There’s no manual, road map, or guide to fully prepare you for the years of parenting a teenage girl. Sure, you’ve read the books. You’ve listened (ad nauseam) to that one close friend who loves to tell you war stories about their own teen and give you loads of unsolicited advice. But all in all … there’s really nothing to prepare you.
The truth is, these are the most important, most critical years of your not-so-little girl’s life. And these are also the years you need to be tuned into the most. I know, because I’m on my second round of raising teenagers.
Here are 40 things no one told me back in the day when I started out on this whole “parenting girls” journey …
- You will long for the days you used to stumble over Barbies and doll houses in the living room.
- You’ll learn everything you never wanted to know about pop culture from driving her to the mall with her friends.
- You’ll feel like going all Liam Neeson on the punk kid who broke her heart and made up rumors about her.
- You’ll pay attention to the way teenage boys behave more than you ever have in your life.
- You’ll find yourself saying, “Those aren’t actual clothes!” or “There’s no way in hell you’re leaving my house with that on,” more times than you ever thought you would.
- You’ll wish you could go back in time and hang out longer at the princess tea party she set up in your back yard when she was in preschool.
- You’ll find that the mixtures of body spray, perfume, and lotion smell just as bad as your son’s body odor, it’s just a different kind of stink.
- Speaking of time, you’ll desperately wish it would just slow down a little bit.
- Makeup in the bathroom sink! So. much. makeup. in the sink! Your fingertips will have a permanent dark tint from cleaning up a ridiculous amount of makeup.
- She needs an example, not another buddy.
- She’s listening to you even when it seems that she’s not.
- You’ll be informed that sayings like “on fleek” and “slay” are way cooler than “rad” or “far out.”
- On car rides — even when she’s texting people and seems to be ignoring you — don’t forget to be tuned in to her.
- You’ll be reminded every day of how utterly uncool you are. Mostly by her.
- She’ll roll her eyes so much that you’ll swear they might get stuck in the back of her head at some point.
- She still loves you even when you blow it royally with her.
- Your heart will warm when you find her watching a Disney movie.
- Tampons, underwear, makeup, and cute boys will be common lingo in your household and you’ll desperately wish you could escape any and ALL conversations like this!
- You won’t stop seeing the brand new baby you brought home from the hospital.
- Skin will go missing from your forehead from the numerous times you’ve had to repeat something to her.
- When she doesn’t respond with some level of sass, you’ll immediately start searching for a thermometer to take her temperature.
- You’ll wake up one day and the baby girl you held in your arms is 16!
- You’ll miss her immensely, even though she hasn’t even left home yet.
- LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS! I repeat, LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!
- Every time she says, “Boys are stupid,” you’ll do a happy dance.
- Prom and homecoming will make your heart hurt.
- She’s looking to you to tell her what to do and how to navigate this thing called life — even if she doesn’t say so.
- Put your phone down and look at her every time she starts talking to you.
- You will sometimes act as referee between her and her mother.
- Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony, and Taylor Swift songs will be stuck in your head randomly throughout the week.
- Give her space and don’t worry if she seems distant at times.
- You’ll hear your own parents’ voices when you talk to her about life stuff.
- You’ll secretly think about selling your car when she asks haunting questions like, “Can I get my driver’s permit?”
- She’ll seem confident over things that really terrify her.
- You’ll wish you could text back and forth with her during her school day.
- You’ll find yourself wincing when she starts talking about going to the movies with a boy.
- You’ll have a hard time dropping her off with friends at a hometown football game for the first time.
- When she holds your hand in public, or calls you “Daddy” in front of her friends, you’ll want time to stop.
- You’ll secretly think about placing brochures for hometown colleges in her room.
- She needs her mommy and daddy now more than she will ever admit — but you won’t need to hear her say it to know that it’s true.
Originally published on Babble