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What I'd tell my 13 year old self

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Momma Kiss: What I'd tell my 13 year old self

Momma Kiss

If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What I'd tell my 13 year old self

You know the company Dove? They make that creamy soap that isn’t soap? It’s the first “big girl” thing I remember my mom letting me use. Her Dove Bar. I think I was 8.

I’ve seen Dove’s most recent campaign called “Dove Movement for Self-Esteem” and I wondered how I could help. You see, when I was 13 – I could have used some help in the self-esteem department. My body was changing. My role-models were changing. I was in a single parent home. We didn’t have a lot of money. 13 is a HARD age.

Turns out, helping was easy. All I had to do was answer the following question:

“What do you wish you’d known at 13?”

How loaded is this question? Jeesh. At 13, I was going through a lot. Like I mentioned, I was in a single parent home. My mom took college classes during the day and worked most nights. Or vice-versa. She was divorced, and my father had recently passed away. When alive, he lived pretty far away, so she didn’t have help in parenting even before he passed away. I’m the 5th of 6 kids, and when I was 13 – it was just myself and my 11 year old brother at home. My 3 older brothers and older sister had moved on long ago.

I had to maneuver Jr. High and High School without my big sibs around to give me advice. I had to instead offer it to my kid brother, who was so freakin’ smart, he was in some of MY classes. Talk about an ego slammer. Well, I should clarify, I wasn’t dumb, at all, he was just THAT smart.

At 13, I was looking to get a job to help my mom support our family. I was wearing hand me downs from friends. I was cooking and cleaning. I was dabbling in ‘boys.’ I was NOT smart about that. Fortunately, unlike many of my friends, I did NOT touch alcohol, thank God. I waited til I was 17 for that ;) And didn’t enjoy it one bit.

So to answer the question, what do I wish I had known at 13 – I wish I had known that all of the responsibilities I thought were ‘torturous’ for a newly minted Teenager would actually prepare me to be a good mother.

Instead of resenting my own mother for “making” me do chores and hang out with my brother, I wish I had known she was actually teaching me life skills. Not to mention, that time with my brother? Well, it was cut short. Since he died when he was 17 – that hanging out time we had, I’ll never get that back. I wish I spent MORE time with him.

I wish I had known that the boys who teased me were just awkward teens themselves. They couldn’t help but be intimidated by my beauty. [sarcasm]

I wish I had known that my mother’s sacrifices for her children ran deep, and if she could have given me the moon, she would have.

I wish I had known that being 13 and being picked on by girls with 10 cabbage patch kids and 4 pair of Madonna Lace gloves – well – those were not the worst memories of my life. And swinging on the tire swing with my best friend? Those weren’t the best memories, either.

The best and worst were yet to come. My world did go on after my best friend dumped me for the Rich Girl who just transferred in. My world did go on after my ‘boyfriend’ told his friends our secrets.

Yes, at 13, I wish I had known that life would only carry on. It would get better, at times worse, but it would go on.

Anyone want to answer the same question? Try Dove’s site here: Dove Movement

And the next time you see a 13 year old girl, who may be struggling, tell her she’s beautiful, inside and out.

FTC Disclaimer: “Dove sent me a sample of product to answer this question. But I’d have written the post anyway. Self-esteem issues, especially in girls, is ongoing and I hope people keep talking about it.”

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Blogger The mad woman behind the blog said...

Wicked SMAHT girlfriend. You, that is.

My favorite part "...those were not the worst memories of my life ...those weren’t the best memories"

We didn't have a clue that life would hold such riches and heartaches, did we?

10/23/10, 11:01 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Wow, MommaKiss. This is a lot. But you know, despite all this adversity, you still have a "silver lining" look on it. You can tell all this has made you a tougher chick.

10/23/10, 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that seems like quite a bit to go through at such a young age. I really do wish you could go back and give yourself that advice! =)

10/23/10, 11:49 AM  
Blogger Just Another Mom of 2 said...

I love this- I have a post coming up tomorrow on the same subject! Being a teenager was so hard and everything seemed earth-shattering and life-changing. To be able to understand that life does go on, that it does get better, would have helped so.freaking.much.

10/23/10, 12:02 PM  
Blogger tulpen said...

This is awesome.

Did you know that I'm the 5th of six kids too? And that my Mom made me do my own laundry starting in SECOND grade. I never told my friends that at the time. I was so embarassed.

13 is the absolute worst. That's what I'd tell my 13 year old self. That it will get better, not always great, but better. That the cool girls who wouldn't hang out with me ended up knocked up by age 15. That the boy I crushed on so hard would end up overweight, bald and divorced by the time he was 30.

10/23/10, 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

such an important topic! I loved learning about you at 13. Telling a 13 yo girl she is beautiful and loved every day is KEY! My mother never wanted me to be conceited so I was never told that. My daughter? We tell her all the time. she is confident and has made some really good choices. not to say she won't mistakes but I always wanted her to *know* she is beautiful.

10/23/10, 1:03 PM  
Blogger ☾ Ash ♡ said...

When I was 13 I was oh so awkward.. next to my sister who was skinny and pretty when I was,.. not. I tried being like her.. it didn't work, because even to this day we are so total opposites in every possible way.

the 13 year old me needed to know she was beautiful and loved, because she was very often overlooked by everyone.

10/23/10, 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Making It Work Mom said...

Being a girl is hard. I have an almost 11 year old and I want to protect her from all this so badly, but part of me knows that these are things that will make her stronger. I am trying to do my best to meddle when I need to and let her work through some of the other things.

10/23/10, 11:26 PM  
Blogger Booyah's Momma said...

Holy cow. Can't imagine going through some of that as a teenager. What a strong lady you are. And your mother? Sounds amazing.

10/23/10, 11:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa..... said...

Great post.

10/24/10, 12:28 AM  
Blogger Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

You had a pretty tough childhood. But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Refiner's fire for sure.

10/24/10, 1:22 AM  
Blogger Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

Yes, I wish I'd known so so many of these things.

There was no one around to tell me.

And even if I hadn't really believed them at the time, these sorts of things are really just seeds to be planted.

They sprout later, even when we're sure they didn't take root.

Lovely, lovely post.

10/25/10, 10:35 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

This is one of your best posts yet. It's perfect.

I too wish I wouldn't have resented my mom for making me "help" - now I understand why she did the things she did and I feel so bad I was such an asshole to her.

You've inspired me to write a post to my 13 year old self....I just gotta think more about it.

10/26/10, 10:35 AM  
Blogger The Sharp's said...

Good for you!!! 13 is hard, period! Throw all that life has to give in the mix and things could get ugly fast!

Great post.

10/26/10, 11:43 AM  
Blogger The Empress said...

I"d love to do this letter, too, but it'd be so sad, you know?

I'll bet it was cathartic.
Thank you for your honesty.

10/27/10, 1:41 AM  

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