United We Parent: Raising Teens and Loving It


Our Secret? RUIN THEIR LIVES. EVERY DAY.

Parenting Teenagers And Loving It

For those of you who are contemplating children, but are afraid that they will ruin your relationship, I am here to tell you that having kids does not have to signal the end of your marriage. And for those of you in the thick of little children who are looking forward and wondering what the next eighteen years of your marriage is going to look like, I am here to tell you that it can look good. (Thank goodness, right?)

THE TEEN ZONE

My husband, Brian, and I have four adolescents between us: two boys, two girls, aged eighteen, fifteen, fourteen, and almost ten. When we tell people this, they usually groan knowingly, or look haunted, or comfort us, or chortle and wish us luck. It seems that the world at large looks at adolescence as a colossal ordeal to be endured. At best, the culture would have us believe, you batten down the hatches and survive it. At worst it destroys your marriage and/or something unthinkable happens.

Brian and I have chosen to take a different view on this paradigm. We think that framing the teen years as torture will guarantee it is so. And since this phase is going to span, oh, twenty years of our lives together, aiming for mere survival is unacceptable for all involved. Our kids have their moments, of course, and sometimes they have a veritable torrent of moments. Today alone we have a smorgasbord of struggles ranging from a scholarship threatened by a rough semester, to a decision about whether to keep or shave off dreadlocks that have taken three years to grow, to super-stinky armpits on a kid who refuses to bathe, to a kid with an older and sexually experienced romantic partner who wants to sleep over after the prom.

But overall, our teens love themselves, they love each other, and they love us. So far none of them drinks, does drugs, or has fallen down so hard we couldn’t scrape them up. They are physically active, healthy, curious, and engaged in life. They are awake and (mostly) polite. We have family Facebook messenger chats filled with snark, group hugs, and epic vacations. We still gather after family dinner and work our way through awesome read aloud books or have dance parties complete with a little laser light thrower. They all think we are the most inappropriate adults around. We think that’s awesome. And somehow, the challenge of helping these young people cross the bridge to a healthy and bright future seems to be bringing Brian and me even closer together as a couple.

United we Parent

We have all heard the adage: “good parents present a united front.” We definitely ascribe to that philosophy, but we found it was important for us to define it in concrete terms for ourselves, because—like most things—the devil is in the details. “United-Front Parenting” is sort of like “common courtesy”—it can look really different to different people, and it’s all wrapped up in how we were raised. Parenting brings to the fore all of the beliefs you hold about how things “should” be—and you probably don’t even know the layers of your own shoulds until you are trying to impart them to others.

For us, United-Front Parenting is NOT blanket pre-approval of all of the parenting decisions we see the other person make. Nor does it mean that we never go back on parenting decisions. And it definitely doesn’t mean that we pretend like the other parent can do no wrong. For us, United-Front Parenting is built on three foundational principles:

1. We support each other in having great relationships with the kids. We don’t compete to be the “favorite” parent (or the “nice” parent), which means we take turns being good cop and bad cop and both uphold the agreed upon action. We never trash-talk the other parent, or roll our eyes at the other with the kids. We do try to help kids stay out of trouble when we know that the other parent is feeling tense or sensitive. We really try not to knee-jerk react, and buy time to talk and decide together what to do. In our house, adults take time outs too. If we think the other person is going too far then we talk with them about it in private—not the kids—and encourage them to go back to the kid and apologize and walk back the punishment. If a kid complains about the other parent, we will coach the kid on how to have a productive discussion with the parent in question, and we might even broker the talk—but we will not deliver the message, or change the decision without consultation.

2. Our relationship with each other is at least as important as our relationship with the kids. With little kids the physical demands, sleeplessness, and their dependency make it very hard to carve out private time, but with older kids it is possible. It still takes effort and discipline. Our culture tells us that good parents sacrifice everything for their kids and spend every spare minute running around to kids’ activities. We don’t buy it. We aggressively take time to hang out alone, cultivate intimacy, and really talk about what’s going on. And truth be told? A lot of that time is spent laughing our assess off about the kids.

