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#TuesdayTruth – Be real with your kids.

#TuesdayTruth – Be real with your kids.

The best antidote to the distance you feel from your tween or teen is truth. Lie and that distance will grow exponentially. 

Straight outta the 70s – a photo of me as a kid that’s filtered

My youngest daughter is thirteen. Last night she told me some stuff. I guess I should put “stuff” in capital letters. When she was through talking, she said something I will never forget. And I thought I better pass it along to as many people as possible.

Her exact words were, “Mom, you’ve always been authentic with me and that’s why I can tell you anything.”

Yes. I’ve told both of my daughters the truth. Sometimes they’ve asked about it. And sometimes it’s just felt right to share. They know about my uglies and mistakes and personal bloopers. And no. I’m not going to share my stuff with you. 🙂

I was raised to be real. Thanks to my father, Gary, one of my biggest role models,  I am rarely filtered. And when I became a parent, I watched other parents with admiration and scrutiny. Park visits, malls, school events, and friendships – like NSA – I was always watching. And what I noticed is that many parents weren’t real with their kids. Their children asked them questions and parents didn’t answer honestly. I was struck with how destructive that could be to their relationships. That’s when I set my intention to be real. If my kids asked, I’d be open and upfront. 

My unfiltered self has been well-catalogued on my thirteen-year-old’s social media threads. And her friends think I’m goofy and crazy. And yet, her friends hug me when I see them at school. They sit in the backseat of my car as I’m driving them places and speed-gossip loud enough for me to hear. 

Recently, kids at my daughter’s school have struggled with depression and they’ve talked about it in earshot. And I’ve found myself sharing some of my stuff with them, too.

Those are important conversations. These are important people. And they deserve to see the people they love and respect in bright, glaring lights – not as perfect adults that were perfect, law-abiding, parent-obeying, abstaining teens. 

And I’ll leave it at that.

As always, I love you and hope you have a kick ass week.     – Jennifer

 

 

Assume – Makes an @$$ Outta U & Me – or maybe just me

Assume – Makes an @$$ Outta U & Me – or maybe just me

I make way too many assumptions and they’re usually wrong. Here are just a few.

Assumption #1: That aggressive driver? Oh, yeah. My bad. That pushy tailgater riding my bumper? I’m quick to assume that I must’ve made them mad with my driving. Maybe I’m too slow or use my signal too liberally. But guess what? It seems that’s just the way these folks drive. I’ve watched them zoom past me and tailgate the next car, then the next. So the ugly truth is, it’s nothing personal.

Jenn's Bumper Sticker
A bumper sticker I designed after too many harried commuteshey pass me and…. the truth is…they drive like that all the time. Yep. Inevitably they zoom past just to hug the next car’s bumper. It’s nothing personal.

Assumption #2: Salad is the healthiest menu option. Truth – not always. Add lots of cheese and dressing and croutons and deep-fried chicken and you’re eating more carbs and fat on that salad than what’re in your average cheeseburger. Read the calorie count before you order. Otherwise you’ll unknowingly eat your way back into those fat jeans.  (Do any of you remember the Seinfeld episode where the friends got hooked on non-fat froyo and they all gained weight?)

yoga pantsAssumption #3: Now that I’m middle-aged, I need to dress a certain way. Hmm. Truth – Not according to this hilarious article via the Huffington Post. Well, I guess since my expiration date is looming, I can wear whatever the bleep I want. Carpe yoga pants!

Assumption #4: I can do everything myself. Ha. Hee hee hee. What a load of bologna. Asking for help is my Achilles heel (I almost typed Achilles hell – Freudian), but I need to ask. Everything I do is better when I invite others into the process. Everything. Whether it’s planning a fundraiser, doing an art project, or writing a novel, other hands and eyes make my efforts shine. When I try to tackle stuff all by my lonesome, I end up stressed, frayed at the ends and bitter like unsweetened chocolate.

A photograph, taken and colorized by my father, Gary Riley in the early 70s
A photograph, taken and colorized by my father, Gary Riley in the early 70s

Assumption #5: I’ll be around for my next birthday. It’s something I try to control with exercise and diet, but the truth is, there is a large amount of variability in life. Any given day could be my last. That thought doesn’t depress me, in fact it helps me to live mindfully. I say my peace in real time. I let go of hurts. I hug my kids (often against their will) and I smile at my husband, letting him know that as hectic as the pace of our life is, we’re in this together. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So, this week, I’m going to try to assume less. I’m going to give the world the benefit of the doubt and try to make that my new habit. <3