“Things my mother unintentionally taught me that I never thought I would do to my future kids…but I think would be AWESOME.” – A.K.A the alternative title to this post.
I don’t talk about my family much on here, intentionally, for a multitude of reasons that I just don’t feel it necessary to get into. However, they have helped shape who I am today, even though I’ve always been independent. Well, as soon as my parents got me a used car, I went off to college and lived in the dorms with all meals provided. Then I became independent.
As you know, I drove the whole way back to Maryland (a whopping 11 hours on Memorial Day Weekend, mind you) for my friend’s wedding. I would be lying if I said the long drive didn’t suck. It sucked. But the beauty of long drives is that you get to clear your head. And when you have a clear head, magic happens. But it doesn’t happen without several 16oz cups of coffee, 2.5 bathroom breaks per cup (on average), and good entertainment.
So at the recommendation of a good friend, I bought two audiobooks: “Bossypants,” by Tina Fey and “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” by Mindy Kahling.
It was my first time experiencing audiobooks, and I think it’s safe to say that this is how I plan on keeping myself alert for long car rides in the future. If you’ve never experienced an audiobook, the actual author reads the book, so you get an authentic experience of the writing in the author’s syntax. I highly recommend it.
But what I loved about these two books is that they’re so relatable in different ways. Tina and Mindy walk us through some of their most awkward experiences that I found myself nodding and mentally saying ‘yes’ to.
So, without further ado, here’s the post that these two ladies inspired somewhere between South Carolina and Washington, D.C..
Unintentionally-Learned Life Skills
A few thing I learned early on in life…
On having a moral compass
When dragged to parent-teacher conferences to serve as an interpreter for immigrant parents, it is always in your best interest to just be honest. It is expected that whatever the teacher reports to your parents, you sit there and translate word-for-word. Sheer terror that their reaction to your interpreting does not match the expected reaction of your teacher will be a dead giveaway of your dishonesty.
You are also a bad liar, which is the true reason why it’s in your best interest to just be honest. Are you lazy at the end of the day? Just go ahead and translate that.
Thank you, mom + dad, for teaching me to have integrity.
On bra shopping
reluctantly bra-shopping for the first time, always bring your father and younger siblings with you, in addition to your mother. Especially if it is a store for adult women. Cute tween stores pre-2013 with private fitting rooms are beneath you, because you were raised to hold your head high no matter the situation. While you’re there, it is very important that your mother try on several different training bras, over your clothes, in the middle of the sales floor. This ensures that you get the perfect fit.
When the attractive young men walk in with their comically-endowed girlfriends and they all freeze in an empathetic gesture, act like you are not part of the train wreck unfolding three feet away from them. This will help make it clear that it’s how it should be done, and that they should not feel uncomfortable for you. This is also not the time to hide behind the lingerie rack to indulge in your body-image issues. You got this.
Congratulations, parents. You single-handedly ensured that I would never be one of those ‘girls gone wild.’
Thanks for teaching me about having dignity.
On becoming a woman
When embarking on your rite of passage into womanhood (a.k.a. menarche), make sure you keep this a secret from any loose-lipped people around you. In your case, this would mean your mother. You managed to hide it for two years (of which you are proud), for you knew that everyone in the family would know the instant
you dropped the ball she found the evidence (which includes her nine siblings and their kids, and my father’s eight siblings and their kids).
The moment your secret is no more your mother, indeed, will proceed to tell everyone.
Thank you, mom, for teaching me about woman’s intuition.
When you start losing your baby fat (thanks to the aforementioned glorious life event) boys will start to notice you. And because boys are the most eloquent and expressive creatures of God’s green Earth, Kevin Campbell knows exactly what pulls your heartstrings.
One hot, summer day on your way home from the supermarket with your mother, when both of your hands are weighed down by overflowing groceries, Kevin will spot you walking back home and think, “This is it. The moment I have been waiting for.” He will walk next to you, in all his smugness, ignoring your mother, and start touching your cheek. And not just a tap. A slow, dragged-out caressing action that feels more disgusting and degrading with every swipe.
Your mother knows you will be able to handle this. After all, she’s ingrained in you that your body is a temple. But she also doesn’t react in stressful situations, so you’ve learned to cope and take action yourself. And so, you do the responsible thing and decide to put a stop to this baboon’s display of affection.
You angrily demand Kevin stop this annoying gesture. When he defiantly continues, you drop your grocery bags and do what any self-respecting girl from Queens would do. Bitch-slap the shit out of him.
How you felt on this inside as you walked away was well worth the pain of that broken and bleeding nail. It was only amplified by the small smile on my mother’s face.
And the look of shock that spread across Kevin’s face as he stood there? Priceless.
Thank you, mom, for teaching me self-respect.
When embarking on your first adventurous pursuit in high school (such as Six Flags Great Adventures off exit 7A on the New Jersey Turnpike two hours from home) make sure you have a responsible chaperone that can report any shenanigans to your mother. It is very important that they have their own cell phone so your mother can contact them at all times.
Your chaperone’s minimum age limit is merely a suggestion. It is perfectly fine to have a chaperone that is six months younger than you. As long as he is male, no one will mess with you, and you won’t get hurt or lost or anything. Especially if you both look like you’re 17.
Thanks for teaching me about the power of independence.