A Letter to the Mom I'll Be in 10 Years

Mom Moment 26

Jeanne Sager
If only we could always be this close
It seems like ever since I birthed a girl child, I've been getting warnings (mostly unsolicited) that the teen years are going to be hell on earth. The way I see it, I have two choices. I can put up an ad on Craigslist that announces a kid for sale and let the offers roll in (ahem, that's a joke oh interwebs) or I can tell the naysayers where they can shove it. 

Attention y'all. I am choosing option two. I am terrified as all get out, but I refuse to believe that this is an impossible task. Hey, I WAS a teenage girl once. And sitting here, with my 6-year-old safely ensconced in first grade, I have time to think this thing through. I have time to plan what kind of mother of a teenage girl I want to be.

And so here it is: all the advice I have for the mom I will be (or hope to be anyway) when my daughter is a teenager:

1. Makeup washes off. Tattoos do not. Pick your battles.

2. When she is learning to drive, the volume you use to correct her directly equates to the amount of pressure she puts on the gas pedal. If she's going too fast toward that pylon, perhaps screeching at the top of your lungs may not be your best option. Just sayin'.

3. The best way to make sure a boyfriend respects your rules is to show him a little respect. Invite him over. Get to know him before you judge him. Don't make him the enemy. Unless you actually want him to help your daughter sneak out and break curfew?

4. There is only one bathroom in this house. Make a schedule, in writing, and stick to it.

5. You know how you like to relax on a Friday night after a long week at work? Homework can wait until the morning. Really.

6. The doctor is a professional or you would not be using him (or her) as your family's primary care provider. It's perfectly OK for the two of them to be alone together. If you don't think she'll remember to tell him about your family's history of diabetes, give her a note. Whatever you do, do not go in that room unless she asks for you!

7. Abstinence is nice. Not being a grandmother before your kid graduates from high school is nicer. TALK about birth control, and make sure she can get a hold of some if and when the time comes (it's OK to stress that that time should be later rather than sooner).

8. When you want to tell her he's bad news, pop a piece of gum in your mouth and chew until the flavor's gone. If you still think this warning is necessary after that amount of time has passed, THEN you may say it. Her first heartbreak is going to happen sooner or later. It's better if she's still living under your roof when it happens; she's easier to hug that way.

9. Kissing does not necessarily mean sex.

10. She's right. Only dorks and losers have an 8:30 curfew.

11. Don't expect her to believe you when you say she's beautiful, but say it anyway. Remind your husband to do the same.

12. Let Daddy take her shopping. They'll spend more, but the hemlines will probably be longer.

13. You may be content in a hoodie and jeans. She doesn't have to be.

14. Extra holes in her ears are better than a trip to the ER to deal with the oozing, pussy result of a sleepover belly button piercing.

15. Depressing music doesn't mean she's suicidal.

16. No argument ever got better after the words "you look at me when I'm talking to you" were uttered.

17. The more time you spend tracking her every move, the more ways she'll find to get around being tracked.

18. An automatic no to something expensive and unnecessary doesn't do anyone any good. Throw $10 in a Mason jar and tell her it's a start; she can save for the rest. Either she'll save until she gets it, and she will at least have earned it or she'll see it's expensive and unnecessary. Finance lesson learned.

19. Babysitting is a job.

20. If she's pulling all A's in every single subject but one, there's a reason for it: the people who are stars at everything are usually really boring.

21. Don't say "I won't be mad" unless you mean it.

22. "It's our secret" means you don't tell her grandmother.

23. A 2 a.m. phone call from a slurring teenager is better than a 2 a.m. knock at the door from a sober-faced police officer.

24. You don't like it when she steals your shoes. Don't take hers without asking.

25. She's right. There are boys who are friends and boys who are boyfriends. They're not always the same thing.

What would you add to this list?


Image by Jeanne Sager

behavior, body image, driving, dating


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nonmember avatar Lori

26. You can tell me anything. Right or wrong, I'll still love you and we'll get through it together.

nonmember avatar Emme

What a great list! It sounds like you'll deal with your daughters teen years perfectly. Though, to be honest, I think it's all easier said than done, lol. But it's still better to try. :)

Katriena Young

#12 and #23 are my fav. out of your list.
Sure they can spend a bit more when shopping with daddy and yes the hemlines might be a bit longer but they are also spending time together when at an age that teens are pulling away. Its a good time for daddy to spend time with his baby girl and for her to know that her daddy is still there for her.
To this day my father has always said that he doesn't care what time it is, if I need a ride home to call him. (And I'm 28.) He won't be upset with me at all for ruining his sleep.

Heres one to add to your list: If you feel the need to walk away during an agreument(sp) cause you know that something could be said that can not be unsaid, than walk away. Tell her that you need to take a step back. Cooling off is the best thing when things are getting out of hand.

nonmember avatar ruthless1

teenagers are contrary creatures. The fastest way to push them towards something? tell them you dont want them to do it. The boy you hate...dont say a word. The hairstyle you think is stupid? Not a peep. The faster they think they are not shocking or defying you, the faster that stuff disappears. It is hard..but it is the easiest way to ride out some of the nonsense.

cecil... cecillesmommy

Respect their comfort level when it comes to issues they may be having. Not EVERYTHING needs a three hour discussion. With a chart. And a video. (Happened to me...yeah)

the4m... the4mutts

I would say to take #6 OFF the list!

I don't get to choose the primary care. Its assigned to us, and usually its a male, and I will NOT be leaving my poor daughter alone with a grown ass man if there are clothes coming off.

If its a woman, she'll have a choice to have me in there or not.

Either way, I do not think a girls first time having a man between her legs should be alone in a cold, unfriendly dr office

Ang1982 Ang1982

Since my oldest is 10, and is at a point in school where her "friends" are "dating" we have a lot of talks about what's acceptable, what isn't. Certianly helping the fact is that her father is Muslim and Islamic laws are very, very strict and clear regarding behavior and relationships with boys(or the opposite sex, as it were)

The teenage years will not be easy, however great structure, and a family you can turn too for anything will help.

Alexis Eggleton

^That's hilarious... and untrue, largely. Most OBGYNs are legally obligated to have another person, a nurse or LPN, present during exams, so it's not some big scary man alone in an exam room with a young woman. And if you're in one of the few states that legally (or for insurance purposes) doesn't require a companion, ask for one!

My OBGYN is a man (the same man actually for my entire life), and I wouldn't have wanted my mother in the exam room (despite her having 25+ years in the OBGYN nursing field) for anything.

My mother holding my hand while I got my exam wouldn't have changed the outcome at all, and at least without her there I felt comfortable asking questions about birth control, etc that I wouldn't be comfortable asking if she was there. Besides, seeing an OBGYN is a learning experience and my mother wouldn't have wanted to stifle that process as I became a young woman.

Rather than worry about the sex of the doctor, I'd suggest you worry about your daughter's expectations of the doctor, knowledge of the procedures that will be performed, and hopefully you can request a doctor with a proven track record working well with teens. Many school nurses have recommendations, or when you call to make an appointment, why not ask?

Todd Vrancic

I would add that hair grows, and as such, all dye is temporary.  Flat black, neon green, fuschia, pink and purple polka-dots or any other combination will not last forever.

libby261 libby261

Remember to tell her you love her when you say good bye every morning and give her a hug good night when she heads off to bed.  Remember an over tired teen like an over tired toddler is nasty, they just know more words to reinforce just how nasty tired they are, try to keep your cool and resist the tempation to ground her for a week for yelling at you first thing in the morning.

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