Is Caitlyn Jenner still a father? Or is she now a mother? I'm not sure how that technicality works. But I do know that I can only hope to be half the role model to my kids as mother, father, Mapa, whomever. She is a fierce, walking, talking (and damn sexy) laundry list of qualities that I aspire to as a parent. She is the embodiment of authenticity; she is who she is.
How can I learn from this? It comes down to this issue of being authentic with our kids. Authentic parenting creates a healthy environment for everyone. Being honest about who we are in a moment teaches kids to honor their feelings. Caitlyn, please, show us the way. Please!
Transitioning from living a tortured untruth (in the public eye!) to freeing herself from a body, gender and identity she felt trapped in takes a lot of courage. Meanwhile, I don't have the courage to break up my kids when they're beating the crap out of each other.
She has made a choice to live in utter honesty no matter what anyone thinks, and at all times. If a mom asks me for a play date I just nod, my outside voice saying, "Yes, let's do it, can't wait!" while my inside voice is muttering, "Lady or whatever your name is, here are 50 things I'd rather do than to talk to you for three hours. And who is your kid anyway?"
She took "fight" to a whole new level. Commitment and follow through. Me? ...I can't follow throughwith a simple dessert limit.
This was a man who had her face surgically altered to look like a woman. Bitch don't play. I'm all for Botox and if I learn to rob banks, I smell a nip and tuck in my future. Especially in the chin area. But that's just fighting Father Time. Or just living in Los Angeles. Caitlyn took shit up with Mother Nature and said, "Yo, you messed this up, and I'm going to fix it!" She took "fight" to a whole new level. Commitment and follow through. Me? I say, "No you are not having any more ice cream!" as I dole out scoop after scoop because I can't follow through with a simple dessert limit.
4. Follow through: See above
Despite an onslaught of eyeballs, judgments and those pesky paparazzi, Caitlyn stayed the course and went the distance, against all odds. But I so easily let things like chores, piano practice and reading 15 minutes a night fall by the wayside because I'm a lazy shit most of the time.
She takes pride in who she is, on a deep level and on the surface. She cares about how she looks because she knows that the outside is a representation of the inside. She's thoughtful and coordinated about her outfits AND she brushes her hair. My daughter has never seen me brush my hair once.
Caitlyn is a class act. Pride in your appearance is a great thing to model as long as you're not obsessive. I've taken the anti-vanity campaign a bit too far at times. I'm the hot mess who gets stopped by school security guards because I look like a vagrant. You know you're in trouble when your kid is begging you to "look nice for once and wear a dress."
Most of my parenting failures come from being inauthentic with my kids. I'm trying to pretend to be having fun when I'm not. I'm saying yes when I mean no. I'm screaming about being late when I'm really just angry about something in my personal life. Living inauthentically is dishonest. And dishonest parenting (for the most part) only teaches kids not to trust themselves. Kids smell this bullshit a mile away.
Nothing is worse than being a phony. Except phoning it in. If I said, "I'm too freaking tired to be on your case about practicing piano right now. It would be so awesome if you did, even for five minutes," things might be different around here.
So thank you, Caitlyn, for shining the light and giving us the strength to be ourselves. And hopefully you too will be yourself and refrain from raiding Kim's closet. You have way better taste than that.