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  • Writer's pictureJaye Gaff

Things I've taught my daughter

As B. has gotten older and gotten her first mobile phone I have found myself randomly sending her text messages filled with infinite amounts of sage wisdom. I want to share those here. Not because I think I'm the greatest parent to ever walk the face of this earth (though I do feel safe in the knowledge I'm more switched on than the parents in It) but because I like to share and I feel like sharing your knowledge with the world is really fucking important. I'm tired of being silent. I'm tired of trying to pretend like parenting isn't fun but also really fucking hard. I'm also just tired because I'm sleepy. So there's that.

I tend to share with B. as soon as the wisdom pops into my head. Here's what I've texted so far:

  1. Therapy is not just for crazy people -- I should note that I use crazy to her because we are a family of self-deprecating morons but also because whenever I've mentioned therapy to her her first thought is "I'm not crazy!" Therapy is not my favourite thing. I don't enjoy talking all that much about my thoughts and feelings but if I can bring B. up with the knowledge that therapy is there for her whenever she needs it, not just when she's feeling "crazy", then I'll feel like I've done something right.

  2. Don't hold off on going to the doctors -- I believe my exact follow up words to her were "get that titty checked" because I like the word titty but also because I don't want her to be one of those people who are too scared to get a lump checked.

  3. Always wear sunscreen -- nobody really cared if I wore sunscreen which, then, turned into me not wearing sunscreen as an adult. Such a bad habit. On top of this I let B. know we need to get our skin checked. I tell her to be proud of being pale, even if people tease her about it and to not put her health at risk to fit someone else's ideal of what a healthy person looks like. I am basically see through and I love it.

  4. Communicate -- don't expect people to know what you're thinking. Even if they're your parents or you've been married for sixty-four hundred years. People are not mind readers. Be honest.

  5. Love yourself -- love being alone. There will be times in life where it will be just you and it's a hard lesson to learn to love your company. She loves her own company now as much as she loves being around others and I hope that stays.

  6. Love your flaws -- I am sarcastic and self-deprecating. The people who love me love these things about me. I love these things about myself. Don't let someone's opinion change the way you feel about yourself. Learn to embrace everything about yourself. The things you can't embrace, I have learned, are usually the things you can (and, deep down, want to) change. It just takes work.

  7. Don't shave and/or pluck your eyebrows -- I have been telling her this one for years. She may stab me one day because of it and I wouldn't actually blame her. But, seriously, this is a vain one but also something really important. I believe in fabulous eyebrows! We also have a rule in our house that if she needs something done because of terrible genetics I'll pay for it. That goes for a mono-brow, mustache, premature greys, and anything else.

  8. Wearing white or something see through? Wear nude coloured underwear that matches your skin tone. Do not wear white underwear. I learned this lesson at a fashion event with a company I was interning for and I wish someone had taught me earlier. The thing is, all this surface stuff, can be seen as vain and it's not a life or death thing but it's still something we should pass on to anyone we can. There will be plenty of fashion mistakes but not where white underwear is involved. Hopefully.

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