Every day, someone publishes a new blog about the important advice their mum gave them as they grew up. They tell us to ‘love ourselves’ and that ‘looks don’t matter’ and ‘crushes will come and go’. And even though it’s good advice, sometimes it’s just so general that it’s actually pretty useless.
The thing is, there’s a lot of time between when you’re 15 and when you’re 40. It’s easy to think about body image and boyfriends and stuff that magazines write about all the time, but it can be more difficult for your mum to really remember the things she experienced or stuffed up when she was 15 and what she learned from them.
We got a bunch of sisters together of different ages, to talk about the lessons their mum taught them, and the stuff they wish she would have told them so they didn’t have to go through it themselves.
In among the uncontrollable laughing, mocking and teasing, we came up with a pretty good list of things we wish our mum would have mentioned to us, so growing up would have been a bit easier (and less embarrassing)!
- Guy friends who love you
Everyone always says guys and girls can’t be friends, and we all agreed this is just total BS. Even so, each of us learned the hard way that getting your heart broken by a guy can be so much worse when he is your best friend, not your boyfriend.
Each of us had a best guy friend growing up, someone we went to pre-school or primary with. He was a guy we hung out with at lunch time, had sleepovers, that kind of stuff. To us, he wasn’t even a guy, he was the other half of our superhero gang, and our go-to when girlfriends couldn’t be relied on.
The problem is…
We all had our hearts broken into a million pieces when our best friends reached senior high school and just couldn’t hold it in any more — they had to declare their undying love for us! Most of us handled it in different ways; some of us laughed it off as a joke, others ignored it had even been said, and some gave the boyfriend/girlfriend thing a go.
But the ending was the same for all of us: we realised when one person in a friendship has stronger feelings than the other, the friendship will never be the same again.
Dealing with a guy’s resentment after that kind of rejection, can literally mean years and years of not talking, and missing out on a great mate.
Our advice: Be prepared; be honest and open, it’s all you can do. Every relationship and guy is different; try to be upfront, respect his feelings and acknowledge them, but be firm in where you’re willing to let the relationship go.
- Moisturise your whole body
Our mum never told us this, so we weren’t big moisturisers… and now we regret it. Keeping your skin hydrated helps slow down the ageing process, it makes your skin more elastic and keeps it looking healthier. It can help with things like stretch marks, circulation and cellulite down the track. If you haven’t started, do it now! Moisturise every day!
- Love your boobs
In our group, we have everything from A cups to E cups. In high school, all of us hated our boobs and wished they were bigger or smaller. They either didn’t fill out our school shirts enough, or they were so big they got too much unwanted attention and made swimming downright awkward.
Your boobs are what they are, and they are great. A lot of articles now talk about how boobs shouldn’t be looked at as part of our ‘figure’ but as what they are: a part of the body and a potential food source for our babies one day.
But realistically, boobs have been pushed up, padded out, taped together and so much more, forever. It will be nice if one day we don’t have to think of them like that, but for right now, we consider them every time we look in the mirror and try on a new outfit.
Don’t hate your boobs and wish for another size. What you’ve got is perfect, and as you get older, you’ll learn how to figure them out so each time you look at that new outfit in the mirror you marvel at how amazing you look.
- Wear sunglasses
Like moisturising, this is one we all really wish our mum told us! When we were teens we really thought of sunglasses as a fashion accessory and a way to keep the sun out of our eyes. But they are so much more!
Sunglasses stop the skin around your eyes getting more and more damaged as you get older. If you don’t wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors, be prepared for wrinkles around your eyes much younger than you would expect. There’s nothing wrong with wrinkles, but there’s so much right about looking after your skin!
- So much period advice
We have so much period advice that honestly, we’ll probably write a whole series of articles on it. For now, the big things we wish our mum told us:
- Never wear a pad with loose undies, those plastic things click and crackle when you walk, and nice tight undies stop your pad from announcing to the room that it’s your time of the month!
