When I found out I was having a little girl, I just wanted to buy pink and purple dresses and decorate the nursery. Now, that my daughter is seven, I realize I need to start thinking about what wisdom I must pass along to her. I’m not talking about the family pasta recipe or the dreaded “sex talk.” I’m talking about the tips for making a regular life into an exceptional one. My mother taught me lots of things while I was growing up. Some of them I listened to, and some of them I ignored or forgot, which was a bad move. Mother always knows best. I want my daughter to remember what will make her a lady, and hopefully, what will make her life much more enriched.

1 | It’s hard being a woman

You will bleed and ruin your favorite Victoria’s Secret thong. The pain of cramps will sabotage a perfectly good date with a man who you may be interested in. If you are blessed with children, they will be ripped from your body, whether it’s from your lady parts or cut right out of your stomach. You will get paid less for doing the same work, but I hope this changes by the time you hit the work force. It’s hard being a woman. Get used to it.

2 | Don’t pick

Don’t pick your zits. Don’t pick your scabs. Don’t pick your butt. Don’t pick your nose. Just don’t pick. It’s a bad idea.

3 | Smart is more beautiful than pretty

Anyone can be pretty. You’ve got to be smart. Resist the temptation to get ahead with your face and your body. Get to the top by wooing everyone with your ideas and knowledge. You’ve got to be the smartest woman in the room. Pretty goes away, but smart is forever.

4 | Don’t be a mean girl

You will get a lot further in life by being kind, rather than mean. Most people don’t want to hang out with a bitch. Be compassionate and care about others. You will encounter a lot of rude and nasty people. That’s their problem, not yours. A smile and a kind word goes a long way.

5 | You can be anything you want to be

If you work hard, you can be anything. I don’t mean just the stuff society says that woman should do. I’m talking about ANYTHING. Fly planes. Ride Motocross. Go to the moon. Be the goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can be anything, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If they have a problem with it, tell them to come see me. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

6 | Don’t fall for the asshole

You can love whomever you choose. However, if they treat you badly, move on. Don’t reward them for their bad behavior, because that behavior will just keep happening. It’s simple psychology. Walk away and leave. If you need to punch him/her in the face before leaving, that would be okay with me, as long as they deserve it.

7 | Don’t do too much

Don’t drink too much. Don’t exercise too much. Don’t eat too much, even if it’s one of those chocolate fountains with all the delicious fruit and cookies. Don’t give too much. Don’t take too much. “Everything in moderation,” they say, and they’re right. Too much of anything can be quite destructive.

8 | Walk like a boss

When you walk into a room, act like you own the joint. You have got to be confident, girl. Keep your chin up, your chest out, and your eyes high. Whether you are wearing sneakers or five-inch heels, you better strut through life like no one will ever take away your swerve.

9 | Prince Charming may not take care of you

You will always be secure, as long as you can take care of yourself and your children. You should not depend on anyone to pay your bills.  You should have your own job and your own money. A prince may not sweep you off your feet and keep you in the lap of luxury for the rest of your natural life. You should away have a plan to be independent.

10 | I will ALWAYS be there for you

It has been a privilege being your mother. When you grow up, I will still be there for you. You can’t get rid of me, because you were in my body for nine months. Our relationship can withstand anything. I will pick you up in the middle of the night if your friends leave you at a shady party. I will buy you groceries when you come home from college. I will watch your kids when I retire. I will be right here waiting when you don’t listen to my advice and something bad happens. I will hold you while you cry and support you when you need it. That’s what I signed up for when I took the title of “mother.” Maybe, someday, you will come up with your own list to share with your own daughter. Just get her a pink dress first.