Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Sixth Grade Girl

Dear Sixth Grade Girl,

Actually, strike that. Go back to texting or putting on lip gloss or whispering in someone's ear. I need to talk to your mothers.

Heeeey there, mothers. Here's the thing...I'm totally one of you now. I have a sixth grader. And I preface this by saying that my little sixth grader is about as awkward a bird as you'll find. Awkward and so incredibly smart and dear and sunny and geeky in all of the best ways. I would never want to squash that, and however your daughter is awkward and geeky and dear is precious. She is herself, and I certainly believe whole-heartedly in allowing her to find her way, try on different personas, and experiment with lots of ways of being.

Within reason.

Mothers, please. Before your daughter leaves the house, please make her sit in a chair to make sure you can't see into the back of her pants. Long shirts, please. Likewise, require a bra. Even if she has nothing much happening up there at all, you just never know when the classroom will get chilly and then it's just all kinds of humiliating.

I know...all of our daughters must experiment with fashion and hairstyles. It's part of the ritual. Mine, in fact will never NOT wear a saggy old low ponytail in her beautiful curls, no matter how much I passive-aggressively beg. (You look so pretty with your hair in clips...or any single other way than that...) You won't always win the battle, and that's okay. BUT, if your daughter has a full out black moustache on her pasty-white face, and there is absolutely no cultural reason for that in your heritage, FIX IT. Please fix it. The same goes for a unibrow.

We walk a fine line, mothers, between encouraging their self-esteem and preventing them from being embarrassed in the locker room. I sympathize, and I am typing all of this around the plank in my own eye. Small things, though, make a difference. Small things like underpants, and not letting them wear pajamas to school. And buying them deoderant, and then sniffing them to make sure they wear it.

Okay, girls. Turn around. YOU'RE PRETTY! WE LOVE YOU.

But you might need a shower.

Hugs and Kisses,
Your Teacher
Also a Mother
But Not Yours
But Please Wash Your Hair.


  1. I'd add "and please explain why to them." Those conversations are difficult and embarrassing and awkward for all involved, but it's so much less confusing for the daughter in the long run if she knows why her mother is suddenly calling attention to a unibrow. No mother wants to admit to her daughter that even dear mom, the safe haven, has noticed something about the child that could be a cause of locker room taunting. And we rarely want to admit our baby girls are actually ready for those conversations and the related actions. But as their therapist, please know they are ready. And it's soooo much better if it comes from mom than from the mean girl on the bus.