I know I cannot be my daughter’s girlfriend. I know that and I don’t want to be. Being a good mom is knowing how to be her mother. She will have friends, boyfriends, and colleagues her whole life that will come and go, but she will only have one mom! I am the only person that will be reason and love and compassion. I do want to be all of those things for her, BUT I have also lived so much already. I have been through so many experiences that have given me so much perspective that I will be bursting to share with her. I want to give her warnings, and tips so when this world throws curve balls at her, she may be better prepared to handle them.
She is only 8, and certainly not old enough to be given the advice that I am going to share below, but lately we have already started to butt heads, and it really makes me think about 8-10 years down the road. It makes me think about when she will be starting to become a young woman and have her first job, and her first boyfriend. Trying to reason with her now about what book to read for her book report is a battle, I can only imagine what it will be like when she is 16. I will want to go to starbucks and laugh with her about my horrible experiences, and how she can learn from them. It just wouldn’t be appropriate, and honestly she wouldn’t listen. I am her mom, what would I know?
So, lets pretend you are all my daughter at an appropriate age to talk about these things, and here is what life has taught me along the way:
First, sexual harassment is never cool. I know, I know, this seems like a no brainer, but trust me you will be put into situations as a young woman that are so uncomfortable, but all you can think to do is giggle, or in the moment you chalk up a gross old man touching your butt as flattering. Men can often take advantage of a young women because they think you won’t be strong enough to stick up for yourself. I had a boss in college, when I working at a nice restaurant, that told me I reminded him of Kim Basinger. At the time, I didn’t even know who that was, so I would just smile and run to the kitchen to pick up the food I needed to serve to make the conversation stop. He also invited me to go and sample wines for the restaurant on a weekend getaway. At the time, I thought it was weird, but I was afraid to say something and lose my job. The tips were great, and I paid for my apartment and my tuition. The very worst of it was when he would stand behind the bar, he would allow for just enough space the my ass would always have to brush against his old man balls. It was gross. The other waitresses and I would go out for a drink after work and laugh about it, but why were we laughing? Why didn’t we take a stand?
He would also ask for us to kiss him on the check and at the last minute he would try to turn his head so we would kiss him on the lips. We caught on to that SUPER fast, and I only got a corner of his mouth once. I hope you guys didn’t just throw up in your mouth a little like I just did. This is the reason I wish I could put my mom brain into my 21 year old body, so I could woman up and stop what was happening! I would say if not for me, then for the series of other college girls that followed up, but screw that! Yes those other girls are important, but so was I. Don’t let people, especially men, treat you less than what you deserve. It is a slippery slope when you compromise your standards.
Next I would tell you to never go with a boy that tells you he needs to “show” you something. Let me tell you, it’s not artwork. I will never forget the first penis I ever saw, it was in high school, and it was in a boy’s basement. His parents were upstairs, and we were on the couch. He took it from 0 to dick real quick. We weren’t even kissing, and he told me he wanted to show me something cool. He took me under the staircase and just whipped it out. I did the only reasonable thing I could think of at the time. I said, “Oh Wow, that’s cool.” As if his mother’s spidey senses started tingling at her son’s inappropriateness and my awkwardness, she opened the door to the basement and said for us to come upstairs. He instantly put it away and we ran upstairs. I avoided eye contact with everyone, declined the brownies she was offering, and drove home. In any situation when you are alone with a guy in a bedroom or basement, or you are at a party, believe me they have nothing interesting to show you. Also, it made me miss out on homemade brownies, and they were bomb.
Another tip I can share with you is to live your life at the pace you are comfortable with. This includes your dating life, experiences, and everything else that comes your way. There have been a few times I knew I was in over my head, but I forced myself into it. I wanted to lose my v-card so bad in high school to fit in, but not becuase I wanted to. It felt like everyone else was doing it, and I wasn’t allowed to date. All of the girls were talking about their serious, in-love, relationships. I had friends that had their boyfriends dial zero on the pink telephone, they were giving them blow jobs, and it finally lead to sex. Meanwhile, I am being traumatized by a flasher under the stairs. (that almost sounds like a scary story, “The Dick Under the Stairs”, by R. L. Stine). I felt like such a baby. I would get so down on myself, but now I know I just wasn’t ready. I also wasn’t ready for drinking and drugs in high school. Okay, I know you are thinking I am jumping the shark here, but I am only referring to weed, and it is going to be legal soon, so just bear with me. The first time I tried anything in high school was Malibu Rum and weed at the same time, AND I was at a work party. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was with two people much more experienced than me. I didn’t want to look like a baby, and I so desperately wanted to fit in and be liked that I tried both. One hour later, I was puking at the side of the road. Let me tell you love, when you are trying to be one of the “in” crowd, puking because of drinking a tablespoon of Malibu a couple puffs of weed is not the way to do it. As you get older people may talk about experiences and whether it is sexual, or illegal, or from their travels, please do not let it make you feel bad or minimize who you are. Who you are and what your speed is, is perfect. I have raised you to be a strong woman with a great head on your shoulders, and an inner voice that is hopefully guiding you in a good direction. Follow it! If you ever find yourself in over your head, call me!
My last tip, and most important life lesson would be to never lose your girlfriends. I know you may think this guy is the best and you want to spend every waking moment with him, but he isn’t. He will hopefully be one of many guys you will date and decide what you like before you end up with the one. OR, he may be the one you end up with, and in that case, he should understand and support your relationships with your friends. Your girlfriends should and will be your real life partners. There is nothing better than girls nights. There is nothing better than drinking white zinfandel, and watching “Sex and the City”. Or driving around with your very best friend singing to your favorite songs not caring that neither one of you are in tune. Nothing compares to a girlfriend that you can share you scariest thoughts with sans judgement. Only a real friend will see your scary stretch marked body after child birth and tell you how beautiful you still are. Truly not even an orgasm can hold a candle to a friend that will pick you up off the floor in the middle of gut wrenching sobs and get you up and dancing in your apartment. Your girls will make sure when you are dancing if you want to be left alone, you will be. The flip side, if you are dancing trying to be a siren beckoning some young sailor to snare for the evening, he is up to code and not some creepy guy that comes up behind you and thinks its cool to mash his denim boner in your back. This is something that is true from high school, college, and the great beyond of adulting. Friends first; please remember that!
Basically, what I would love for my daughter to know is to be confident with herself. Listen to her gut, her inner voice that is indicating what feels right. And above everything else, like the song by Charlie Puth, “I’m only one call away, I’ll be there to save the day, superman got nothing on me, I’m only one call away!” Especially if you need to make a quick getaway from a bad experience at someone’s house!