSTING but, dammit, she needs to know….).
There are just SO. MANY. THINGS I want her to know. Like:
Girls should never apologize for saying NO. Say it to boyfriends, bosses, scary PTA moms, and the pushy lady at Bath and Body Works. And own it. Because you are allowed. Because #MeToo.
Every girl should own one couch that they picked out with no one else’s opinion except their own.
You may love him now, but his mother loved him first. Respect her.
Knowing how to cook will save you hundreds of dollars in your first apartment.
The first time you poop after a C section, you will think you just saw God, all his angels and the Pearly Gates.
The girl is always entitled to an orgasm. Every time. It’s not just about him. And if he says otherwise, put your clothes back on and go home.
Life is too short for cheap haircuts and flimsy pink razors. Pay extra for both.
Every girl needs a good pair of tweezers. Because chin hairs.
Jackie Onassis never wore Daisy Dukes. You shouldn’t either.
The man to marry is the one who will stand next to you, not in front of you.
Shoes and handbags ALWAYS fit. So buy the good ones.
Nothing makes a woman look more in control than a well cut dress, spike heels and red lipstick. Work it. Even if you think your hips are too big.
There will be women who will judge you, challenge you and try to break your spirit. Ignore them. Smile at them. Pity them.
When money is tight, peanut butter has protein, oranges prevent scurvy and $10 bottles of wine are necessary.
If you are going through it, your mother probably did, too. Ask for her advice.
And this list is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even mention the fact that her thighs won’t always look like they do when she’s sixteen. So very much that I want to tell her, that I don’t want to forget to mention or expound on. To somehow make it easier for her to grow into the woman I know she’ll become. As I look at her now, sitting next to me, quietly doing homework, I am in awe of her. Speechless, really, as I watch this beautiful creature grow right before my eyes.
Fortunately, I still have five years to remember what I want to say.
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Beautiful post. It made me choke up. Honestly, I think I’d be too scared to raise a child – especially a daughter- in this time and age! One thing – coming from an adult daughter; she may not always agree with you. In fact, she will go through a phase of rebellion (most likely). But, your daughter knows how much you love her. When it matters most, your voice will be in her head guiding her to make smart choices and reminding her to trust her instincts.
Take the pressure off yourself. I am a marginally functional adult who lived with her dad. I learned it all on my own including the stuffing and that tampons rock (there we differ). She has you in her court. That will be enough.
Congrats on getting her this far. My girl turns 13 on Tuesday and I still sit beside her while she does her homework… Because I can.
Woman, yes. So much yes I don’t even have time to list the reasons why. Just YES.
Peanut butter and oranges, I still live on a similar diet, probably because my kids are still so little. But I choke up when I think about the overwhelming task of turning them loose into the world.
You’re doing good mama, you’re not messing her up.
My daughter just turned 14 this past June and is already making plans for getting a job next summer, saving up for a car and college. She just started 9th grade, and like you, I find myself in so much awe when I watch her sometimes. I feel like the next four years are going to rush by, how the heck am I going to teach/tell her everything I want her to know?!
My little one will be turning 9 next month. I’m in happy tears reading this. Thank you for putting into words what plays out in my mind.
Oh my – you are so right. I am so scared of how badly I am messing up – and she is bright, funny, cheeky, well behaved – so far anyway. But calm down on some of it -my mum taught me about how to roast dinner quite recently, because I just wasn’t interested when I was at home, but now, I kinda want to know.
Loved this post.
There is so much we feel we need to teach them in such a short space of time but sometimes things can only be learnt through life happening!
I love this. And the pooping after childbirth thing? Yeah, you nailed that one.
LOVE this! So true! And so funny! Sometimes I assume my daughter knows everything that’s in my head already. I’m surprised when I mention something that she’s not already familiar with, so I do a quick knowledge transfer! I can see I need to add some of the items from your list too!!
Yes, I LOVED this! And Yes, I WILL share!!!
I am going to save this and let my 11 year old daughter read it. Maybe she will finally understand what I am trying to tell her. I only have her at home for 7 more years, and I am terrified that I won’t teach her everything she needs to know.
Nice post. My mom never told me much and I turned out alright, even though it took a few years and mistakes to learn some things. We, as moms, cannot teach them everything. Plus they need to make their own choices – what if she is not into red lipstick? Good work, ladies.
