As you held your squirming tiny bundle of adorable girl child for the first time, you probably envisioned pretty pink bows and frilly ruffles being lovingly placed on your gorgeous little lady. You would hug her and smile with her for all eternity and everything would be sunshine and roses, right?
During the constant deluge of unsolicited advice you received while pregnant, no one told you about what happens when they turn into teenagers. You were one of these creatures. So was I! A reckless, defiant, asshole of a teenager, I might add. The words, “I hope you have a daughter just like you!” flew out of my mother’s mouth more than once. Who knew her prophecy would come true in such a staggeringly accurate and frightening way? Sure, my daughter has a little more nurturing and self-esteem than I had, some brunette DNA from my husband, and a few different habits born of this Internet age, but basically, SHE IS MY CLONE! And it’s not all that great.
Here’s what no one ever tells you about having a teenage daughter.
1. They’re body-snatchers. They literally steal your body. No, really, they do! That 5 foot 6 inches and 118 pounds of smooth dancer’s grace…that was you. It’s like the little thief absorbed it right through the placenta and somehow hid it under her skin all these years, only to expose it on her fourteenth birthday, for you to never ever see it in the mirror again.
2. That’s not all they steal. You like having pads when that time of the month comes? Sorry, nope. Teenage Mutant Ninja Daughter started twelve hours before you and now they’re all gone! As is your fingernail polish remover, your sanity, your favorite book, your hairspray, that Wonder Woman shirt you loved—although it was too small to be worn in public and not have any of the best-when-hidden bits falling out, it was YOURS! Now it’s gone, and it looks better on her. UGH!
3. They always need to go somewhere. Every. Single. Day. A friend’s house, various sports practices, dance classes, extra school assignments that can’t possibly get done during school hours. Pack some granola bars away in the glove box, my friend. Your car is your new second home until she gets her license. And then she’ll probably try to steal your car, too!
4. They’re hypochondriacs. Something ALWAYS hurts. “I have a headache,” “my knee hurts,” “I have cramps. Where’s the heating pad?” Seriously? You logically know that 90% of these aches and pains are probably hormonal or growing pains since she’s shot up 6 inches in the last 3 years. There’s not much that can be done about them, but when you suggest going to the doctor and let her know that blood will probably have to be drawn, suddenly she feels all better! Till tomorrow. Sheesh!
5. You will be jealous of her (See #1). This I was not expecting at all. I remember watching her try on clothes one day, dismissing my “so ’90s” suggestions, and twisting around to see herself in her odd little whimsical creation that she modeled after something she saw on Pinterest, and I thought, “WOW! She’s stunning!” And I felt myself turn green. I will never have that toned body, wrinkle free skin, thick hair, and all-over perkiness ever again. Who knew you could actually be jealous of one of your own most magnificent creations?
6. Girls fart just as much as boys. And laugh their butts off, too. Then they blame it on their brothers/the cat/creaky floorboards. Pass the Febreze!
7. She has more attitude and snark than can possibly be handled by one human in a single day. But she has it EVERY DAY! And even though you’re a wise, mature adult, you’ll find yourself dishing it right back! Where does she think she gets it? She’s just the student in this class; you’re the master! Then when your cycles sync up and you have a migraine, well…wine is your friend. I prey she doesn’t need as much therapy as I did. I should start a savings jar for that.
8. You will try with all your might, and probably fail, to keep your own body image issues from her ears at all times. No matter what you do, she will develop her own, anyways. She is surrounded by other girls at school 8 hours a day; since you cannot control their body issues, or their mothers’ body issues, or their mothers’ mothers’ body issues, she will need your constant reassurance that she is perfect and beautiful. It’s a cruel world for a girl. If you can’t protect her from it, I say try to balance out the negative with some positive.
9. She will astound you and make you feel downright stupid with her brilliance. Her math skills and knowledge of current events will surpass your own at a staggering rate. You’ll find that her intelligence only grows with age, and you can barely remember if you’ve had breakfast yet today. (You haven’t, go eat!)
10. Last, but not least… She will be your greatest friend. I’m not saying you’ll take her to her first kegger or dish with her about all your past and her future sexual exploits. What I mean is that she sees when you’ve been crying and hugs you before anyone else even notices you were feeling down. She will tell you which shoes look best with a certain pair of pants, or when you’re wearing too much perfume. She will be the first one to tell you “Happy Birthday” and the last one to say “I Love You” at night before bed. She is your best girlfriend and I hope she always will be. There will sometimes be things you can’t talk with her about, but you know if you need a hug and some chocolate, she’ll always have your back.
So, embrace that pretty pink bundle of newborn, snuggle with that grumpy sticky toddler, dance ridiculously with your tween tomboy, and know what lies ahead is a chaotic mess of insecurities, heartaches, beauty, and love.
She’ll grow out of the attitude once she turns eighteen, right? No?
Related post: The Multiple Personalities of a Tween Girl