All the things I used to be

I packed The Tortoise’s lunch aggressively this morning, anger bubbling up in my throat until I just couldn’t contain it any longer. I had tried to be diplomatic, give her an opportunity to make a better choice about her wardrobe, but the message was just not being received.

Or she didn’t care.

However, I did care.

“OK, that’s it,” I said, smacking the pairing knife down on the cutting board, “either go put a tank top or cami or something, anything, under that dress so that your boobs aren’t falling out all over the place or I’m going to start picking out your clothes for you.”

If I had been standing any closer, I would’ve been knocked over by the amount of force from her eye roll. In a huff she disappeared upstairs, returning a few minutes later with a more appropriate neckline. We shared the kitchen in silence for a few minutes.

“You know, ” I said tentatively, “I’m just trying to protect all those goofy boys from failing.”

“What?” The Tortoise asked.

“I don’t think you understand how easily distracted boys can get and if you show up at school with those accessories in their face all day they wouldn’t be able to pay attention in class.”

The Tortoise giggled realizing my ridiculous sarcasm. I took advantage of  this change of mood to talk about first impressions and appropriate wardrobe once again. It seems to be a daily discussion when you have a teenage daughter.

My daughters would probably use words like conservative, strict, serious, organized, and predictable to describe me. They’ve never seen me wear a multicolored spandex dress with purple tights and lace-up black boots. They’ve never heard me throw out a slew of “f-bombs” or seen me falling down drunk. They are unaware I have stayed up all night writing a paper the day before it was due because I wasted weeks to get my work done or run through a drive-thru wearing pajamas in the middle of the night because I was craving egg-rolls.  And they would probably never suspect that I have played practical jokes on my friends, jokes that left us rolling in the grass laughing so hard we thought we were going to pee our pants.

To them, I am just mom.

They don’t realize all the things I used to be: young, immature, selfish, and naive to name a few. It’s not that I miss those unbecoming qualities of myself, qualities that matured after becoming a parent, but sometimes I wish I didn’t forget so much so I could relate better.

This post was inspired by the following prompt: 5.) Share something you miss from before you were a mom. (inspired by Life’s Unexpected Blessings)

Every week you’re invited to join Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop by responding to one of the provided writing prompts posted each Tuesday. To view more detailed instructions on how this weekly meme works, check out the Writer’s Workshop FAQs.

17 thoughts on “All the things I used to be

  1. I’m going through “appropriate clothes” issues with my 10 1/2 year old daughter. She likes to wear short shorts. You are supposed to wear shorts that when you hold your arms at your sides, are longer than the end of your fingertips. She really pushes the limit on this one. My husband and I are already so tired of fighting this battle, and she is only a “tween”. Maybe she’s getting it out of her system now (yeah, right). I would LOVE school uniforms. I know it will never happen, but the amount of stress that would go away in parents’ lives on this subject would be immense.

    By the way, I can also relate to the dramatic eye roll. :0 I don’t even know what to say about that one.

    On the plus side, my daughter helped me organize my closet the other day. And, by organize, I mean get rid of all of my “unfashionable” clothes that she thinks are just embarrassing for me to be seen in. 🙂 We filled two very large trash bags and had about 30 empty hangers at the end of the session. Yay!

  2. Lucky for me you liked to wear conservative clothes when you were a teenager. Laura Ashley was big then. Otherwise, we might have had some of those same conversations. And I bet the Tortoise doesn’t know her grandma wore dresses so short that she had to sink down to pick something up instead of bending over.

  3. You’re doing a great job! Sure wish more moms would pay attention to the boobs falling out. I know you wish you’d remember so you’d relate more but I bet you ARE relating and may not even realize it. 🙂

  4. My mum has a conversation like this with my sister every time she comes home to see us, and she’s 22 now ;D I don’t think it’s just teenagers! “Bella, that dress is rather low. Do you wear that to work?”
    “Yes, Mum…”
    “Well, I don’t think THAT’S appropriate.”
    It makes me laugh. Because I wear jeans and a t-shirt almost all the time (and our school uniform code, while relaxed to own clothes in sixth form, has lots of restrictions) it’s not a problem with me. I don’t like showing my body because I’m quite insecure about it. So Mum doesn’t have to worry so much – except when I’m wearing my sister’s hand-me-downs!

  5. I am so glad I was so insecure in high school because I had big boobs. If I had known then how powerful they were I might not been such a good girl. But as it was I was ashamed of them and of course didn’t appreciate my bounty until after having two kids totally deflated them. Sigh. Youth is so wasted on the young.

  6. I laughed at this, but I just have one tiny question… WHY are you still packing her lunch? Shouldn’t she be packing her own at this point? I mean, if she has to cover up the “girls,” she can make herself her lunch LOL (at least, that’s what I’ve told A now once eye rolls and comments about lunches began though I know the eye rolls here didn’t have anything to do with the lunch). Just sayin’

  7. Oh, no not the eye roll! Universal teen language! It is automatically wired into them for their eyes to start rolling around in their heads at about age 12.

    I don’t think you are giving yourself enough credit here. I think you do remember. It is clear in your words, clear in how you handled the situation successfully. It is a constant give and take. How lucky she is to have a mom who is willing to go the distance with her.

  8. It’s a hard line to draw, isn’t it? On one hand, I want my teen to love her body for the thing of beauty it is. But yet society makes (forces?) us to tell her to conceal it because it can be distracting. Does this shame her? Shroud her with misplaced modesty? Or is it appropriate and respectful?

    I don’t know. Good God, this is all so confusing. ACK.

    1. It is a fine line – especially since people draw certain conclusions about people based on how they dress – and not just classmates, teachers too! Lord knows there were many outfits I have worn over the years that I would be mortified to see my daughter wearing. Ugh.

      1. I agree. My daughter has the body to absolutely “rock” a bikini, but, um…NO. I think a lot of it has to do with social maturity, and their ability to pick up signals. Like you described in your scenario, they are often unaware of the attention they attract at that age.

        Aren’t girls fun? :eyeroll:

      2. I think it has to do with intent – my younger daughter wears a two piece bathing suit “just because” but my older one wants to wear it to “show off”. I don’t know why I wear one, because lord knows it isn’t for either of those reasons.

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