Talking About Tough Topics with Your Kids — Womanhood Unwrapped
I sat down with Tara (via Zoom) this month and immediately was amazed by her warmth, confidence, and no-BS personality. We were talking like old friends in no time, and I couldn’t get enough! Here’s Tara’s story:
Well, I had a baby at 40, and I had already established my career, so very quickly, a seed was planted in my mind that just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you don’t want to, or shouldn’t want to work.
But although I was committed to pursuing my professional career as a mom, it was still hard to find a job after having a baby.
I eventually found my fit in hospitality marketing, then the pandemic hit, and I lost a lot of clients during that time.
In the depths of schooling at home, I realized I needed to talk to my daughter more about challenging issues. She was asking questions about everything from what would happen with the pandemic to gender and equality.
I was struggling to find the right words or moments to talk about these topics, so I started looking around for a product that might help me support my child and provide insight into discussing these world issues as a family. I literally couldn’t find a product that felt useful, so I started creating sticky notes to discuss topics coming up in our conversations. And that is how Bright littles was born!
The creativity and development of the convo-cards was the silver lining of the pandemic for me.
I am part Japanese and have always had a solid cultural and powerful feminine presence in my life through my mother and Obachan, my mom’s mother, and grandma.
I have had an interesting life and have lived in many different places since I was a girl. We moved 20 different times as a kid because of my mom’s love of travel and art career. I had to learn to adapt because I was constantly the new kid at school, and it was always hard to get in with the cool kids, so there were times I fell into the wrong crowd.
The life I led as a child helped me grow into a strong and resilient woman and taught me early on that life will throw a lot of stuff your way, but if you can adapt and take it as it comes, you’ll have a more effortless and happier life in the long run.
What those close to me learn as they get to know me is that I am resilient, I am passionate about helping others, and my background is the backbone of my strength and empathy as a woman and mother.
There have been a couple of significant chapters in my life series so far, and all of them include places I’ve lived.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, was the pivot point for me as a girl. I have such strong, rooted, and natural memories of Santa Fe. And because of my mother’s art and cultural connection, I learned a lot about Native American culture, art, and daily life while living in Santa Fe. Through my experience there, I grew a respect for the people of this land.
Santa Fe was a place and point that I learned for the first time, but not the last, that not everything you read and learn in school is what happened. Our history in the United States is riddled with half-truths, and you often have to dig to find the real story. I developed an advocate instinct during that time that has stuck with me to this day.
In my early 20s, I moved to San Miguel de Allende, a small town outside of Mexico City, I took a job at my mom and stepdad’s art gallery, and my job was to tell stories of folk artists selling their art in the gallery.
Worked to help represent the artists alongside their work. That time gave me the unique opportunity to tell the stories of not just the art but also the artists. That curiosity and passion for supporting artists have stayed with me throughout my life, and I’m now a board member of the Creative Action in Austin.
The biggest thing I hear from the customers is that they are surprised to discover how much their kids already know about the topics we discuss on the convo cards.
I repeatedly hear things like, “Wow! I really need to step up my communication.”
It’s much different today because kids have technology at their fingertips. What I’m seeing is a greater need to teach your kids resilience. I can’t imagine growing up with social media and having that magnifying glass that be part of it. That’s why it’s so important to have the tough conversations earlier and more honestly now. This communication style helps kids see the depth they can have within them and work through their questions with a parent or caregiver instead of doing it independently.
I was amazed at my daughter’s heartfelt and strong reaction to some of the issues we started discussing, like gender norms and body safety. She was adamant that everyone deserves to be happy and that she believes in letting love be love.