I am the mom of two daughters and no sons.
And when you are the mom of daughters and no sons, here are two things you hear a lot when they are young:
#1: “So, when are you going to try for a boy?”
#2: “They’re cute now, but just wait until they get to be teenagers.”
To #1, I usually responded, “Actually, we’re not going to try for a boy. We’re going to try for a goldfish instead.”
To #2, I usually made some sort of conciliatory “I know” noises while my mind frantically whipped up all possible worst-case scenarios lying in wait for a mom of girls who would eventually hit puberty.
I didn’t particularly look forward to my girls’ older years. But now that I’m camped in them, I realize something: I should have.
I have one 13-year-old daughter and one 18-year-old daughter, and it is fabulous.
Yes, there is drama. Yes, there are hormones. Yes, there is crying. But enough about me. (Just kidding. OK, not really.)
And while it is true that I’d be able to get that fancy farmhouse sink I want for my kitchen if I got paid psychotherapist’s fees for the emotional rehab I do after school every day, I’ve discovered that having an older daughter is a joy-ride in the best possible way.
If you are the mom of a young daughter, here’s what you have to look forward to . . . for real.
- When you are trying on a mail-order dress the color of a tangerine and you aren’t sure if it makes you look stunning or like an orange sack, you summon your daughter for an assessment. She takes one look and says, “It makes you look like an orange sack.” So then you know.
- You have a handy reference guide for the meaning of such phrases as “on fleek.” (Spot on? Hits the mark? I think. But maybe not.)
- When you shop with your daughter, you actually shop. Often in the same department. For clothes you might share.
- When you are out shopping with your daughter, you may see, for instance, a “performance-gear” hoodie in a gorgeous aqua color that would boost your workout efficacy by at least 50 percent. You comment (within your daughter’s hearing) “I want that” but do not buy it because it is not on sale and you don’t HAVE to have it. The next time your husband takes your daughter out to lunch, she tells him, “We have to go to the store and buy mom a birthday gift. She wants a hoodie. I know exactly which one.”
- Instead of endless preschool-era rounds of Princess Memory, et al, you get to play games you would actually choose on your own and which do not make your head explode.
- You no longer host playdates in your home; now you facilitate hang-outs at the mall. Your daughter and her friends “shop” while you lounge somewhere in their vicinity and drink a fancy coffee drink and read a magazine and do not make eye contact and do not show any sign you know them. All of which they are fine with and, in fact, insist on.
- You have a chick-in-residence with whom you can watch flicks your husband won’t touch.
- Your tween/teen daughter may someday make cookies while you are working on something else. Then she might say, “Don’t come into the kitchen yet. I want to clean up.” At which point you have cookies AND a clean kitchen and are glad you did not give up on said child when she was in her “terrible twos” stage.
- As a counterpoint to brutally honest but useful fashion advice (see #1, above), sometimes your adolescent daughter will look you over when you are dressed to go somewhere other than the grocery store and will say, “Mom! I love that outfit! You definitely don’t need to go on What Not to Wear.” Which, you are well aware, is as good as it gets in the mom-compliment department.
- Your daughter may put up a social media post about how she loved, say, spending the day at the beach with you and how she will remember it for a long time. And by the time you have finished reading the post, all your years of motherhood will have been 100 percent worth it.
I’m very aware I’m nowhere near “done” raising my girls. Anything could happen. And the beach/movie/mall days when everyone loves and even likes each other are balanced by an equal number of days when we would all trade each other just for faster internet service.
I also know so many moms have genuinely agonizing stories about raising their older daughters, and my heart truly breaks for them.
But you’re supposed to write what you know, and this is what I know so far: My answer to the “just wait until they get to be teenagers” comment should have been, “I’m looking forward to it.”