3.This leads me to our third principle: We Ruin Their Lives. Every Day. We figure that no matter what we do, they will probably feel that we have ruined their lives a good deal of the time, so we have made it into a game. I mean, why not? We’re so good at it! And we don’t hide it. We get up in the morning and talk about it in front of them while we have breakfast. What can we do today to ruin their lives? Whenever someone is whining about how something is unfair we ask: Wait… is it happening? Are we ruining your life? (Then we high-five.) This may look like we are ganging up and amusing ourselves at their expense. We sort of are. Because if you can stay united through a sense of humor, teenage shit is FUNNY. Life-ruining moves that we have actually followed through on include the following:

Nobody has computers in their rooms, and everybody under sixteen has dumb phones. Everybody turns in their phones during dinner, while doing homework, and at 8:00 p.m. In our house you either have privacy or access to technology. The truth is that if you can’t do it in the living room, you shouldn’t be doing it online, because there is no such thing as privacy online. Lives. Ruined.

When one kid came home with their best-ever report card we took them to the local pizza place to celebrate. During the meal we stood up and made the entire crowd give the kid a standing ovation for their amazing effort. Life ruined.

One daughter tried to wear a pair of leggings, a skimpy camisole and Uggs out of the house. We discussed why this isn’t appropriate (but Moooom, it’s just a shirt and pants!) and she put on a tunic, which she promptly removed the second she left the house. When I discovered it, I did not yell. Instead, I consulted with Brian and we prepared. I put on stretch pants and a camisole and boots. Brian wore running tights, a tank top and hiking boots. Our youngest wore leggings, an undershirt and moonboots. When we came downstairs to take this girl to the slumber party of the year, she screamed. “What?” said we. “It’s just a shirt and pants.” And we all accompanied her to the slumber party she was dying to attend that night and walked her to the door. Life. Ruined.

Sugar is sweeter, bitter more bitter.

One of my (nerdy) life strategies is to research the crap out of pretty much everything—and especially challenging stuff. Figuring out what the hell to do feels easier when I have a clear idea what is going on. So I was really excited to find a bunch of cool new research out on adolescent brain development. This stuff has really helped Brian and me understand some of the more exasperating aspects of our kids’ behavior and be more deliberate about our parenting style. According to the world’s expert on the adolescent brain, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., the adolescent brain is developmentally unique. Memories from adolescence are some of the most vivid memories that we have—it’s something about the way they are imprinted. Also, the pleasure mechanisms are turned way up, while the impulse control dials are still being invented. This means that sweet and pleasurable things are literally sweeter and more pleasurable—and that it’s waaaay hard for adolescents to stop enjoying them. And bitter/sad things are profoundly more bitter/sad and vivid. They aren’t creating drama for its own sake (well, sometimes they are)—they are sincerely experiencing life very intensely. Remember that?

Another thing that we found helpful to know about this age group is that they are profoundly experiential learners. You can say something fifty times, but they can’t really hear/believe it, until they think the thought or experience the experience themselves. They learn through taking risks and living the consequences of pushing limits. They are also developmentally driven to figure out where you end and they begin. So they contradict—just to develop those muscles and flex their independence. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care what their parents think—they care very much and need us very much. Ironically it is this closeness that begets the opposition. They just have to argue to say: I exist as a separate human being too! Even when they actually agree.

HOW OUR KIDS ARE MAKING US BETTER AT BEING MARRIED

Learning these things has helped Brian and me tap into deeper wells of empathy, be better listeners, and fight back knee-jerk reactions, which has actually been really good for our own relationship too. These are some of our best concrete strategies:

