5 Things Not To Do In Front Of Your Daughters

Clare is 10, Bridget is 8.

They still climb in bed with us in the morning. They still want to snuggle in front of the TV. They forever and endlessly want me to scratch their unrelenting backs.

Sometimes they declare passionately, “I love you, Mommy.”

Christmas 2004 — When I could do no wrong.

But an ill-wind blows. Here are 5 things not to do in front of your tween daughters:

1.  Don’t Explain Their Churlish Behavior to Guests

When your unconventional, childless girlfriend — who finds married suburbanites a bore — visits, and your eldest is mopey, do not say to your friend, “Don’t mind my daughter’s lack of enthusiasm in greeting you, she’s exhausted by entering puberty.”

Don’t say that.

2.  Don’t Make Them Perform Like Trained Organ-Grinder Monkeys

When your childless, unconventional, gay friend — who finds marriage an insufferable, repressive institution — visits, don’t force your kids to tell him all their favorite moments on Glee.

And definitely don’t try to force them to perform the Matthew Morrison, Gwyneth (I-walk-on-water) Paltrow mash-up of Singin’ In The Rain and Umbrella. 

Your daughters will just stand there, not singing, and stare at him like automatons spawned by a marriage that has sucked all the life out of them.

They will look like The Children Of The Corn.

This is how Bridget looks when I ask her to sing for friends.

3.  Don’t Gossip in Front of Your Daughters

Or even when they’re in the next room, holding an empty glass to the wall to hear everything you say too loudly, because you’re quaffing a nice Chablis with your friend, The German.

If you tell The German, “Bridget’s friend Edna has no parental supervision whatsoever. Her parents let her watch Paranormal Activity 12! They’re raising a Satanist!” — two days later, Edna’s mom will come up to you at school and ask if you’d like to join her Occult group.

4.  Don’t Be Naked in Front of Them

When you dash from the shower, through the hall, into your bedroom, wrap yourself tightly in an absorbent, six-foot long bath towel.

Because if you dash naked through the hall, holding your breasts aloft in the palms of your hands and they happen to see you — like a rare sighting of Sasquatch — they will cry, “Ack,” or “Eww,” or “I didn’t need to see that, Mom,” causing you to mummify yourself in Spanx for Time and all Eternity.

5.  Don’t Over-Explain Your Behavior To Your Daughters

For instance, if you watch E.T. with them, and you cry when E.T.’s heart light goes out, and they get upset because they don’t like to see their mother cry — don’t tell them you’re fine, you’re not sad, it’s just that wine makes you sentimental.

Because the next day, at your parent-teacher conference, Miss Shindig will say, “So, I understand you’re a lush, Shannon.”

Check back in five years when they’re 13 and 15.

I will still have the aforementioned 5 things not to do in front of your daughters, but will have added 100 more.

Parents, good luck. Be safe out there. And don’t take any wooden nickels.

38 thoughts on “5 Things Not To Do In Front Of Your Daughters”

  1. I have an 18-month-old and so far the only MAJOR don’t I’ve learned is this: when your kid is driving you absolutely nuts, don’t burst out, “You’re driving me nuts!” It’s not very productive…and probably not too great for their self-esteem.

    1. Hi Chelsea — as I recall 18-month olds are actually tiny Huns drunk with power. A wise friend and excellent father told me it was good to occasionally lose it with your kids so they know you’re human, have limits and sometimes even have to apologize.

  2. Ok, the picture with all the freckles is way to cute. I remember my daughter at that point and watching her try to both want to be involved(wanting attention) or being embarrassed by mom and dad. I think it is this point in there development that they really learn about social cues. Or simply put how mom and dad do it all wrong. My daughter is a senior in High School so I have a pretty good idea that you are going to be getting way more than 5 things hitting you soon. 🙂

  3. My oldest, 25. My youngest, 20. Both boys and still thinks mommy (walks on water) is the greatest woman ever. THE GIRLS as we lovingly refer to them are in the middle. Have never thought mommy (walks on water) was the greatest anything. Maybe ‘picker’. I’m the greatest picker! Because they say I always ‘pick’ at them. Weird, I thought that was my mother. Whatever. It’s THE GIRLS!!!

    1. I’m sure you were just picking their nits the way any good mother would. I’m constantly following mine around with nail clippers. Which might explain why they both bite their nails.

  4. Loved this! I don’t have tweens, I have toddlers–but I’ve already learned that there is no way I can get them to perform or do anything I ask in front of my friends. They act like useless bumps on a log or just end up throwing a fit. How annoying. I need to get a dog or something trainable to fill this need I have.

    1. I remember getting 2-year old Clare out of her crib to meet one of my intellectual, childless friends and when she saw my friend her eyes opened really wide and she monotonously intoned, “TeeeeVeeee. TeeeVeeee.”

  5. I have boys…older boys, but I can certainly relate to what you’re saying because I’ve been there. And yes, most definitely, the list does get longer when they get older. But, take heart, once they get old enough–like in their twenties–I find that they are more tolerant of what I say and do. (Or perhaps, they assume I’m just senile and go with that.)

  6. I can’t agree with this more. This is the very first time I have ever wished a blog post was longer! That’s HUGE. We really need to share a bottle of wine one day!

  7. “But an ill wind blows.” …I have an 11 and a 13 year old, it’s hurricane-force winds over here. Just you wait, pretty lady. Just. You. Wait.

  8. funny….. I love the gossip tip… but sorry I think if they see you naked now.. later they won’t gasp!!! or be mortified you didn’t warn them

    1. True – they need to see my deterioration on a daily basis so they don’t freak out in thirty years when I need them to change my diapers.

  9. Adorable piece–and so are your girls. Just wait till they get to high school. I think it’s a minor miracle my daughter survived me.

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