- If you’re having trouble figuring out how to insert tampons, try having a quick shower or bath first, it makes it so much easier.
- If it makes you feel comfortable, wear a liner for the day or two before your period is due — there is nothing worse than spending every waking second thinking ‘OMG, did my period just start?!’. As you get older, your body will regulate and you’ll learn to read the signs a bit easier.
- Tights and pads. No. The thing about tights is, so many of them are see-through, and all of them fit tight to the contours of your body. If you’re wearing a pad (sometimes even a liner) with tights, you may be able to see through the tights and see the liner. Or if you can’t see through, you may be able to see the shape of it. Loosen up or try some stiffer fabrics while you have your period.
- Always look at your back and bum in the mirror
This relates completely to the last one. We cannot even tell you how many people we’ve seen getting around with see-through pants and pads on display, or cartoon knickers visible, or stains on their bums, or things tucked in that shouldn’t be. Seriously, where are their mums on those ones?
Most of us, when we look in the mirror, stare for AGES at the front of our bodies (hair and faces take time!), but we just do a quick spin to take in the back. Always look properly at your back and bum before heading out, and if you’re worried your pants or skirt may be see-through, try some mirrors in different lighting. Honestly, this will totally save you from having to write one of those embarrassing stories for an online magazine.
- Think about your pelvis
One of the biggest things about the Go Against The Flow campaign is that few of us realised peeing a bit when we laugh isn’t normal. When it happens to our friends, we just giggle and assume life’s just like that for some people. But it shouldn’t be.
Get to know your muscles ‘down there’. Starting simple pelvic lifts and releases when you’re in your teens can help sort out the peeing and laughing sitch you may already have, and will make it more likely your body can bounce back a bit easier later on if you have kids.
- You meet friends and boyfriends for a reason
One of our biggest laughs when talking about this, was going through the ex-boyfriend list and crying ‘Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?’. And even though looking back on some of our ex’s might not be our proudest moments, we realised we meet and have relationships with different people for a reason — it’s all part of the bigger plan.
Think about it, maybe you have ex’s who gross you out a bit now or treated you like crap — but we bet if you stop and think, you actually learned some valuable lessons from them. You learned never to let yourself be treated like that again. Maybe you learned what traits you do and don’t like in a boyfriend or girlfriend. You possibly picked up some of their drive and motivation. Maybe you just learned what you like when kissing.
Every relationship is a lesson, don’t look back and scrunch up your face, look back and see what you got out of it and how it has helped you since.
- ‘Weird’ is awesome
Mums sometimes like to encourage their kids to fit in and to push down that part of themselves that is a bit different, for fear they’ll get teased. And even though not fitting in is definitely a hassle, so is trying to be something you aren’t.
Here’s the truth. Everyone is a little bit weird — maybe they have a kids cartoon they still watch, they sleep with their childhood ‘blankie’, they dress up on weekends, they are obsessed with order.
Weird just means ‘different’ and at some stage, people started to think of it as a bad word. But real friends let friends express their ‘difference’ and their individuality and they love them for it. Make sure you find people who encourage your brand of ‘weird’ so you don’t stamp it out and eventually lose something that makes you happy!
- You do You
When we were teens, everyone we knew just grew up, got a job or went to uni, got married and then had babies. No one — including our mum, who probably followed a similar path — ever told us life could really be anything else. But it can.
If the ‘get married and have babies path’ is the right one for you, that’s great! If you don’t think it is, remember to have honest conversations with yourself every few years. Likewise, if you’re being pressured down a certain career path, or to go to uni, or to travel, check in with yourself and see if it’s really what YOU want.
Start in your teens by asking yourself what you want next and how you see your future. It’s perfectly ok if it’s not like everyone else’s or if it’s unclear. What’s less ok is if you never really think about it, go with the flow and end up with a life you never honestly wanted (though everything can be changed!). Embrace your own path — go against the flow!