Kids are great for showing you life through a different lens. My youngest — a mix of protector, comedian, and sweet talker — shows me a more perfect version of myself. My oldest — a spitfire, creative, and extrovert — continually shows me how to stand up for myself when I otherwise wouldn't. I can't sum up all the ways my kids taught me how to take less sh*t because everyday it's a new lesson and, with every lesson, I'm a little bit stronger than I was the day before.
I've always been an introvert, sometimes straddling the extrovert line by way of performance art through my younger years, with an odd affinity for letting others step all over me. Not speaking up comes from many years of learned behavior. As a child, I wrote my hopes and dreams in a notebook because I learned very few people cared enough to actually hear about them. As I grew, my voice shrank until almost indecipherable because I'd gotten so used to not being heard. This often translated to being taken advantage of and/or being put into situations I didn't want to be in.
Eventually, all of this took its toll in the form of severe anxiety (among other things). I had no idea how to stand up for myself, let alone actually do it. The thought alone was terrifying. After becoming a mother, though, I realized it's no longer about me. With my kids' needs on the line, I no longer had the luxury of retreat; I had a duty, an obligation to stand up for them, if not for myself. While my son spends most of our time telling me I'm beautiful, seeing past my many flaws and mistakes, and making me laugh at his random super hero stories, my daughter's showing me how to be the strong, confident woman she believes me to be — all the things I should be showing her. Because of her, I take less sh*t and, because of her, I have zero regrets over it. Here are some of those lessons she teaches me every single day.