Today, my teenage daughter sat down in the kitchen and began to cry. And it’s Thanksgiving week—no school, special time with family, a season to be thankful and feel happy and blessed, right?
Yet in our house, there were tears.
I soon learned why. These Thanksgiving-week tears were caused by pressure. Pressure to make outstanding grades and test scores. Pressure to achieve. Pressure to be thin. Pressure to look as perfect as the internet demands that we be. Pressure to feel wanted. And pressure to feel worthy.
As a mom, I think I overlook this pressure all too often. In fact, I probably make it worse. And today, I was caught in one of the toughest moments I’ve faced as a parent: I could not offer a viable solution to my daughter’s problem.
What I needed to do was remove some of this pressure.
Sure, I could lay off the constant nagging and lecturing and try to be more encouraging. I could try to be more supportive and understanding. But the more I thought about it, the more it became obvious to me.
Rarely have I seen my daughter as genuinely happy as she is when she is with her friend group, a crew of girls that met in middle school and began going to church youth group together. Over the last few years, these girls have weathered many storms and formed some seriously strong bonds with each other.
What my daughter really needs to counteract the tremendous pressure in her life is more time with her people. She’s blessed to have some really good friends. Of course, I’m not saying that she should ditch her responsibilities, but the more time she has to just be herself around her people, the better off she is going to be.
The same goes for mamas. We are expected to be perfect. To raise perfect human beings in perfect houses with perfect family photos inside.
Talk about pressure.
Friends, hear this: never have I felt more perfect than when I’ve been sitting around by the fire in my PJs and Ugg boots, drinking from a coffee mug, wearing no makeup and glasses, talking to some of my very best friends about how imperfect my life has been.
And that’s the power of true friendship: to remove the pressure. To remind us who we really are. And to encourage us when we’ve forgotten what that is—something that is so very easy to do in the midst of our adult responsibilities. Your true friends knew you when. And as the years move along and life turns you over and spins you around a million times over, they’ll know you then.
And that makes life just a little easier. Better.
This Thanksgiving holiday, I will encourage my daughter to enjoy some extra time with her people. And I want to encourage you to find some time to just sit around in your Uggs (or your footwear of choice), drinking from a mug, talking to your people about life and all of its blessings and challenges.
For with the right people, this is sure to remove some of the pressure and instill some of the self-esteem we need to keep doing this formidable thing called life.
Cheers to Uggs, mugs, and the power of true friendship.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!