By Womaness Editors 6-Minute Read
One of our favorite 'ness words at Womaness? Openness. That's why we've been celebrating it as we approach Mother's Day with our series on some of the most formative conversations we have: those with our mothers. Through several candid interviews with inspiring mother-daughter combos, we’re examining the importance of open communication about being a woman...because we know that when we do, we can end stigmas…and ensure every phase of the experience gets better with each generation.
We're concluding this special series with an all-time Womaness favorite: In the Groove founder (and one of the first in our Womaness Woman franchise) Susan Feldman. Together with her daughters Kim and Jackie, she's talking to us about her family's own brand of openness...and how it's made them who they are today.
AN OPEN CONVERSATION WITH
Susan Feldman, Mother to Kim & Jackie
Please share a memory of being truly open about something with your daughter. What did you learn from the experience?
“This might sound silly, but for a long time, I was uncomfortable to share with my daughters that I had my eyes done. It happened when I turned 40 and got divorced. All of a sudden, it felt like the only thing I saw in the mirror were these huge bags under my eyes! So, I did something about it. I finally came clean about it when they were in their 20s, and they were so supportive. I hope the takeaway was, don’t be afraid to address things that make you feel bad! Self-esteem is important.”
What’s the most important thing you’ve tried to teach your daughters about a life well lived? What have you learned from them?
“When I think of a life well lived, I think of my family—and I’ve tried to reinforce that with my daughters, too. Nothing is more important or fun to me than getting together, whether it’s a special occasion or just Sunday night dinner. My daughters are the kindest people, and they’ve taught me compassion, sympathy, and kindness every day of their lives.”
What is the most important thing your daughters have taught you about self-care?
“I’m a pretty active person, but my daughters are great at getting me out of my active comfort zone. Sometimes that means a new spinning class or an extra-long hike when I’m not in the mood, but they’re always there to encourage and go with me. Even if that means a little healthy competition.”
What’s some advice you received as a girl that you tried to not pass along to your daughters?
“I grew up with a lot of people telling me work always came first. While I love working and get tons of satisfaction from it, it’s hardly the only important thing in my life. You need to have work-life balance, and make sure you find time for yourselves. They’re both very successful women and I’m so proud of them, but it’s nice to see them taking care of themselves more than I was at their age.”
“I felt like I might as well talk to them about it, since I couldn’t exactly hide the hot flashes!” - Susan on openly sharing her menopause experience with her daughters
What have you tried to teach them about skincare…and what have you learned from them?
“I always tell my girls they need to start taking care of their skin now….and not to forget about their hands and neck!”
What have you taught your daughters about your menopause experience?
“I felt like I might as well talk to them about it, since I couldn’t exactly hide the hot flashes! But mostly, I wanted them to know what it was like so they would have a better sense of what they would go through. I also didn’t want to treat menopause like a dirty thing. We would talk about how long it lasted and how bad my symptoms were. It’s nothing to be ashamed of!”
What are your hopes for your daughters in the future?
“That they always find happiness.”
AN OPEN CONVERSATION WITH
Kim & Jackie, Daughters of Susan
Jackie, what have you learned from your mom about being a woman? What do you think you have taught her?
“My mom is the most amazing role model for both me and my sister. She is smart, hard-working, accomplished, beautiful, generous, kind—frankly the list of things that we have learned from her, and by watching her, is ridiculously long. Ever since I was a little kid she has always used the phrase, 'You Go, Girl!' and I think that perfectly encompasses what she has taught me about being a woman. In other words—go after what you want, and never forget who you are. Girls are amazing, we can do anything we set our minds to, and we should encourage each other along the way. I'm still looking for something to teach my mom. I think I taught her how to do Sudoku...does that count as something I've taught her?”
Kim, what’s the most important life advice you’ve learned from your mom?
“Never stop learning, and you are never too old to try something new!”
Jackie, what have you learned from your mom about skincare? What have you taught her?
“Moisturizing and sun protection are both super important for my skin! In particular, she always reminds me how important it is to moisturize my neck and hands. I can't say I am the best at either, but I do think about her telling me how important it is to do both frequently.”
“Ever since I was a little kid she has always used the phrase, 'You Go, Girl!' and I think that perfectly encompasses what she has taught me about being a woman.” - Jackie on Susan
Kim, how about you? What did your mom teach you about skincare?
“She has taught me that less is more when it comes to skincare, and how important it is to moisturize from head to toe!”
Jackie, has your mom been open with you about her menopause experience?
“Definitely! I think the world is lucky to have her changing the narrative and conversation, particularly on this topic, with In the Groove. Go check out the menopause registry!”
If you've got a story of open conversations that have influenced younger women in your life, tell us about it in our private Facebook group, The After Party. The hope is we'll inspire more conversations—and make menopause better with each generation. Because they deserve it too.