  • When in doubt, we breathe, pause, and say: Tell me more about that. Or help me understand what that’s all about? The key to this is actually meaning it, and being honestly curious about where they are coming from. If nothing else, having adolescents is an opportunity to hone your listening skills. Try reflective listening (repeating back to them what you think they are saying, in your own words: “So if I get you correctly, you are saying that you were sewing me a mother’s day present and you fell asleep on a pin cushion and that’s how your ears ended up triple pierced and infected?”) or looping, which is just repeating words that they said and asking more about it (“Mmm… you are afraid of being NORMAL. Tell me about that”). Also, put down your technology. Listening deeply and sincerely does not have to lead to approval, but shaming them is destructive, and long lectures about consequences just get tuned out. I find it more effective to lead them through the process of thinking about consequences:  “So, buddy, what will you do when she gets pregnant? What do you mean by “support her?”… “Would you still be able to play soccer if you were working at the movie theatre every night?”… etc. Turns out this is a great way to communicate with Brian too.
  • We try to be our whole selves with them. It is so tempting to pretend like we never made any mistakes. We want to show them the best of ourselves and strategically omit the worst in the hopes that they will do it better than we did—or out of fear of being vulnerable. But they can learn so much more from us—and trust us so much more—if we tell the truth. So, when asked, I admitted to our oldest that I had smoked pot a few times and that sometimes it was okay, but also one time I had a seizure. I also told him about the kid in my dorm who passed out and ended up grilling his face on the radiator. The RA found him because it smelled like he was cooking hamburgers in his room. I said: it’s always your choice—but personally I feel best when I know I’m the one making clear decisions about my body with sober people I trust and I’m not breaking the law. Getting a little high in Amsterdam with my very sober husband? Maybe (but beware seizures. That shit is strong). Getting high at a frat party my first weekend on campus? F*CK no. I have found that being self-aware and accepting who I am—and was—with compassion makes me more connected to both the kids and Brian.
  • Finally, we just love their stinky, angsty, pleasure-loving, hyper-sensitive selves like crazy. Grab them and hug them and kiss them until they melt into it. Tell them how proud you are of the awesome decisions they make. Look for the good and affirm, affirm, affirm. Go on the class trip and cuss just enough for the other kids to say: Your mom is cool. If somebody seems out of sorts, schedule a lunch date and take them out of school for it. If somebody gets dumped before Homecoming, dress up, and have a fancy date with them at the swankest place in town. Call them on your way home from work just to chat. Keep up with their gossip. Hang up their artwork in your office. Allow the occasional “sick of school” days. Show them Scarleteen.com and how to get to Planned Parenthood. Cook together and have dance parties. And above the melee, catch your spouse’s eye, enjoy the joke, mime a high-five, and revel in the amazing people you are making together.

You may just find, as we have, that being parents makes you more united as a couple than ever. Every day.

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  • Lauren

    Wow, Manya, couldn’t you have been my mom when I was a teenager? You sound like an amazing parent to have. Hats off to you!

  • Sarah T

    I love this sooo much. This is APW at its best.

  • emmers

    This sums up my greatest hopes for us as parents, hopes I didn’t even know we could have. Thanks for this- it frames parenting in a completely new, sane way for me. United front! Ruining lives! Yes!

  • RoseTyler

    What wonderful advice that I can apply to so many relationships in my life!

  • Meredith

    I need to find a way to save this so I can access it again in 15 years when I might have teens. Or even just 6ish years from now when I might have babies.

    Also, as a former high school teacher, I totally support the “Ruin Their Lives” strategy!

    • mimi

      Saving for when my still-in-utero daughter is 13 :)

  • lady brett

    love, love, love.

    “It seems that the world at large looks at adolescence as a colossal ordeal to be endured.” this is such a tragedy, and also reminded me of a really great article that is a bit similar to this: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/magazine/raising-teenagers-the-mother-of-all-problems.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

  • ItsyBit

    I love all of this. Kudos to you and Brian for your parenting skills! I’m not a parent, but I can say from my adolescent experience that a united front like yours is super important from a kid perspective. And the “ruin their lives” strategy made me laugh out loud. My Dad subscribed to this philosophy and it was equal parts effective and hilarious (if it wasn’t funny then, it definitely is now).

  • AP

    No kids yet, but whether or not to have them is an ongoing conversation between the fiancé and me. We’ve been watching both sets of our parents struggle with parenting our youngest (wild and not very well adjusted) adult siblings, and it has been seriously turning me off to wanting kids. From the outside, it seems like as kids get older, the stakes get higher and everything depends on the relationship foundation you’ve built, created by thousands of parenting decisions over the years. It feels like so much pressure to make every right decision.

    But this article gives me a ton of hope! In many ways I don’t want to follow the parenting model set for me by my parents (or fiancé’s either) and the other parents I know are still in the baby/little kid years. It’s refreshing to read about the joy of parenting teens.

    Aside: I really hate the term “wife beater.” It’s especially jarring in print, in an essay about how parenting can strengthen a marriage.

    • Manya

      Yeah. Sorry about wife beater. For some reason, in grappling with the rest of the piece that one slipped through. The other term that comes to mind in British English is “sleeveless vest” and that just wasn’t evoking the right imagery. This was an icky ribbed undershirt with deep arm holes and no sleeves. I’m glad it didn’t distract you from the rest of the piece.

