Lessons Learnt From My Sixteen Year Old

Lessons Learnt From My Sixteen Year Old

I say MY, she isn’t actually mine, not in the maternal way anyway. Whilst I may technically be old enough to have a sixteen year old, I don’t. I do however have a newly turned sixteen year old step daughter. One about to embark on a long summer of freedom, before the grips of adulthood really kick in. Oh I remember it well, finishing that last exam was such a feeling. The few hours a week part time job was my only bind, the days were mine once again. Anyway this isn’t about me. Living with a teenager is interesting. You can feel so very rotten about yourself one minute than full of smug I know best pride the next. What is perhaps unexpected is the lessons that can be learnt from these young minds fumbling their way into adulthood.

I am not just talking practical lessons although the teen has taught me many of those. I now know how to contour. I know about highlighting and the three shape you should make. I know that there are some incredibly expensive make up brushes and anything less will not do. In fairness the recent makeover I received with said brushes was indeed like being licked by cats but I digress. What this obsession the teen has with make up has also taught me is that a vocation is  not to be overlooked.

I was brought up in a very exam centred education system. Perhaps it was the post Thatcher era that was dictating the education system at the time. Together with the solid advance of Grandad Ted, to get your qualifications. I don’t mean to suggest this to be bad advance, I am the proud owner of lots of educational certificates and do believe they have and will stand me well. My Grandad did the same as a child, literally a child. Back in the early 40s when he left school, there was no proms, limos and summer jobs. He trained as an electrician before going off to drive lorries – driving being his real love. He did however fall back on his electrical qualifications in later life and ended up owning and running his own successful electrical company.


Despite knowing his story the message got lost somewhere for me. All I heard was obtain your qualifications, get that piece of paper, it is more important now than ever. I do believe that to be true but I am coming to realise that it is not all there is. I was lucky, I was studious and enjoyed school. For some pursuing a vocation is where they find their pleasure, the arts, music, writing, dance, make up, building, fashion, photography, whatever it may be. For some school and exams and their associated qualifications are box ticking exercise a means to an end they are legally required to check off their life list.

That is OK too.

By all means get your piece of paper saying you can satificatorily use a calculator under exam conditions but if applying make up, learning about it, styles, techniques and products is where you passion really lies, then don’t dismiss that. If you have a talent that lies outside of the books, nurture and pursue it. With the right attitude there is no where a vocation cannot take you. A labour of love is the dream we all chase.

Living with the long legged beauties also teaches you that ironically, it’s not all about the youth. Post children, in the early baby years I had a looming dark cloud over my head that I was ‘passed my best’, which is quite frankly ridiculous, yet the hormones and baby fog can do crazy things to you.

Make up application fell by the wayside, tossed somewhere with my dignity and my wardrobe became about comfort, hello leggings! My days were about getting from sun up to sun down and then sun down to sun up. They were 24 hours and they were largely about survival.

As the time has gone by watching this teenage beauty flourish, find passions in a lot of things I used to love as a teen myself. As she has developed a social circle, friends, an actual social life. Even as she sat those gruelling exams I could see parts of my youth in her. Parts of who I was before I had children.

Someone who liked to fiddle around painting their face, admittedly I learnt from Girl Talk not Zoella, I like to follow trends and experiment with new products. I liked to go to dinner and drinks with friends, after spending too long in front of mirror, in over sized heals. I liked to exercise, read books, utilise my brain and read fashion mags and Ideal Home.

My point, I am not too old to peruse the isles of Mac or Topshop. To do things I want to do, it is not all always about the children. If I want to wear that pink pleated skirt that on me, doesn’t look like it did on the model then so be it. I shouldn’t be ashamed or worried I am ‘too old’ or ‘a mum’. I shouldn’t worry that others may judge me or my interests. I should indulge in them just the way you do.

So my lovely teen, this ones for you, thanks for those unbeknownst life lessons, and by the way, you looked gorgeous at your prom.

Lauren at prom



Lessons learnt from my sixteen year old. Unexpected things I have learnt from living with a 16 year old.



  1. July 5, 2017 / 10:34 am

    I have a 16 year old beauty too! And, I too learn from her often. They are a treat to be around (most of the time)! It’s a blessing watching them grow into brilliant young adults!

