Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mama J's 25 bits of advice for daughters (and some for sons too)

This past week I saw a bunch of people post links on Facebook to posts on parenting blogs (some serious, some jokes) about "rules" for parents of daughters and sons. Then there was the "rules for dads of daughters" and someone brought back the classic Tina Fey "prayer for her daughter." So I figured I would do a post in the same vein as these other posts, but with my own spin on it...using my mistakes to prevent my daughter from future embarrassment and regret - or as I like to call them "moments of my life that give me the icks when I think about them."

So here goes...Mama J's advice for daughter's (and some apply to sons too) everywhere:

1. Don't drink Long Island Ice Teas. Nothing good will happen if you do. When I first started drinking at bars in college I had no idea what to order. I had had a few beers and wine coolers in my day, but never a cocktail, so I ordered what I had heard of...a Long Island Iced Tea. They are a disgusting tasting drink composed of like 7 different liquors which should never be in the same glass together, with a splash of Coke. They give you a terrible hangover, after what will most likely be a night you will regret. Stay away from them all together...which leads me to my next bit of advice...

2. Pace yourself when you drink. It takes a few minutes for alcohol to kick in, so don't just keep drinking because you don't feel anything. It will come. It is ok to enjoy a few cocktails, just don't be that girl who gets sloppy drunk and does things she regrets in the morning!

this looks better than my hair did
3. Don't dye your hair blond at home. You will never have hair the color of the person's on the box. Especially if you start with brown hair. It will turn out school bus yellow, after burning the crap out of your scalp for 15 minutes. If you must, have it done professionally, but remember it costs money to maintain. Stay brunette if you are brunette.

4. Don't let anyone touch you that you don't want touching you. You are no one's property, no one has the right to hurt you. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, get out of it quick. If it is a boyfriend that is doing this to you, he doesn't love you...get out of it quick.

5. Don't be afraid to speak up in class. I was petrified to speak up in class in college. The classes were big, the teachers intimidating, but that didn't mean I didn't know the answers 90% of the time. And because I wouldn't speak up I would always get called on when I didn't know the answer. If you know the answer - speak up! If you have a question - speak up! Let your voice be heard.

NOT OK
6. Always wear a bra. Unless you are basically flat chested, there is no excuse not to wear a bra (and daughter of mine, you will not be flat chested if dna has anything to do with boob size). Tank tops with a "built in shelf bra" do not count as bras. I went through the warm months of college wearing these hideous things, and every photo I have of myself my boobs are the first thing I notice. Not good. Wear a bra. The only people you are attracting when you don't are crazy horny boys. They will be looking bra or not, so don't give them an excuse to stare!

7. Be nice to everyone. This one is pretty self explanatory. I was the type of person that was friends with everyone in high school and college. You never know how people's lives are going to turn out, just be friendly to everyone. Never make fun of anyone's physical appearance or behaviors. There is always something on you that they could make fun of right back, so just be nice!



8. Do (and study) what you love to do. I was in the School of Management (business school) at BC. I had no business being in business school. I didn't want to have a career in finance or accounting, or even marketing, which ended up being my major. I ended up spending 4 years in classes that had no interest to me whatsoever. I was an avid photographer, so I took every photography class that was offered at BC, and had always wanted to work in publishing, but never did anything about it! After college I spent years in marketing jobs that I didn't like - I have no idea how I would have done it over (possibly a photography major at a different school) but I envied all my friends that were studying what they really loved. I wish I could do it all over again but have the same life I do now. Study what you want to study in college (and if that changes halfway through so be it!) and then do what you are passionate about in life!

My fave boy band in my favorite denim
form of the 90s!! Sigh. 
9. You don't have to follow fashion trends. Just because inside out jeans are the cool thing (I have no idea what will be cool in 10 years from now!) doesn't mean you have to wear them, because they probably look ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as wide legged jeans did for me in college, and overalls (my freshman year wardrobe staple), or sleeve-less turtle neck sweaters. Skinny jeans are not for anyone that has hips! It is ok to follow some trends, but not every trend is for every body. I pray Z.Cavaricci pants don't come back in your lifetime.

10. Go up a size. When I was in high school I had some body issues. I had just moved from seasonal Philly to 80 degree south Florida, where all of my classmates wore bikinis on the weekends. I didn't own a bikini when I moved there. I never had a perfectly flat stomach, but looking back I had a rocking athletic body. I was so concerned about being in a size 8 that I would squeeze my size 10 body into smaller clothes, that at the time I thought looked amazing. There is no shame in being a bigger size. No one has to know! And if you go up a size, chances are you will look skinnier!

11. Stay active. While your life is still your own, and you don't have the responsibility of taking care of another human, husband and house, stay active and stay in shape! Gone are the days of going to the gym 5 days a week, and here are the days of play dates and lunch dates. The free time you have you are so tired from the rest of the day that you don't want to do anything active. I wish I had gotten in the best shape of my life before kids, but that is for in 5 years, when our (hopefully) 2 kids will be in school and mommy can get her rocking bod back!

