One of my favorite parenting quotes comes from Brene Brown, my social work/writing/Mama hero: “We can’t give our children what we don’t have.”

I find her words to be liberating, inspiring, and, at times, totally obnoxious—not unlike so many of life’s great truths. Liberating because they remind me that it is just not possible for me to teach my children everything, and it’s OK and even necessary for me to reach out to others for help. Inspiring because they motivate me to make the changes in my own life that I hope to share with my girls. And finally, obnoxious, because sometimes I just want to tell them what to do and have them magically do it. Sadly, that rarely happens unless I’ve already taught them how to do it.*

READ: Carla Naumburg on Mindful Parenting & Why It’s OK to Ignore Your Kid Sometimes

In my previous post, I wrote, “I hope my daughters will grow up with strong Jewish identities and the same love of Judaism that their father and I have. But even more than that, I hope they grow up understanding the power of compassion to change themselves and the world.

Sounds awfully nice, doesn’t it? But each time I go back to Brene Brown’s words, I realize that it has to start with me. (I realize that I am not the only influence in my daughters’ lives, but seeing as how this is the Jewish Mother Project, not the Jewish Village Project, I’m OK with focusing almost entirely on my role in all of this.)

I would love to tell you that I am compassionate and kind all, or even much, of the time, but, well, I’m not. (Just ask either of my daughters what happens when Mama gets too hungry and you’ll get a sense of when I go off the rails more than a little bit.)

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