When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember spending an entire afternoon organizing my makeup into a Caboodles case. I spent hours arranging my Cover Girl foundation, blue and green eye shadow palettes, and hot pink blush kits in my carryall. I’m not sure why I thought I was going to need to haul every bit of makeup I owned to school. But that’s what a teenage girl did in the 80s.
I can remember spending hours in my room, surrounded by Teen Beat magazine pictures of Ricky Schroeder, Kirk Cameron, and the New Kids On The Block as I styled my hair with watermelon scented Salon Selectives gel and jacked it up high with Rave hairspray. My boom box was always set to the local radio station. I’d dive over my bed to hit “Record” when I heard the opening beats of Debbie Gibson’s latest tune.
I have no idea what my parents thought I was doing in my room for hours on end. And, frankly, no one really came up to investigate.
I guess they figured it was best to leave the hormonal, blue eye-shadowed Madonna wannabe alone.
Man, those were the days.
I’d mostly forgotten about how I spent my time as a teen until my daughter became a teenager. The first time I knocked on her door and found her organizing her earring collection while listening to Imagine Dragons, I realized that the apple hadn’t fallen far from the tree.
Having a teenage girl in the house has reminded me of the other parts of my teen years that I’d forgotten.
1. Teen girls really do spend eons in the bathroom.
When I hear my son banging on the bathroom door, demanding to be allowed to use the shower, I smile. I used to commandeer the only full bathroom in our house. I’d roll my hair into Clairol hot bender rollers or crimp it into weird wrinkled waves with a hot iron.
These days, it’s my daughter who is spending hours tending to her locks in front of the mirror and taking showers that seem to go on for days.
2. Teen girls don’t instinctively know how to shave.
A few years ago, our family was attending a pool party. And I happened to catch a glance at my daughter as she cannonballed into the water. I was astonished to see her hairy armpits. In an instant, I realized that I’d simply assumed she knew what to do with a razor.
Later, I asked her if she knew how to shave and she admitted she was afraid she’d cut herself and bleed to death so she had been avoiding it. As we sat perched on the side of the tub while I taught her how to use a razor, I was grateful that disposable razors had improved since the days I was stuck using Bic razors designed for men.
3. Teen girls tell very, very, very long stories.
Listen, I love that my daughter wants to share the details of her day with me. But, if I’m being honest, I would really appreciate if she’d use fewer words. On the way home from school the other day, it took her an entire car ride to detail an issue she had with a microphone at stage crew rehearsal. And, no matter how many head nods and “Uh hms,” I utter, she doesn’t seem to know her audience.
My apologies to anyone who asked me how my day was when I was 16.
4. Teen girls panic about their periods — and they have much better products than we did.
When my daughter got her first period, I was actually jealous of the slim, colorful, and discreet sanitary products on the market. When I told my daughter that Kotex pads used to be the size of pillows, she rolled her eyes. Because of course she did.
When my daughter confided that she was terrified of getting her first period at school, I was instantly transported back to my teen years. Back then, I avoided gym class because of cramps. I worried that my period would fall on the day I was going to a pool party with friends.
5. Teen girls are seriously dramatic.
I can’t tell you the number of times I stormed out of a room, stomped up the stairs and slammed my door when I was 16. What I didn’t realize is that my parents probably laughed as I made my dramatic exit because teen girl drama is not only epic, it’s funny.
While living with a teenage girl is often a landmine of emotions and feelings, the good news is that I never have to worry about where I stand with my daughter. She’s likely to tell me with an eye roll or a giant hug that I never want to end.
There’s no in between.
Watching my teen daughter navigate her adolescence has been a stroll down memory lane. It’s also made me really miss that purple and hot pink Caboodles case and my Liz Claiborne perfume. I did get to attend a New Kids On The Block concert recently with my husband, which only confirmed that I’ll always be a teenage girl at heart.
This post originally appeared on Your Teen for Parents.