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Personal grooming and hygiene lessons from my teenage daughter

Ellen Coy is a mom to three teens and wife to a husband of many, many years, but she married young so she still thinks she's pretty hip. She's written a lot of things for a lot of places but she can't tell you where or what. Terrible Tee...

My teen daughter makes grooming look so easy

Recently, I've been watching my 15-year-old daughter and I'm learning things from her.

These are things that I've always known, but have kind of tossed to the wayside since I became a mom. Now that my daughter is a teenager, I am being enlightened.

She's teaching me ways to take better care of myself without her even knowing it. Who taught her to care so much for herself? And when did I stop caring for myself? It probably happened when I became entrenched in motherhood and put my needs behind my kids' needs, which is not usually a good thing. We all know the airplane rule about the oxygen masks.

I think lately, I need more oxygen. At the very least, I could use these tips I've gleaned from watching my daughter to revive me:

It's a good idea to shave my armpits

Really. How difficult is it to swipe a razor over my pits daily or even every other day? My daughter comes into the bathroom as I'm getting dressed and is practically mortified to see the stubble under my arms, and she's right. What is the big deal about my hygiene and why can't I get better control of it?

I need to stop frying my hair

I could stop blow-drying my hair every single day (oh wait, that would mean I shower and wash my hair daily, which I don't — see point below). If I let my hair air-dry a few times a week it would be healthier and I'd have fewer split ends.

I should probably shower more often

I'll admit that I can be a bit lazy when it comes to showering daily but it's not like I'm out running marathons. I'm basically in the car driving all these teens everywhere. How much of a sweat do I really break doing that?

I need to accessorize

Add some bracelets or a scarf, put on some nail polish, take extra time to make it look like I put in some effort. Show the world that I care about me, because deep down I really do. Just because I care daily for three teenagers does not mean that I shouldn't make time to care about myself too.

It's time to put on some damn mascara

I usually only wear mascara when I'm going out and going out does not mean driving the teens everywhere they need to go, so what's the point? The point is, if I shower, shave my armpits, accessorize and put on a little bit of mascara, I will feel a whole lot better about myself every single day.

And lip gloss…

Because lip gloss and mascara go nicely together.

OK, I need to exercise

My daughter will come home from school and feel anxiety building and she'll say, "I'm going for a run." And that'll be it. She'll go for a run. No excuses. She'll put on her shoes and she'll run. She'll come home, sweaty and energized and feeling great. What is so hard about that and why can't I have her energy and motivation? She amazes me.

I should love my body more

Maybe I don't need to "love" my body more, but I should appreciate it more. It's definitely not perfect. I've got stretch marks and lumps and the muffin thing going on. Hell, I gave birth to three babies. But that's right: Hell, I gave birth to three babies!

Of course, they are three crazy, needy, busy, wonderful, annoying teenagers now, and wow, how did that happen so fast? But yes, I did it all on my own, so yes, way to go, me.

More on daughters

Books to boost your daughter's body image
What your daughter's clothes say about her
Terrible Teens: I have a secret crush on my daughter's boyfriend

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