We all know those moments when you have to be an example to your kids. Like, when you're teaching them to eat, they need to see you eating. Don't like broccoli? You do now! Can't stand bananas? They're your new fave! (Of course none of this is from personal experience...). Kids learn by watching, for better or worse.
I have to admit (Jenn here) that when we made our huge move from south FL to NC and all that came with it (hello pregnancy, moving again and new baby!), I was not a great example to my kids. I put on a good face for them but every so often I would let my true feelings show. Fear, anxiety, sadness consumed me on a daily basis. It was hard to find the good in my days shortly after we moved. I was homesick and heart broken. I was fearful of living in a new place, learning new things and making new friends. I let it consume me instead of pushing through it.
Soon I realized I had to get through it; for myself, for my family. First of all they needed to know that Mommy is OK, and second, see me thriving. I thought, if they can see me happy again, truly content in my circumstances, they will really learn a life lesson. I thought about what fuels me: people, relationships, community. I knew I needed to press into that and start being vulnerable. This meant putting myself out there, inviting people into our home, initiating coffee dates and lunch dates. Going to park play dates and Mommy groups at the library. Getting showered and dressed when it was more comfortable to stay inside in my pajamas.
Guys, it is HARD to put yourself out there. The fear of rejection is real. The fear of people not reciprocating is real. But, my kids saw me trying. I felt more connected. The fear, anxiety and sadness started to subside. We have an amazing group of friends in our new community who love us and who we can count on. The work of vulnerability is rough but in the end, it is so worth it. Brene Brown says "Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage." When we're truly ourselves (with the right people), we only gain intimacy, connection, become more courageous and ultimately free from what was holding us back.
If you find yourself in a new place: geographically, emotionally, spiritually...whatever. Get out there and LIVE. Find a community, a Bible-believing church, a Mom group, a hobby group...whatever you like to do, there is a group out there doing it. I'm so glad I pushed past the awkward to find contentment. And I'm so glad my kids watched me, for better or worse.