“We all know someone who’s been in therapy for years, who is tuned into their every slightest motivation, impulse, and emotion, and yet who at the same time remains painfully oblivious (or uninterested in) how other people are feeling. Raising a child who is emotionally aware, yet not destined to become an egotist, takes finesse, persistence, and frankly, a bit of luck. ” ~Molly Ringwald, All Around Entertainer, Author, Mother, Wife from “Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick”
There are a number of books that I keep around and read a page or three at a time because they offer pearls of wisdom and support wherever you open them. Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick” is one such book. Molly Ringwald’s “lighthearted guide for women …who want to be reminded of their youthful, carefree selves” (as described by the New York Times) is mostly that–a lighthearted guide for women.
Yet, it also inspires me to think more deeply about how we get from childhood to adulthood with a Sense of Self that is naturally allowed to develop, intact, and always with us. That kind of Sense of Self improves our chances for realizing our fullest potential and living life by our design. Molly Ringwald is one such person who appears to have chosen her path in life with support from her parents from the very beginning. And, that has made all the difference.
Molly Ringwald is forever known to most for her iconic teen roles in John Hughes films (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club), but I remember her from her earlier time on TV in the sitcom “The Facts of Life” which I watched as a young girl myself. I TOTALLY related to her character and the world of that sitcom as a whole. For I too was a student at an all-girls school and boarded the last two years of high school like her character on the show. Navigating the journey through young adulthood felt like a roller coaster ride because like her I struggled to determine who I was, where I fit in, and how was I going to handle an independent life from the age of 16 without parents. Luckily, I had more than a few good mentors to keep me grounded so my self-esteem and self-image survived mostly intact.
It was in my 20s and 30s that I struggled most with my self-esteem, self-image, and path in life. It was becoming a mother myself 16 years ago that things really changed for the better. And, the work of remaining true to myself as I now raise a daughter who gets to live her own life WILL BE a lifelong adventure.
In “Getting the Pretty Back” (which she wrote in response to turning 40 years old) her observations and insights on the themes of self-esteem, self-image, relationships, and parenting GLOW off the pages amid humorous anecdotes and palatable advice. Her insights are often striking and memorable; and ring true for me. She gives good advice from a grounded place.
I like to think of that grounded place as her Sense of Self that acts as her constant inner home.
Often, there in the middle of a story about culinary classes or settling into a new neighborhood, her wisdom makes me think of Healthy Sense of Self; and what we champion in all we do and create (for the good of the individual and the family they are apart of.)
What did Molly Ringwald (and all her siblings) have?
From all I can gather and discern about Molly, she and her sibs each had a good childhood, parents who were present and supportive, who afforded her (and her sibs) the opportunity to be themselves. Molly Ringwald has always struck me as someone who got to develop her own Sense of Self from an early age. I remember admiring that she was a good actress from a young age, and later I admired that she lived in France, and her stories of being a mother resonate with me deeply.
Molly Ringwald is not only an all around entertainer, author, wife and mother; she’s one of my examples of a person with a healthy Sense of Self, living life by design, being creative in every way she chooses, and navigating her own topsy turvy journey of raising children. I love how she shares her experiences of growing up herself and how that shows up in her own parenting style.
Giving the children in our lives the support they need to become themselves first and foremost isn’t always easy, but its worth every challenge we’ll experience.
Make time to listen to her Moth talk, “Mothering in Captivity.” You’ll be glad you did.
And Molly, should you ever be reading this post, thank you for being a great role model (thanks to your own parents rearing of you) and paying it forward. You are for me, mom with a teen in search of her own habitat, an inspiration and a guide.