Mother’s Day, Part 1: Being a Mom

When I think of Maggie’s future, the graduations and first dates and fights and shoe shopping and broken hearts and first real loves, occasionally I get a little flash of morbidity. I can’t die before she grows up.

Now, I don’t mean “I can’t die” like “I’ll miss everything that happens!” That’s true and I would. No, I worry about not passing along what I consider essential information to my daughter. Tom absolutely *could* handle a conversation about menstruation, but I think he would rather stab his eye out than be part of an outing to comparison-shop for tampons. In my mind, I have a running list of things that someone needs to tell my daughter in case I can’t.

In no particular order:

~ Don’t wear a white bra under a white t-shirt. It looks really odd and jarring. Wear a nude-color bra instead.

~ Actually, when in doubt at all about whether your bra is visible and that’s not the intent of your outfit, wear a nude-color bra. You can and absolutely should own fun lingerie; but have two or three bras the same color as your skin. Marlene Dietrich knew that, and if that tip was good enough for Ms. Dietrich, it’s good enough for you, Maggie.

~ After dressing for formal events where it is likely your photo will be taken, take a photo with the flash on to make sure you don’t have any weird translucent/sheer/wardrobe malfunction areas. If you aren’t getting ready with a friend, use the self-timer on your camera.

~ Always carry a camera with movie capability. You never know when someone is going to do something hilarious. Or blackmail-worthy.

~ Between sitting, kneeling, and general thigh-rubbing (which 95% of the female population experiences, so relax) you should always pay extra for higher-quality jeans. T-shirts are negligible.

~ Until you buy your own home, stick with white or blue towels. Rental properties almost always have neutral or blue-toned bathrooms.

~ Perfume is a tool to inspire intimacy. People should only be able to smell you if they are very close to your person. A little on the pulse points goes a long way. You will see your peers blast themselves with two or three sprays at a time. Don’t make that mistake.

~ If you meet a boy who quotes The Fountainhead and smokes clove cigarettes, RUN, DO NOT WALK, away.

~ Because most girls do end up dating that boy instead of running away, don’t feel bad when it doesn’t work out. Give him a second chance if he concedes that Ayn Rand is a douche.

~ Try yoga. Try kickboxing. Figure out what you like best. There’s nothing wrong with being an aggressive woman. There’s nothing wrong with being a woman in search of tranquility and peace. There is nothing wrong with being both at the same time. Embrace your contradictions; it’s what makes you human.

~ Get tattoos if you want, but don’t get really visible ones until you’ve been in your chosen career field for a few years and you know how it’s going to go over. There’s a reason all of my tattoos can be covered by a nice pantsuit and wristwatch.

~ If a boy spreads nasty rumors and lies about you and compromises your reputation, tell him he’s a worthless worm and to cut the shit or you’ll tell everyone he said “Mommy!” when he finished. Mean it. Stand up for yourself.

~ If a girl spreads nasty rumors and lies about you and compromises your reputation, tell her she has a small mind and an ugly heart and to cut the shit before you rain down some serious consequences. Mean it. Stand up for yourself.

~ Only marry someone who has a lesser or equal interest in video games.

~ Buy a king-size bed as soon as you can afford to live somewhere with the space for it. If you can’t, get a king-size comforter. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling.

~ Accept all compliments gratefully, gracefully, and sincerely; self-deprecation and false modesty are disingenuous. Ditto gifts. Write thank you notes on real paper.

~ When you are a teenager and in your early twenties, eaten up by insecurity and worry and trying to figure out who you are as a woman, as an adult, and as a human, know this: you are more beautiful and have more potential than you can possibly understand.

~ That said, many opportunities knock but once. They don’t come back and beg for you to reconsider. Take advantage of as many as you can, even if it means sorting out the consequences later. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Seize life.

~ Carry floss in your purse, ESPECIALLY on dates.

~ At least once in your life, you should have a signature drink. Doesn’t have to be alcoholic; just has to be yours.

~ Love people and treat them well, even if they don’t deserve it. Positive energy always pays out in the end.

~ From May-October in a four-season climate, budget for pedicures.

~ Regarding your father. He’s an uncommonly good man, but an oddball. If your oddball tendencies (and you have them, trust me) don’t match his, be patient with him. You don’t have to understand someone to love them.

~ If you wear makeup, skip the colored mascara. Call your Nana for photos of me circa 1996-98 for further proof.

I love you, girlie. Take care of yourself out there.


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