Lessons I Learned From Having Twenty One Teen Daughters
Jan 14, 2019 | By: Jennifer Lebo
I have twenty daughters this year.
Twenty-one if you count the one who actually calls me Mom.
OK, so they’re not all my actual daughters. But ten months of living the dorm mom life with 20 girls will teach you a thing or two. Here’s what my twenty (one) girls have taught me this year:
Teen girlsare loud. Whether they’re trying to talk over the hair dryer, arguing over who left the bathroom sink covered in toothpaste, or laughing hysterically over a meme, they do it with gusto.
Teen girls perfect the eye roll early on. Apparently as early as 13, according to my own daughter. Or maybe it was 11. I can’t remember.
Teen girls need sleep just as much as teen boys do. They will turn into monsters without the proper amount of sleep. They will fight this at 11pm, choosing to yell over a hair dryer and laugh at memes.
Teen girls are gorgeous, but they don’t see themselves that way. Thoughts and fears about gaining weight or losing weight are too often at the front of their mind. They need to be reminded as often as possible that they are lovely and exceptional, and that their weight does not define them. They will roll their eyes (they’ve perfected that), but a small piece of them might believe you. Keep telling them.
Teen girls find love in a warm, freshly iced cake. They will struggle with this because of that whole body image garbage, but bake it for them anyway. Sometimes for no reason. Whether they eat the cake or not, they might smile (behind rolling eyes) because they know you thought of them that day.
Teen girls are SMART! Some are smart when it comes to calculus, and some are smart when it comes to fashion, but every one of them has a gift, a talent. At least one. Often a hundred. Find their talents and encourage them to pursue them. Half the fun of living with teen girls is discovering their amazing talents. The other half is watching them discover them, too.
Teen girls are on to you. They know you don’t have a CLUE how to live with them, love them, build them up, teach them to soar. They know you think you’re a fraud. Most of the time, they don’t care, because they also see you trying.
Teen girls love social media. They also hate social media because they love social media so much. Sometimes it’s best to force them off their phones and into a killer game of Nertz. They’ll hate you for it, but they’ll love you for it, too.
Teen girls live big. They love big, they hurt big, and they trust big. Do your very best to never EVER be the one to make them change this part of them.
Teen girls need other teen girls. And older women. And younger girls. Every teen girl needs to learn how to be encouraged and built up, and she needs to learn how to build up others. Empowered women empower women.
Teen girls are a gift. They may roll their eyes at you. They may hate you for taking their phones at night so they can sleep. They may yell at you, or cry to you, or laugh with you (or AT you!), but they are amazing creatures, and each one of them deserves to know how amazing she is.
Teen girls never stop feeling like teen girls. Even when they’re forty, living with and raising teen girls themselves.