For sale: know-it-all tween who, despite having all the answers, can’t seem to keep track of homework or know when to keep mouth shut. Omnipotent Preteen Princess comes with amazing acting ability and can command tears in the face of impending punishment. Make best offer.
I kid, of course. If sarcasm could be converted into patience, I’d have what I need to deal with Miss Thing’s antics. Yesterday, I got an irritated call from a teacher — in the middle of the day, which you know is hardly ever good news — who told me that Skylar had been talking excessively in school. During the obligatory heart-to-heart after this sort of thing goes down, she told me she doesn’t always confide in me because (wait for it) I try to teach her too much.
She ain’t seen the half it. There are oodles of things I — and other moms — need to get across to our daughters before they gallop across the threshold of womanhood.
1. Pray. It sounds corny and clichéd, but the sooner you make communicating with God a regular part of your life, the better.
2. Love yourself. Even when you don’t understand yourself, even if you have a muffin top, even if you lost a tooth. You’re perfectly imperfect.
3. If someone says they can do your hair but they don’t have a license, run. And take your hair with you while it’s still intact.
4. Never chase a guy. Anyone worth your time won’t make you come after him. If he runs, say bye-bye ...
5. Good hygiene doesn’t have to take long. It just has to happen. No guy wants to date a muskrat. (Shout-out to my friend Tami Brown for this one!)
6. Respect your body. Don’t let yourself be reduced to boobs, butt, and hips. They’re accessories to your greatness. You wouldn’t leave the house in just earrings and a purse (please), so don’t make your assets the highlight of who you are.
7. Act like a lady, get treated like a lady. Home training is getting to be more rare than real purses on Canal Street, but women who carry themselves like they have it are treated with class.
8. If he won’t wear a condom, bid him goodnight. No amount of talking can change his health status.
9. Learn from other people’s mistakes. They happened before you for a reason. Take advantage of the opportunity to get a free life lesson without the headache of the drama.
10. Nude undergarments are your friend. Don’t be one of those chicks who slides white linen slacks over red panties and thinks it’s her beauty that’s stopping traffic.
11. Care about other people. That Golden Rule is the real deal and so is the law of reciprocity, so the good you put out will come back to you.
12. Brains will last. Beauty won’t. You can be cute and pretty and simply fabulous, but invest in your smarts. They’ll never sag and they’re the only thing you won’t mind expanding.
13. Take care of yourself. Your health is the most important thing you have, and it fuels the thousand and one things you want to do. Work out, eat well, and drink water every day, even if you have to force yourself.
14. Don’t let your circumstances drain your ambition. Things are, at some point in time, going to suck. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep striving towards your goals.
15. Never, ever expect a man to do for you what you can do for yourself. Which is just about everything. If a man comes along and wants to take care of you, that’s beautiful. But until he shows up — and in case he never does — learn how to do as much as you can yourself.
16. Be serious about your money. Take care of your credit and learn how to budget what income you have. It’ll save you the stress of living beyond your means, which is a major pain the back pockets.
17. Oh, and don’t ever let yourself be convinced to co-sign a loan for anyone. That good credit will be gone quicker than a sobering dude after a one-night stand.
18. Here’s the formula: marriage then babies. There’s a reason it’s worked for centuries. If you’re going to have sex, there are too many birth control options to wind up knocked up. Protect yourself.
19. Friends are going to come and go. Not everyone is going to be in your life forever. Enjoy them while they’re there but let them go if and when you grow out of them.
20. Cattiness is a stereotype. Women can compliment each other, be friends and colleagues, genuinely admire one another, and never be in competition for a man, a job, or anything else. Don’t believe the hype.
21. Walk like you’re the ish. ‘Cause you are! And if you believe it, other people will believe it, too — and treat you accordingly.
Okay, moms, what would you add to the list?