Friday, January 27, 2012

I hope you dance...and other cliches for my daughter


My daughter is seven years old.  I can already tell that she is growing up to be everything I'm not, and that scares the crap out of me.  She's funny, adventurous, popular and a risk-taker. Those characteristics are fine unless you are a mother who is fearful, shy, and an extremely anxious hermit.  With her bubbly personality and penchant for wanting to be the leader of the pack, my husband and I nervously joke that she will either be the President of the United States of America, or the President of a high-end call girl business.  It could go either way.  While I've read the many letters floating around the internet from moms to their daughters, I felt compelled to impart some of my forty-something wisdom to my little girl on the more practical aspects of growing into a woman.

So, without being too sappy, these are some of the truths I want my daughter to know:


1. Don't start wearing eyeliner.  Trust me on this.  Once you start, you can never stop. You'll think you look weird and sleepy without it.  If applied correctly, it looks great. If not, you look like Lindsay Lohan on a bender. Your girlfriends are going to start smearing it on around the age of fourteen because they think it makes them look older.  It does make them look older...like an older slut. If you must use it, for the sake of all that is good in this world, do NOT use blue or purple.

2. Study your math.  I hate math so much, and so does Barbie.  You aren't Barbie, though.  You are smart and strong, and if you want to be an astronaut or a bridge builder, you're going to have to suck it up and show calculus who's the boss.  If you decide that you would rather style hair or teach yoga, that's great, but you still need math, if only for shoe sales.

3. You should never have to work to keep a friend.  We ALL know this friend, the one who makes you work to like them.  The one who never smiles or has a kind word or offers to drive or tells you how happy they are for you when you score a great job.  They sap every ounce of energy, and they'll drink your last Diet Coke. I have two words for "friends" like this: Move on.

4. Stop saying "like" so much.  This is an easy one.  Notice how many times you say the word "like" on any given day, and then say it about 99% less than that.

5. Don't be the mean girl. The truth about the mean girls is that they only get their way for a short while, usually until graduation.  Don't judge people by their clothes or how much money is sitting in their parents' bank account.  That geeky  wallflower that you kick to the corner in junior high school may be quietly taking notes so that she can anonymously slam you on her blog one day.  (Not that I would know anything about that, of course.)

6. Stay away from bad boys.  Yes, they're hot.  Yes, they make you feel like you're hot, too.  I speak from experience when I say that bad boys will break your heart.  While they're breaking your heart, they will also convince you to buy their groceries and pay their car insurance (if they have a car).  Your best bet is to only have a poster of a bad boy in your bedroom and have a good guy in your heart.

7. Don't take naughty pictures of yourself.  This is how it works - if you take a great picture of yourself, it may very well end up on the internet.  If you take X-rated pictures of yourself, they will be on the internet before you get your shirt back on and buttoned.  When that bad boy-boyfriend (that you shouldn't have) tells you that he will keep it to himself, he is defining "himself" as everyone on his friend list. Don't do it.

8.  Don't fall for every fashion fad you see.  I did, and now I have a trunk full of school pictures from the 80's that should be burned.  Jelly shoes, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, asymmetrical haircuts - you name it and I tried it.  Since fashion seems to have a way of repeating itself, please remember this: if someone tries to talk you into wearing rainbow-colored suspenders or a Member's Only Jacket, run!

9. Eat junk while you can.  I hate to break this to you, but the "skinny gene" flew off the diving board and completely missed our gene pool.  Eat what you want now because around the age of twenty-five, you will become very good friends with skim milk, running shoes, and Special K.  Sorry, sweetie.

10. Your brother loves you.  You may not be able to tell it now, but it's true. He thinks you're funny and smart, but he would never tell you that.  Be good to each other because family matters.  Believe me when I say don't EVER let each other drift apart.

One final note...more than anything, Sweet Girl, I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, I hope you dance....just not around a stripper pole.

21 comments:

  1. I got caught off guard by that picture. I have one that looks SO similar of my daughter. Cute little girl you have!

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  2. I love this!! And all though I don't have children of my own (yet...) I found myself saying "YES oh and THAT TOO!" Awesome advice for a 7 year old and a 30(something) year old!

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  3. If I had a daughter, I'd write her the exact same letter. :-)

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  4. You made me laugh and tear up at the same time.

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  5. So sweet. I'm shivery and warm at the same time. I wish my mom had told me these things. ANd I will keep this list should I ever have a daughter. Just beautiful.

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  6. I. Love. This. My daughter, who just turned 8, has my snark in her DNA. The one that sticks with me is "Don't be the mean girl." Because I was. I was the smart mouthed chick who could cut down the cheerleader or the quarterback without much thought and make them feel and look stupid. I started my snark with the best of intentions -- I was defending myself or my friends, but snark has a way of morphing into bitch before you know it. I have had many a conversation with my daughter about this because she is funnny, and popular, and pretty, and she can be mean because she thinks very much like her 37 year old mom and not so much like a Hello Kitty loving 8 year old. I am reading this to her because she'll get it and because she need very badly to hear it. THANK YOU.

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  7. I just found our blog. I may be in love. Not in a creepy way. I enjoy your humor. I have a cousin who graduated in '87 from high school when BLUE eyeliner and mascara was the IN thing. Today, at the beginning of 2012 she is 40 something and she is STILL wearing it. I can't bring myself to tell her to LET. IT. GO. Buy BLACK, Brown or perhaps a dark grey...all the other colors are for people in JUNIOR HIGH.

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  8. Love this post. May I link to it from my blog?

    Girls get way too much advice that leads them astray. They NEED this kind of advice. Solid. Straightforward. Funny. Loving.

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  9. So wonderful. My daughter is 15 and this could so have been written by me 8 years ago. Your daughter (and son) will be fantastic - no question. (I, too, am the geeky one who took notes, and am now exacting revenge...I mean...imparting wisdom...) :-D

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  10. My daughters are both almost your age - but I do have multiple granddaughters in the 7-9 year old range. They (and their Mothers) are getting copies of this! BTW - I'm glad to see you removed your "good by" piece and have added several more since. Well on your way to that book that I hope to buy soon and also give to my daughters and granddaughters. I'm counting on your husband (and your readers) to keep pushing for that book!

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  11. Finally! Practical advice! My opinion? You are an awesome mom. That's one lucky little girl you've got there, my friend.

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  12. Great, but don't let on that you hate math! ;-)
    And yes, you're daughter is lucky!

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  13. Another great letter I can just steal and share with my girls. Thanks for doing my parenting for me!

    (loved this.)

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  14. oh my god! i shouldn't wear blue eyeliner??? well, FML!

    (but, thanks for the great read. my baby girl is 12 and is stepping away in big strides that rip shreds of my heart with every step.)

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  15. I'm a new follower and I just adore your blog. Love this post! I don't have any daughters myself, but hope to someday. Two little boys fill my house. But the same type of principles apply. ;) Thanks for sharing!

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  16. too funny! glad i found your facebook page via snarky...excited to follow!

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