Straight Up Advice to My Teenage Daughters

Recently, we’ve have had a string of wicked hot summer days. High humidity and all that goes with it. Doesn’t bother me a bit. My favourite seasons are summer and winter for the outdoor sports and the travel opportunities. I live for shorts weather and I hate sacrificing comfort for trends. Bring on the heat and the lighter clothing too.

In summer months I’d be happy to wear a swimsuit and occasionally a coverup and work by the pool all season. But I settle for shorts and nice T-shirts. This season as the temperatures soared I have started noticing a weird phenomenon again and it is disturbing to me as a woman turning 50.


Lately I started noticing how many young women wear jeans, even in blistering hot weather. Denim jeans often meant for Fall and Winter weather. Even on days when men are walking around without shirts on and the thermometer soars to 35 Celsius. OUCH. That’s hot, even for me.

I started wondering if it was a fluke. Then I watched that happen in my own home too, so I had a chat with my girls. Here’s how that went.

“Girl, it’s like 32 Celsius out today why are you wearing a fake leather jacket and jeans?”

The answer sometimes was this: “I prefer them sometimes because I am cold in the air conditioning.”

I accept that even though I am very rarely cold in this weather. And I swear off jeans from May until end of September most years. Shorts are my happy place. My khaki shorts and my loose workout Lululemon shorts that are five years old now easily are my favourites. When they are not clean I get a bit crazy.

My girls are both teens now. They are 14 and 17 (My oldest teenage daughter recently had a birthday!!)  And I catch them wearing a lot of long pants even when clearly sweltering in the heat. Finally I asked the oldest what was up with that. Here’s what she told me.

“Mom, I haven’t had time to shave my legs this week.”

Um, what? “So, no shorts because you haven’t shaved your legs?”

“Yes I look like a cactus.”

Well, honestly. I can’t even see the hair at the best of times. Not like I stand around staring at my daughter’s legs. But a cactus is definitely not what I see. And even if I did who cares?

“I assure you nobody is looking that closely at your legs.”

There are a few things I have discovered about life as a woman turning 50. Life truths. Sometimes I wish I’d known them when I was a teenager. But growth and self actualization are all part of the aging process I guess. In my 40s I rarely cared what people thought of me. Head down, doing my work and going about my business in my corner of the world, I could care less. At 50, I think I might care even less than I cared in my 40s. Life is short. Your hangups are not mine and I don’t get validation from others at this stage of the game.

Frankly there are very few days when I care what anyone thinks about me. At all. My appearance is mine and if I don’t have time to shave my legs, do I swear off shorts? UM, no. Not a chance. In my 30s I still cared. Now, no. Truly no.

These are the Life Lessons I wish all teenage girls would simply listen to and keep close for future. Oh I know I am dreaming if I think teenagers will remember any of this. I remember too well thinking my Mom knew nothing at all about being a teenager. But I can hope…


Five Life Lessons for My Teenage Daughters

Always choose the shorts.

Life is too short to be uncomfortable or overly warm. Trust me on this. The shorts are your friend. Nobody checks your legs that closely. I assure you they do not. If they do then they have a problem and that shouldn’t interfere with your comfort.

This too shall pass.

It might seem like the end of the world when a friend is mean spirited or when your boyfriend forgets an anniversary. Or it might seem really awful when you get a C on an assignment. It might even seem insurmountable when you disagree with a teacher or misunderstand something and can’t seem to straighten it out. Nothing is so big that it cannot be fixed.

You are Enough.

Don’t ever settle for a partner who disappoints you or hurts you. They should wake up every single day knowing you are the best thing that ever happened to them. If they don’t act that way don’t waste your time. You are a Goddess. Move on.

Tell an Adult if You Are Hurting. Tell Me.

Mental health matters and too many young women and young men are hurting right now. Don’t keep that pain to yourself. Please. Tell your Mom or Dad first. Tell me first. And if you can’t do that tell a sister, a neighbour, a camp counsellor, coach or teacher. Someone to help lift the burden and find you support. It is devastating to me to hear about young people committing suicide. Impossible to comprehend how overwhelmed they must feel for this to happen. Also lately I feel we are surrounded by kids who are contemplating suicidal thoughts. I know this because my kids talk to me and tell me when their friends have mentioned this. Then we discuss how to be a good friend and what the child or family is doing to get help and support.


Choose Friends Often.

Friends are the extended family you can share things with when you feel like you will burst. Some days you will laugh loudest with them. Surround yourselves with good friends. Kind friends. Good people who love to laugh with you. People who have your back almost as much as your family does. But let them be the friends who calm you down when you need that and lift you up when you need it.

Choose friends often. They will be there often through thick and thin and you need them.

Being a girl and growing teenage girls is a gift and sometimes a challenge. I hope my kids understand these things sooner rather than later. Sweating it out in uncomfortable gear, or believing disappointment, pain and sadness are a daily part of normal relationships shouldn’t add obstacles to the transition of becoming an adult.


Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.