      • Rhie

        FWIW, I grew up in Australia and we call this particular garment a singlet.

  • Tabitha

    Oh this is great! Manya, as always, homerun. My spouse and I are talking about the potential for children and, truth be told, it terrifies me. So much of what is written sounds… miserable. This piece, like many of the pieces found on APW (with regards to children) is breath of hope. Little people are funny (hello nieces and nephews!) and the teenage years do not necessarily spell doom. Thanks for this glimpse into what has worked for the Manya-Brian household. Awesome!

  • M.

    This is truly wonderful! My anxiety about parenting teens has dialed down a bit — whew! As others are pointing out, engagement, empathy, and humor are universally applicable to relationships of all types. Bookmarked for posterity.

    Manya, if you’re around and feel comfortable, I’d be very interested to hear some of the language you used with your daughter regarding her clothing. As I read this piece, I tried to imagine what I would say to a daughter of my own, and am struggling to articulate my many thoughts. Thank you! (Anyone else’s ideas would be great too!)

    • Manya

      Yes, anytime we talk about “appropriate” it gets loaded pretty fast. Since we live in Kenya, there is a cultural element that makes wearing more body-conscious clothing really unacceptable. We talked about having respect for the culture that hosts us, and how the things we wear can end up sending messages that we aren’t sure we want to send. On the one hand, we shouldn’t live in a world where a woman’s fashion choices are a statement of anything at all, and yet… the reality is that my daughter has a very mature body and is not at all ready for the attention that dressing in that way would provoke in Kenya. I guess I was trying to say: Listen, signalling sexuality is probably not your intention, and I wish we lived in a world where it wouldn’t be taken as such. But the truth is as women we need to be aware of how things are perceived and whether or not we are ready to deal with the consequences of that perception. I asked her why she would feel embarrassed about me dressing like that and going out with her and her friends and then used her responses as an anchor for the other points. It’s hard stuff, man. The stock answers are easier for littler kids!

      • Eh

        I have 11 nieces (ranging from 1 to 14 years old) and I am pregnant with a girl so how girls dress is a frequent conversation in my family (which is really sad). There is a huge issue with what is available to buy and what school deem appropriate to where. Yesterday two of my nieces (3 and 9) were over at my house wearing tops with spaghetti straps and long skirts. There was nothing wrong with their outfits but they would not be able to go to school in them. A friend recently had to split her daughters closet into clothes that can be worn to school and stuff that can’t be worn to school (mostly tops with spaghetti straps – my friend has even asked her daughter’s school what the issue is with a 6 year old wearing spaghetti straps and did not get a clear answers).

        This article has led to a lot of discussion:
        http://www.today.com/parents/dads-essay-about-5-year-olds-dress-code-shaming-goes-t18266

      • Emily

        Thank you for writing about this. I hate that leggings are considered reasonable… pants? these days. Mu daughter is also very developed for her age and it really is flat out concerning (and how old do I sound?). I want her to enjoy her body and her sexuality (not at 13) but I hate the fact that she wants to wear very body conforming clothing. Arg. This is hard.

  • KM

    As a lawyer working on highlighting the science of adolescent brain development to improve the ways in which our legal system addresses young people – BRAVO! You synthesize the critical differences between adult and adolescent really well. No kids myself yet but I have often imagined how important this understanding would be when parenting; glad to see it in the works.

    I love absolutely everything about this, except the use of “wife beater” – which is just gross and completely dismissive of the very serious problem of abusive relationships – let’s just say “tank top,” okay?

    • Manya

      Sorry! You’re right… it’s a bad colloquialism and I should have caught it.

    • MC

      I had a friend in college that called them “healthy relationship shirts” :)

  • Rowany

    Love this. My joke is that we’ll have kids when our desire to have babies outweighs our fear of teenagers. Now that we’re starting to think about kids more seriously, I’m just excited to see what kind of people they’ll turn out to be!

    • M.

      Isn’t it crazy!? They’re little strangers! What a delightful mystery. :)

    • lady brett

      i think my fear of having teenagers is almost entirely rooted in what manya said about being your whole self with them – that level of vulnerability is *terrifying* to me, but i completely agree that it is invaluable. with littler kids it’s more about *you* acknowledging *their* whole selves, which makes your heart vulnerable, but not your dark corners.

