Sister Act: Growing up Girls Only

Things you can only understand if you grew up with sisters.

Tessa Dempster
April 7, 2017
When people ask what has shaped me into the semi-functioning adult I am today, I would have to say it’s a lot to do with my upbringing. My natural distrust of others, low tolerance for bullshit and extreme hoarding problem (what a catch I know!) can be narrowed down to a single overarching factor. I am one of five girls. That’s right, four sisters! I’ve heard it all —“your poor dad”, “your poor mum”, “that must have been interesting growing up”. To summarise: my father is almost bald, my mum threatens to tell us the end of Game of Thrones as punishment and “interesting” doesn’t even begin to cover it.Living as one of four has involved years of dress-ups, cubby building and boy trouble; but there’s just some things you can only understand if you’ve grown up in a virtually boy-free environment.

It ain’t no sorority

Girl fight

Growing up in a family of all girls is kind of like a sorority, except sisterhood is dead, pillow fights are not fun and braiding each other’s hair has been substituted for hair pulling (in more serious cases, scissors can be involved) – say goodbye to your ponytail!

In a household of girls, we share many of the same interests and needs; this namely involves clothing. Whilst I do know the perks of the “open wardrobe policy”, it’s not always the luxury some people think. When you cannot find your favourite jacket, red lipstick or leather bagchances are they have made their way into someone else’s room. Most of the time it’s an ideal situation as you have access to a small clothing store in your home so avoid outfit repeating on the regular. Though there are times when your items may return back to you in a completely different condition.

It’s always a race... for the shower


This is a make or break race where the winner gets clean and the losers get cold. Being first in means you get hot water, bath products and, in some cases, a dry towel. It’s never fun to be the last girl in, left only with ice cold water, a thumbnail of soap, no shampoo and forced to make the naked dash back to your bedroom. In summary, you end up coming out looking worse than when you went in.

Seeing red

Taylor Swift

It’s inevitable ladies, Mother Nature will eventually have her way and you will be welcomed into womanhood with an influx of emotions, food cravings and a few ruined pairs of your favourite underwear. If there’s one thing you can count on your sisters for, it is helping you through this transition from carefree girl to Carefree tampons. Though beware, syncing-up IS a thing and when Aunty Flow comes to stay with more than one sister – best to keep a large distance.

Welcoming a new partner into the family

Mean Girls

Coming over to meet the family is like pleading for your life in front of the firing squad. “Oh you’ve got a new boyfriend? Great, bring him over for dinner and we’ll see if we can make this one cry too.” Don’t get the wrong idea, we’re not trying to ensure all siblings remain spinsters forever (noted we already have a cat); we are simply weeding out the princes from the frogs. Trust me, there are a lot of frogs. It’s not all about frightening off potential soul mates; there are some great benefits too. The listening ear when the relationship gets a bit tough, or just knowing when you need wine, chocolate and a movie to make you feel better.

Keepers of the secrets

Girls telling secrets

Sisters are great to confide in. They’re like a real life diary that talks back, takes your side and generally hates the person who has wronged you more than you do. However, tread carefully. Divulging your deepest, darkest indiscretions to one or more of your siblings may be cathartic at the time, but less so when it’s brought up at the dinner table. The amount of times one of my darling sisters has ousted another is countless. I’m sure our parents didn’t really need to know about the time I almost died because I skulled vodka through a funnel, spewed in a laundry basket and attempted to flash the Maccas drive-thru attendant for free food.

Tessa Dempster

Hi, I'm Tessa. I've lived all over Western Australia getting to sample food, wine, local events and more. I'm merciless when it comes to a long black, love a glass or three of red wine, and can often be found showing off my eccentric but enthusiastic moves whenever there is music playing (shopping centres included). I now document my finds and antics for Perth Underground. Hit me up if you want me to come discover your business! I'd love to pop by for a chat.