As they get ready to walk out our door, our daughters make us the smartest people on earth. There’s something about taking a girl to Claire’s to get her ears pierced, then handing her car keys a few years later that makes us realize these babies know NOTHING, and we know EVERYTHING — we know all the bad things that could happen to her, and all the things she needs to know to find happiness.
Moms want to tell their daughters so much before they leave home
It’s a heavy burden, knowing everything. And it’s only natural that as time is running out with our girls under our roofs, we want to tell them some of what we know. So, you may ask, are her final years of high school the time to cram all this vital last-minute wisdom into that beautiful head you love so much?
Actually, no. It’s time to bite your tongue and go for ice cream. And occasionally for pedicures.
Yes, time is short, and there’s stuff she needs to know. But our last few years of parenting a daughter is already packed with unwelcome lessons and, sadly, some friction. My advice; let somebody else say the stuff she won’t like hearing.
Call in reinforcements. Draft someone who loves her but doesn’t have to tell her ten times to get her clothes out of the dryer.
My 20-something daughters say there are 14 things they’re glad they know, but wish I hadn’t been the one to tell them
1. Friends don’t let friends…
text while driving
get discount body art
2. A friend who is mad at you for taking her car keys is better than a dead friend.
3. You can tell a lot about a guy by the way he treats…
the guy who steals his parking spot
4. When your best friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with them, resist the urge to comfort one by cursing the other. They’ll probably get back together tomorrow.
5. A mother is only as happy as her saddest child. So tell your mom when the crisis is over.
Leave out the details if you want, but tell your mom you’re happy again. She worries.
6. Birth control fails more than one percent of the time.
7. Have an escape and rescue plan.
Even smart, strong women get victimized. If you’re on a date or out on the town and things get scary, use an escape plan you have worked through in advance with a friend. Crawling out the bathroom window of the restaurant only works in the movies.
8. A bad attitude makes your butt look big.
And not in a good way.
9. You are someone’s view.
As you roll out of bed and into your sweats for an unstructured day, think about all the people who will be treated to the vision of you.
Most people care about what they are seeing, what they are hearing, and what they are smelling. Senses define the pleasure of our days. So while it’s easy to say, “It’s nobody’s business whether I put on mascara or take a shower today,” it kind of is.
10. Admit when you don’t know something.
11. Admit when you need to move up a size.
12. Remember your mother’s birthday.
13. Life will not grade you, but it will test you.
Coming of age means saying goodbye to feedback for all the work you do. You won’t get counted for attendance or get extra credit for neatness. But showing up neatly will be the least that’s expected. You will not know how you’re doing, compared to others or how many points you need to pass. You will not know your place on the curve, and it won’t matter anyway. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
14. And last, but never least, do your laundry.
Do your laundry regularly. Try every week. Do it before you run out of clean underwear and before you need your favorite jeans. Because when you want your favorite jeans, and only your favorite jeans will do, you will want them clean. You will not want to be in the dilemma of choosing between dirty, stinky favorite jeans and jeans that make you think about your jeans too much.
To those enviable moms who have covered all this with your girls, you gifted teenager whisperers who choose your timing and words so masterfully that you barely get an eye roll, good for you. Truly. You’re an inspiration.
For the rest of us, it’s time to delegate. Start with aunts, grandmas, your best friends, or the moms of your daughter’s best friends. Just give them your advice list, a few topics at a time, and send them in.
Back-up resources help — if it makes you feel more in control, send along a book, an article, or a YouTube video. Repetition is the key to success.
Yes, you know what your daughter needs to know. And you’re smart enough to know that her last years at home will be more fun for both of you if you keep it to yourself.
You’ll know you’ve succeeded when your daughter starts saying things like: “Mom, do you want to go for a pedicure? I’m almost done folding my darks.”
All advice excerpted with permission from Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening.
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