The Owner’s Manual for Teenaged Daughters by Cindy Haney
Why hasn’t anyone out there published a guide book for raising teen girls? You know, like back when we were pregnant, we had the ever popular “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book series. How about I write a book called “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting Snarkiness and Moodiness”?
I am highly qualified to write this book. That’s right, because I am currently down in the dirty trenches of the teenaged years with my two daughters, ages 15 and 17. Ever since they reached the age of 12, I’ve been asking myself why in the world don’t these things come with an Owner’s Manual? I could really use one!
I have a manual for my car, a manual for my TV, a manual for my exercise machine that I’ve never actually used, and a manual for my toaster, for God’s sake. But there’s no guidebook to tell you how to stop a teen from crying over a breakup, or how to get a teen to scrub her disgusting bathtub, or how to get a teen to understand that texting until 3:00am in the morning leads to falling asleep during the World History exam. So I thought I’d better hurry up and write this manual before it’s too late!! Here are the first few pages from my Guidebook:
Dear Proud Owner:
Thank you purchasing “The Owner’s Manual for Teenaged Daughters”. It is our hope that this book will help you realize that you are not alone, and, no, you did not go wrong somewhere. It’s all perfectly normal. Now unpack your suitcase and cancel your plans to relocate to Aruba. Relax, we have all the answers.
IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR TEENAGER IN ERROR:
To determine whether you were supposed to receive a teenaged girl, please examine your teen daughter carefully. Does she:
(a) Look very similar to your original daughter, only with a cell phone permanently attached to her right hand? Is she wearing way more makeup and way less clothing than the original model?
(b) Refuse to acknowledge your existence on the planet and totally ignore you, except when requesting shopping money?
(c) Sleep in a smelly mound of dirty laundry?
INITIAL BREAK-IN PERIOD:
When you first receive your teenaged daughter, you will experience a high level of discomfort, alternating with periodic bouts of insanity. Gradually, the discomfort will subside, leaving you feeling merely traumatized. Eventually, you will become accustomed to certain teen behaviors that will cause you endless nights of sleeplessness, anxiety, stress and feelings of overwhelming guilt. If these symptoms are bothersome, talk to your doctor about receiving an enormous amount of drugs. Once you have adapted to these behaviors, your teenager will shock you by doing something even worse. Try adding bottles of wine to your daily routine.
To activate your teenaged daughter, simply place her in the middle of her favorite group of friends. Then start showing them cute baby photos and videos of her naked and singing in the bathtub. And if that’s not enough to activate your daughter, then it’s time to break out some Mister Mister, Phil Collins and Duran Duran CD’s from the 80’s and sing as loud as you can. If this doesn’t activate them, then, I’m sorry, you have received a defective product, otherwise known as a “lemon” that you are now stuck with.
After several hours of activation, you may wish to shut down your teenaged daughter. There is no way to do this. Hunker down and load up on defense mechanisms. This could last as long as ten years.
CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE:
Teenaged daughters are a naturally clean species because they take frequent baths that last more than two hours. They will wash themselves with expensive, fragrant soaps from LUSH that cost more than your car. After they have completely drained the hot water tank, they will wrap themselves in multiple towels which they will then mindlessly strew about the house. If you ask them to pick them up, they will look at you like you’ve just spoken in Martian. Stupid you. But don’t beat yourself up about it, you’ve simply made a rookie mistake. You’ve confused “cleanliness” with “neatness”. While your daughter will keep herself clean, she will not, and I repeat NOT, bother with neatness. Teenagers are very busy and do not have time to be neat. The will live in a perpetual state of filthiness and never even notice. That’s what they have you for.
FUELING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER:
You will need a constant fuel supply to keep her going. This mean regular meals which must be purchased for her at nice restaurants because she detests everything you eat because “it is, like, so disgusting.” Never mind that you spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store every week, but she rarely eats at home because her friends and boyfriends are so much cooler to hang out with. Plus, bonus, she doesn’t have to be seen with YOU at a restaurant, because “…like, I’m so sure I want to be seen eating dinner with my parents!” This requires even more of your money, which you are constantly shelling out, but you have no idea where it goes. (HINT: Teenagers can survive for days on nothing but Starbucks!)
CLOTHING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER:
As soon as you get your paycheck, take the entire thing and spend it at Forever 21. Don’t even bother paying any other bills. Sure, you’ll be homeless soon, but DAMN, that girl is going to look super awesome in that maxi skirt and those flouncy mid-drift shirts. And don’t plan on buying anything for yourself ever again, or at least until she moves out.
This product is not without defects and may occasionally break down without warning. Afterall, she inherited your genes, for God’s sake. Don’t even think about returning her, because you are now the permanent owner. Bawhawhawha. If you think this is unfair, go talk to your parents, who think this is really hilarious. Remember when you were 13 and you got caught sneaking out of the house? They wished this on you. Payback is a bitch. Your teenaged daughter will remain a teenager for as long as it takes for her to become a responsible adult, which in her highly educated opinion, has already happened, but in your parental opinion, never actually will.
If you are dissatisified with your teenaged daughter for any reason, and would like to have your sweet little toddler back, well, too bad. What did you expect? They can’t stay little forever. Besides, if you look really close, way deep down, she’s still there. Which is why I’ve decided to keep her, despite the unavoidable product defects. And I’m keeping the other one too. It’s like a two-for-one special. Only I’m keeping the wine, as well. Just in case!