    Yours is a beauty! I hope she enjoys her travels

  2. July 5, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    I took the vocational route after finishing school and got to Uni to train as a teacher, my husband took the traditional A level and Uni route and our 4 boys are all following the vocational route. My subject knowledge from the boys is Warhammer, football and computers, nothing useful like fashion and make up, that I really could do with some help with #triumphanttales

  3. July 6, 2017 / 6:52 am

    She looks beautiful! You’re never too old to do anything in my opinion. I still don’t really know what I’m doing with my life, I think I’m learning that no one does! I’d love to have someone in the know to guide me through trends. #CoolMumClub

  4. July 6, 2017 / 6:55 am

    She sounds like a smart girl! Well done! #coolmumclub

  5. July 6, 2017 / 10:12 am

    I have a 13 year old and she never fails to surprise me! She can be super sensible and knows loads about anime, manga etc, but not about makeup or clothes. Couldn’t be less interested!

  6. July 6, 2017 / 11:03 am

    What a gorgeous girl! I can’t imagine what life with a teenage girl is going to be like, the surprises she will deliver or the things I will learn from her but in 10 years time I’ll be finding out! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this xoxo

  7. July 6, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    Our children are always teaching us things. Always be who or what you want to be x

  8. July 6, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    I am an exam invigilator and think I must be an old fogey compared to the teens! But in my heart I still feel young :) #triumphanttales

  9. July 8, 2017 / 7:02 pm

    I totally agree with the vocational route and following your passions and you are never too old to make a change and follow your dreams. I went the traditional A levels, University route with no clear direction and it got me nowhere. My passions were writing and psychology and I really wish I had presumed them instead. My blog is my way of clawing some of that passion back. My dad went the vocational route but after redundancy he seemed to bounce around a lot. He’d always dreamed of university and at the age of 50 he went and got a mathematics degree. After that he fell into supply teaching and discovered his passion, twenty years on he still loves teaching and now tutors kids who are struggling and sees them through their exams.

  10. July 9, 2017 / 8:10 pm

    Ah you’re never too old lovely. I do all those things. Admittedly I don’t go out as much as I used to but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting glammed up when I do. Lovely post and she really did look stunning. Thanks so much for linking up to #TriumphantTales – hope to see you again on Tuesday!

  11. July 10, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    Beautiful dress! I have an 18 year old stepson and it always makes me chuckle how teens think they have all the answers. I am sure I was the same…I knew it all, no one could tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing but seeing him go through the same thing it highlights to me just how wrong I was! #triumphanttales

  12. July 11, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    I just love you! This post is spot on Hun. Our world at the moment seems only to cater for or place importance on kids that reach the required standards for university. Everyone else is made to feel a failure. But most of the people who have made a success of themselves that I Knew at school didn’t actually attend uni. They started jobs after school and worked abroad or started their own companies. We need to have more apprentice schemes to Enable everyone to succeed. #tweensteensbeyond

  13. July 12, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Oh she looks so beautiful! I too love the lessons we learn from our teens. And no we are not too old to peruse the aisles of mac and topshop!! I think funnily enough I felt older when mine were toddlers and now that they are teens I feel younger – I have no idea why other than I realised somewhere along the line that I don’t have to be grown up to be a mum! I can still be me! #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. July 14, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Brilliant Sarah and my sentiments too. I am not ashamed to scurry around and buy from the High Street. My make up could do with a bit of a shake up but totally with you on the fact that these kids can be whatever they want to be. Gone are the days of a career for life and I think it’s great for them to have many strings to their bow. As long as they are happy and fulfilled – that is all we wish for. Beautiful prom girl. Thanks for joining us at #tweensteensbeyond and we hope to see you again.

  15. July 15, 2017 / 7:23 am

    Oh Sarah what a lovely tribute to your step-daughter and how stunning she looked indeed. My teenagers teach me something every day – at the moment it is a lot of slang garnered from Love Island but that aside it is wonderful to see them growing up, grasping independence and finding their identity and way in the world. There should not be a one size fits all approach to life. We are all different with varying passions and if that passion does not involve an academic path then so be it. I want my teens to be true to themselves because that has to be the route to true happiness. It is wonderful to have you join us this week, do come back and share some more stories with us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  16. July 16, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    Oh this is so true. Education is not a one way street. I lean things from all three of my girls everyday. And I so agree that finding your vocation is what is important and that does nor necessarily lie in academia. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond