Reshma Saujani is the Founder + CEO of Girls Who Code, the first Indian American woman to run for Congress and a mother who is changing the world by changing the way the world sees girls and women.
During the first episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Saujani tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about her experience as a #boymom guiding parents of girls to raise risk takers who are confident and not confined by the perfectionism so many women of our generation learned when we were kids.
According to Saujani, it’s not too late for us to unlearn perfectionism and embrace the philosophy her writes about in her new book, Brave, Not Perfect.
“Perfectionism is so tied into everything that’s wrong with motherhood and what’s complicated about motherhood,” Saujani tells Tenety.
Mom to 4-year-old son Shaan, Saujani grew up aiming for perfection but says losing her congressional race in 2010 taught her that being brave and taking risks wouldn’t break her, the way young girls on the playground are conditioned to believe. She swung big on the proverbial monkey bars, missed her mark but stuck her landing in a quest for joy that has taught her lessons that she is passing down to Shaan’s generation.
“I’ve got to have the patience to let him fail,” she tells Tenety.
While it would be easier sometimes in her busy life to step in and do something for Shaan, she forces herself to let him take the time to do it on his own, and sometimes that means he makes a huge mess, and sometimes it means he fails. As a boy, it’s pretty socially acceptable for Shaan to make messes and take risks and spread Legos all around, and his mom wants the girls he grows up with to be afforded the same opportunities to build, fail and fall.
“Teach your girls to build high and kick it down,” she says. “Expose them to stories about fierce women that are just creating and innovating and that are not perfect. Like oftentimes even when you watch the shows that you’re watching with your kids, everything always has a happy ending. Life is not a happy ending. You can make mistakes. You will fail. You will get your heart crushed. Let that happen to them at an early age. It’s kind of like falling in love. Imagine if you never fell in love before how hard it would be to put yourself and your heart out there. If you protect your daughters from failure or the slightest bit of making a mistake they’ll never be able to take that big risk.”
We are so glad Saujani took the risks she did, and in a world where perfect, Instagrammable photos seem to be the default, it’s so refreshing to hear a powerful woman explain that motherhood isn’t perfect. It’s messy and risky, but mothers are so brave and we’re ready to teach our children to be even braver.
To hear more about Reshma Saujani and being brave but not perfect, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.
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