I was lucky enough to
see the pyramids
before baby!
12. Travel before you have kids. Speaking of things to do before kids - TRAVEL! Travel everywhere you can afford to go. I am sure if you asked nice your parents will help you a bit too. It is so hard, and expensive, to get anywhere after you have kids, so do it now! I was so happy to have a husband who shared my love for travel and we did it up before we had kids, but there are still those places, like Paris and New Zealand, that I wish we got to before we became parents...

13. Date a bunch of boys before you settle down. Now, I don't encourage ladies to give it up to everyone that asks for it (but my advice is to take a few boys for a test drive before you pick one because you need to see what equipment is out there ladies!) but I do suggest that you date a few men before you pick the husband to be! Have fun while you are still young!

14. Don't spend a lot on your wedding dress. You will be wearing it for 6-8 hours. One day of your life. It will then go in a box for the next 30 years or more. It is ridiculous to spend a lot of money on a wedding dress. There are copies of expensive ones out there for less than $1000. I know. Mine was $800 and looked ten times as much.

so I looked up "overspending" and
this photo came up. Just had to
include it because it is hilarious. 
15. Don't spend more money than you make. Oh if I could only go back to my 21 year old self and explain to her that $28,000 a year is not the fortune that you think it is! And credit card debt adds up quicker than you think it will! And don't spend like you are going to get that raise like you thought you were because you don't get it! And learn to balance a check book dummy!

16. Don't ever give anyone your personal info. This should be a given, but it wasn't for 18 year old me. I was in love! My boyfriend already had bad credit and needed a cell phone! Of course you can have my social security number!! Only 4 years later (after having broken up 2 years prior) did I find out that he never paid for it and owed $100s of dollars, and now I had bad credit too! DUMMY.

17. It's ok not to go to everything. Sometimes family functions trump school events. It will seem like the end of your life, but it isn't. Your friends won't not be your friends if you miss a dance...and there will be plenty of other dances for you to show off your dance moves at later on in life.

18. Have fun with your kids. When you eventually have kids (after you establish a career, make some money and meet and marry a fabulous man) don't be afraid to get in there and have fun with them. Sure people might look at you funny when you are playing with the trains at the museum with the other kids and making funny noises, but the kids love it, and love you for doing it! Be silly. Don't stand back with the other stuffy parents.

19. Watch the sunrise. The sunrise is 10 times better than the sunset. Get up early, watch it, you won't regret it.

20. Be adventurous with food. When I was little I remember my father paying me to eat an oyster at the dinner table. I didn't love it, but I did it for the $10, and it actually sparked my love of trying new food. Be adventurous when it comes to food - don't get the same thing all the time because you don't know what you like until you try it all!


21. Sometimes couples don't fight. Everyone says "everybody fights." Well, it isn't true. My husband and I have been together for 12 years and never had a fight. Sure, we have had disagreements, but we talk them out like civilized human beings so it never gets to the "fighting" point. This is just proof of good communication. If you have it with your partner, you won't fight. If you are upset about something, tell him or her right away. Get it out and don't go to sleep angry - makes for scary dreams!

22. Read lots of books (including the ones that school assigns you).  I wish I read more when I was younger. I hated reading books school assigned, but read them later in life and was so upset I hadn't seriously read them when I was younger! Reading broadens your mind, it educates you, it entertains you...Read as much as you can!

23. Take time to think about big purchases before actually making them. If you are buying something like a car or a house, these are not impulse purchases. Do your research! Test drive! Take your time to make the final decision. I will never forgive myself for convincing my husband that we should buy a VW Passat because I wanted one. No other reason, and we did no research - and $1000s later we have a lemon of a car in our garage that I refuse to drive. Biggest mistake of our lives.

ok so be a little more
polite than this
24. Bring a hostess gift and write thank you notes. Handwriting might be a thing of the past in 10 years, but even so, you should hand write thank you notes ALWAYS. If someone invited you over for dinner, bring them flowers or wine and afterwards send them a thank you note. If you stayed at your (college) boyfriends (whom you are monogamous with) house over the weekend, you better have brought his mom something, and written her a note of thanks afterwards. Someone sends you a gift - send them a thank you note within the week. It takes time, and the gift costs money, but it makes a HUGE impression. Good manners are very important in life.

25. Don't go on a reality dating show. OK, so I have no personal experience with this, but the thought of my daughter, or a friend's daughter or son, parading themselves around in a bikini in hopes of finding "true love" makes me want to vomit. Don't be a desperate fame whore and go on a reality show to find love. You will just embarrass yourself. No one likes those girls (or boys). You are better than them. You will find love in the real world, I promise!










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