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My daughter, who loves fashion, recently told me she was embarrassed by some of the clothing I wore to her grade school when parents were invited into the classroom. This made me laugh out loud!

I could laugh because we have a great relationship, and I knew back then my girls couldn’t understand why I didn’t need to buy designer bags, trendy clothing and expensive jewelry like the cool moms did.

Even as a child, I never really cared to own designer clothing in an attempt to get into the popular crowd. I’m comfortable being my authentic self.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging anyone for buying those things. It just wasn’t important to me. I was busy raising five kids, running my organizing business and enjoying the outdoors in my free time.

I purchase clothing that is comfortable, isn’t so trendy that it goes out of style quickly and in colors I like. There are some things I will splurge on like a pair of tennis shoes that keep my back and feet feeling good or a leather purse that will last a long time.

I had to remind my daughter that instead of purchasing stuff to be cool, I happened to do things that others thought were cool. Like the time I decorated my campsite in a luau theme and invited her friends to have a sleepover birthday party in the woods. For some of the girls it was their first time camping. They didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing designer jeans as they roasted their s’mores.

When my youngest daughter was 15, she and I did a week long bike tour going from town to town. That was cool even though I owned one of the cheapest bikes on the tour.

When my son was young, he and his friend were making a fort in our living room. I overheard him tell his friend, “I’m not getting an electric scooter for Christmas because we can’t afford one.” I chimed in, “We can afford one.” He snapped his head in my direction and said, “Then why aren’t you buying me one.” I replied, “Because you have two perfectly good feet and you get around on your scooter just fine.”

One of my goals as a mother was to help my kids stay healthy and fit. I didn’t want him parading around on a scooter without any effort. Again, I lost the popular mom ‘contest’ because staying with my values was more important to me.

Sometimes you allow others to decide what should be important to you. You make purchases based on their values instead of your own. This can leave you feeling empty inside, overwhelmed with the items you own and not spending your time how you like.

Now that my children are adults, they understand me better. They understand that experiences are more important to me than stuff. They see me being my authentic self, not someone who conforms to what happens to be popular at the moment.

What values are important to you? Are you pursuing your dreams and learning new things? Are you taking the time to see the people who are important to you? It’s these things that create happiness.

It’s time for you to define what’s cool for you.

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