      • Meg Keene

        This comment is so beautifully written I want you to make it a post.

      • Shotgun Shirley

        What Meg said!

  • anon

    Love the post. Please hire a copy editor, APW. “Their” is mis-spelled in the sub-title/sub-heading.

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  • Eenie

    I wish there were a lot more discussions about parenting on the internet like this. I hope that your kids eventually realize (if they don’t already) how lucky they are to have you as parents!

  • qj

    Such a great piece & perspective, Manya. Thank you!!

    FWIW: My parents’ own “ruin their lives” strategy produced some of the memories that we laugh about the most now that my sister and I are grownups with kids of our own, including the time that my parents convinced their friends to toilet-paper the house where we were having a Homecoming party (supervised by another parent-friend of theirs who was in on the plan) after enduring a week of high school shenanigans from us…

  • ruth

    This article made me slightly less terrified of having children. Thank you!

  • macrain

    “At best, the culture would have us believe, you batten down the hatches and survive it. At worst it destroys your marriage and/or something unthinkable happens.” I can’t tell you how much this has been on my mind! We are going to start trying sooner than later, and as much as my heart jumps at the thought of finding out I’m pregnant, having my first ultrasound, and holding my baby for the first time- the fear I feel about what having children will do to my relationship is just as acute. So- thank you for this!

  • Kats

    Fantastic – DH and I are due with our first in four weeks and have just instituted the “stop-telling-us-how-awful/hard/stressful-parenting is” rule. Because there’s so much out there about the difficult bits and very little about the fun and silly and working-through-in-good-ways-bits.

    I don’t suppose you have the same kind of sanguine advice about the newborn stages, do you? Because #onlyalittleterrified.

    • lady brett

      http://www.borntobeabride.com/they-shouldve-warned-me/

      parenting – especially with a newborn/for the first time – is so *extreme* and i think that makes it hard for people to convey anything about reasonably.

      • Steph

        I totally agree… I felt this overwhelming feeling to write in order to get all of the emotions out. My son is a year now and when I look back, the words sweetness and cozy come to mind. One resource that I have shared with all my new mom friends- the dvd Happiest Baby on the Block (best $15 spent) for soothing… gave us a visual to help with trouble shoot soothing. My husband and I also tried *extra* hard to be nice, kind and gentle with one another… using the pause and deep breath strategy that Manya describes and a “safe word” when we did not care if the other had a “better” way of doing things!

    • emilyg25

      It’s temporary! As long as you work together and try to stay flexible, it’s not so bad.

      Things I loved about the newborn stage:
      – finally meeting this person we worked so hard to create
      – how his teeny tiny little bottom would pretty much fit in the palm of your hand
      – snuggling in bed together as a new family
      – watching my husband become a father
      – the first time he really looked me in the eyes
      – the incredible intensity of my emotions

      I breastfed, which was a challenge at first, and the flood of oxytocin is pretty nice. If you plan to breastfeed, have the number of a good lactation consultant handy. Getting help early on is so important!

    • Manya

      No, I don’t. I did not get to experience newborns with my beloved Brian–we are a blended family who met later in life. I do remember this Letter to an Expectant Father really touching me: http://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/advice/a14351/letter-to-an-expectant-father/

    • Sparkles

      My partner and I both agreed that the newborn thing isn’t as bad as everybody makes it out to be. I think ignoring everyone’s horror stories until you need them to commiserate with you over bourbon is the best way to deal with all of that ridiculousness (because you will want to commiserate with them over bourbon, but hearing now that you’ll need to commiserate over bourbon is not the most helpful thing). My newborn advice would be to :

      – Do your research about sleep, and look to the science, not the pseudo-science (check out scienceofmom.com and “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Weissbluth).
      – Stay away from the mommy blogs. At least until you’re better rested and better able to rationally decide if what they have to say is worth reading. If you have questions, pick one or two good books that will be a reference and agree that if the books can’t answer your question, then your pediatrician/doctor can, because the internet is NOT the most helpful place when you’re sleep deprived (my book of choice is “The Baby Care Book” by Jeremy Friedman, there’s a Canadian version too!).
      – Make sure you have a good support network and USE them. Our local public health has a lot of great resources, check out what’s available in your area. Think about hiring someone if you don’t have a great support network. Post-partum doulas know what’s what.
      – Post the symptoms of post-partum depression somewhere where you and your support network will see them often. Decide ahead of time what to do if you or one of your support people think you might be experiencing PPD.
      – Babies are precious, but also make great props for photo shoots. My favourite was posing him with all of my feminist books piled around him, because obviously he’s going to be a feminist. But “drunk baby” with our empties piled around him, and “rockstar baby” and “emo baby” were also really entertaining.
      – My favourite piece of advice is that intuition is bullshit. If someone tells you to trust your intuition, they are spouting off, you won’t have any intuition at the start. You will develop an ability to make decisions from a combination of experience and research. This will become what I think people mean when they talk about intuition, but if you don’t feel it, don’t worry.