Yes, Yes, Yes!!! the funny thing is, I don’t have any daughters, I have two sons, and amazingly enough, I have had the same fears, because I don’t want my sons’ ability to eat to rest on some girl’s ability to cook. they all have to know it ALL!! I had to teach them how to change a flat, and the oil, both in the car, and the fryer. these are all normal fears, I say if you DON’T have any nervousness about being a mom, THAT’S when you’re screwing it up! I’m still afraid, and my youngest is 19 years old, the bad news is, around 17-19 they turn into the demons your parents wished on you, it takes a couple of years, a little hardship on their part, then they come back, they will never admit to their epiphany, but they will be more humble and more apt to ask for your advice and TAKE IT, so there’s that. good luck hun, you’re doing great, our fear of screwing the pooch on this one is what’s keeping us straight. the two most important lessons I’ve ever taught my children are these.. when you’re in trouble, turn to me, if you’re in the right, I will defend you until my last breath, if you’re wrong, I will help those in authority hold you accountable, but I will not let them screw you. They know from personal experience that both statements are true. but the most important thing is that they have to tell me the TRUTH, because if i’m trying to defend them and get blindsided, God Bless their butts!
Yes! That is one of my pet peeves. Boys need to learn everything too so they can be independent and not be dependant on a girl. Good for you to teach them how to make a roast! Teach them laundry and dishwasher loading while you are at it! 😉
You made me cry reading this ‘cos it’s so true… My little girl is 5 and she’s growing way too fast. She’s my 3rd and last child and I just want the time to slow down so I can savour every moment of her (and her two older brothers)….
That was just fantastic. I’ll take notes. My daughters are 5 & 6 and though I have a 16 year old son, raising these girls terrifies me! Mostly because … They’re insane. But I teared up there at the end.
Mine will be eight in August and I think about this all the time. There is so much to tell. I just hope she never stops listening. 😉
My youngest daughter is now 19. A freshman at Temple, legal studies major. You know you ‘won’ when said child comes home from school and said ‘some boy/teacher/friend/friend’s parent/guidance counselor’ told me I couldn’t something’ and she responds like this:
J: They gave the ASVAB in school today (ASVAB is military aptitude test – she has ALWAYS wanted to be a Navy Lawyer – think JAG)
J: Recruiter who gave the test said ‘isn’t that cute, a little girl wants to be a lawyer’
Me: (bristling, but waiting to hear what she did) And you said?
J: I let the test speak for me. I made the highest score in the school and he said possibly in the area, tho.
Me: (internal grinning) And then what?
J: He comes over all hang-dog like and says “I guess you CAN be a lawyer if you want’…..and THAT is how you take an ASVAB!
You’ll do fine……she won’t have it any other way.
That is the best thing I’ve heard in the history of ever. GOOD FOR HER~
in your post and previous expneieecr, I see that to empower our clients, social workers need to recognize the power that goes with their jobs and handle it wisely and carefully.
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There's a wonderful Poporn dessert at Arras – swing by FoodiePop's blog to have a look if you haven't already. (Hope you're relaxing that back whilst you're at the Gold Coast.)
4 dÃ©cembre 2012hello cynthia,bravo et merci pour tes videos,bien jouÃ© pour le derniere video : quand on pense au temps perso que Ã§a doit prendre de faire toutes ces videos et rÃ©ponses… c’est dingue de voir que les gens ne prennent mm pas 3 secondes pour chercher….En tout cas : merci de continuer, ma meilleure copine et moi te soutenons Ã 1000% !!Bonne continuation Delphine (et Florence)
Rajoy saca pecho por su hazaÃ±a, pero su hazaÃ±a es solo la contataciÃ³n de que otros mÃ¡s grande, como Francia, tampoco van a cumplir con su objetivo de deficit.El nuevo objetivo impuesto a EspaÃ±a es casi el doble del que deberÃa ser y ademÃ¡s los efectos van a ser mÃ¡s devastadores porque se va a aplicar en solo ocho meses en lugar de un aÃ±o por el interÃ©s electoral del Partido Popular.Salud, RepÃºblica y Socialismo
Eldest is 17 and cutting loose to college in 6 short months. I. Am. Losing. My. Shit.