5 Things My Teenage Daughters Know More About Than I Do


When your kids are little, you figure you know more than they do on just about every subject. I am sure this belief spawned the original parenting cliché “Because I am your mother, and I said so.” Yet now that my girls are growing up, I find myself in the dark on a variety of topics. Sometimes this is funny, but other times, it’s just depressing. Here are five areas where my expertise has been surpassed.

5 Things My Teenage Daughters Know More About than I Do:

1. Soap

Although I have never considered myself an expert on soap, I am astounded by the dizzying array of soap products now available. Equally amazing to me is that my teenage daughters can’t get enough. It started with Bath & Body Works. They need new fragrances of hand soap and bath gel for each season. God forbid one of them would use Warm Vanilla Sugar a day past New Year’s. We also now have a basket of bath bombs and bubble bars from Lush. Drop one in the tub, and you too can magically watch seven dollars dissolve in water. I am sure they see me as a disgrace. I simply shower with a bar of Unscented Dove.

2. Spanish verbs

I used to pride myself on my knowledge of Spanish. As my kids started taking Spanish in school, I loved being able to help them with basic phrases and vocabulary. And then wouldn’t you know that in high school, the teacher wanted my daughter to learn other verb tenses. Wait a minute-– I speak Spanish in the present tense only! There was a little hope for me to relearn past tense, but as she moved to imperfect, I just gave up. The good news is we recently got back from Cancun, and I still know how to ask for a beer and the bathroom.

3. Technology

Clearly now is the time for payback from all the instances I smiled indulgently when my father asked me how to send an email. I used to be able to build web pages in HTML back in the ’90s, but now I am sadly behind the times. My 12-year-old takes my phone once a week to refresh my apps. My high schooler laughs out loud every time I touch the screen of her MacBook in an attempt to click on something. “OMG Mom – it’s not a touch screen!” I have been out of the business world so long, I have completely forgotten Excel. I recently needed help setting up a basic SUM function, and was so embarrassed I considering doing the math on my phone calculator and then typing it into the cell. At this rate, I will be unable to digitally communicate with people in a few short years.

4. Makeup

Sephora represents Mecca for my 15-year-old. On the other hand, I find Sephora overwhelming and somewhat intimidating. How could I possibly attempt to use all of these items? It’s gotten so specific– like, I need a separate foundation just for my eye lids. Really? Why? My daughter wants to purchase things I have never heard of: primer, setting spray, what? And none of it’s cheap! She also watches Jaclyn Hill on YouTube for all kinds of tips and product recommendations. She must own at least 10 palettes for either highlighting and contouring or eye shadow. Maybe I am losing my eyesight, but even with reading glasses, it all looks like about the same six shades of brown or pink to me. She wanted another one for her birthday, but I put my foot down because one of these “new” pink shades was called “orgasm.” I have some standards.

5. Rap Music

And no I don’t mean Vanilla Ice, although I do sometimes watch him renovate a house on TV. I used to feel like I had a pretty good handle on the music industry in general. But now it seems like there is a whole new genre that I don’t even have the name for. What do you call the style of music performed at outdoor music festivals where a bunch of teens and 20-somethings dress in clothes that bring to mind Seattle grunge, but with barely any coverage of the private parts because I live in Texas and it’s HOT outside! To make matters worse, I have succumbed to the dreaded phrase, “Turn that music down please.” More accurately “OMG turn that crap off!!” There are over 1,000 songs on her iPhone, and I can’t possibly censor that playlist, but so many of the songs seem offensive. In a complete punt as a parent, I have just made the rule that she must wear headphones to spare the rest of us, because I am determined to preserve the innocence of the 12-year-old for at least one more year.