This past weekend, I spent a lot of time with my ladies. I was lucky enough to share snacks with some blogger friends who are smarter than I am on a lot of things and as we shared all the carbs, we discussed all the important and unimportant parts of life that feed into our blogs. We validated one another, shared knowledge and I hope that we all left the encounter feeling uplifted.
We are women in different stages of life from different places geographically and in different life circumstances, but we all agree that we found happiness in authenticity. In admitting our faults and not trying to run from them. And sharing a little bit of the "not pictured" part of life to better explain the more polished parts. Good stuff takes work and the work isn't something people usually show. Especially when we see others who make it look easy, it can be hard to remember that there is so much that goes into any sort of success and it can make a person start to feel resentful or like there's no reason to try when it's hard. But everything takes work. It takes a lot of hard effort to make something look easy. There is a mess behind every perfect picture. There's always more to the story.
This is such an important lesson I'm trying to teach my kids. We spend a lot of time in the car together, it seems, and they both have noticed that we do a lot of talking about the big stuff then. I have a captive audience to talk to, and they get to say things that might be hard to say face-to-face. I think that me not being able to look at them is liberating and allows them to speak more freely. They talk about big things and I talk about big things and we discuss big ideas and our differences and why I do what I do as a parent and what I'm hoping they learn from the process.
I remember back when I was in basic training—there was a moment late in our training where the female TI (training instructor) sat with us during one of our group talks (which usually was a lot of her talking at volume and us saying "YES MA'AM!") and offered some real talk about why they did what they did. She gave us time to actually question her and she answered like a human who had a vested interest in our success, so we could better understand the tough-talking TI persona she usually put forth.
Now I'm not saying that I parent like a TI (and I'm not saying that I don't), but that really inspired my parenting. I think that it's important to give answers to the why when you think the other party will be receptive to them. And for me, this happens in the car, between music appreciation time and yelling at drivers who cut me off because apparently there is an invisibility cloak I didn't know I had.
During one drive after a long discussion about something or another, my daughter said to me, "I hope that when I grow up, I'm as good of a mom as you are." My heart swelled up and I was speechless. She continued, "I'm telling you that now, because I know in a few years I'm probably not going to think that."
And I know that's the truth.