      The terror will go away once you get into it, because there will be other things to think about it. Take a deep breath and remember, people do this all the time. It will be okay.

      Also, there are enough new parents hanging around happy hour that if you have any questions, you should go there.

  • Ella

    Manya, you are awesome. Also, I love this: “One of my (nerdy) life strategies is to research the crap out of pretty much everything—and especially challenging stuff.” This is me. So, so me. Manya, we would be friends. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us here at APW!

  • joanna b.n.

    Yup, you just made me do a 180 on the (positive!) possibilities of having teenagers, which up til now I felt were basically nil. Nicely done – both in real life and in your writing about it!!

  • meganfm

    As a former child whose parents totally mortified her on a nearly daily basis, I can agree that once you get older that sh*t becomes funny as hell. Prime example: My dad coming home after a cycling race wearing his skin suit and THAT INSANE ELONGATED POINTED HELMET when all my friends were over and freaked out that they could “see everything”. When I told him how embarrassing this was, he responded by gyrating his hips at me in said skin suit. One. hundred. percent. horrified. Now thinking about it gets me in tears it makes me laugh so hard.

    • OMG I just want to keep laughing at all these stories. Share more if you have them! Making my day!

  • Mezza

    I don’t have kids at all yet, but based on these comments I feel sort of weird for looking *forward* to having teenagers. I’ve had basically no exposure to little kids and the idea of living with them and being responsible for them freaks me out, but teenagers seem awesome. Also my spouse is a (really awesome) high school teacher and manages teenagers for a living.

    Anyway, I love all of the points in this article and I think it makes having teenagers sound even more fun, so I guess I should probably get over my fear of little kids in hopes of one day having teenagers.

    • Aubry

      I’m the same! I work with kids (dance school) and I totally get teenagers. They make sense to me. People think I’m crazy lol

  • juliadee

    Reading this on day 5 of my new son’s life just helped chip away at the little voice asking what the hell kind of a choice did we make. Thanks so very much!

  • lori

    This is so, so great, and exactly why I hang around APW post-wedding.

    Which leads me to wonder… what blogs/websites/forums are out there that have the sort of life-affirming, reasonable, humorous sentiment that APW has, but also focuses more strongly on parenthood/life post-wedding? Does it exist? We’re starting to talk kids, and I don’t want to end up in a downward spiral of mommy forums.

    • Emily

      Me too! (I think Meg should start a post-wedding blog).

      • Sparkles

        I think she’s already got one… ;)

        ETA: I meant this one, in case you weren’t sure.

    • M.

      It’s a personal blog rather than a magazine-type blog like this, but Girls Gone Child (Rebecca Woolf) has some really great posts sometimes about the REAL and hard parts of parenting and how they approach it. Recently, for example, a post on when one of your kids is clearly favored by others over her siblings.

    • Elissa

      I went on a search a few weeks ago and found coffee and crumbs. So far, so good! http://www.coffeeandcrumbs.net. Would love to find more!

  • Emily

    Thank you for this! I don’t have as many as you do, but I have a 15yo and a 13yo (and a 9yo who I’m hoping will stay forever 9). Stinky armpits and all-I relate! Would you mind giving me a quick version of the discussion you had about the leggings and camisole? I don’t want my daughters to feel body shame, yet I am uncomfortable with them leaving the house in what looks like skimpy pajamas (or less). I have trouble reconciling this within me.

    • Emily

      Nevermind! I see this happened below.

  • doublegus

    This post is gold, as are all of Manya’s posts. I’m bookmarking the shit out of it.

  • Gela

    Another future parent saying Thank You So Much for writing about this next stage of my life as if it’s not going to be the worst thing ever…

  • Stéphanie