I have an old friend — old in the sense that I haven’t seen her or talked with her in forever, not in the sense that she’s at all old — who is, in my opinion, perfectly assertive. Janine is confident, intelligent, respectful. You can’t walk all over her, but people don’t cower when she enters a room. She is everything I want to be when I grow up.

If nothing else, I’ve become acutely aware of my lack of assertiveness. Self confidence. Courage. Whatever. And aware that, as a parent, I have to step it up. Not only because I now represent my children’s best interests, but I also have to be a role model. Crap — I am a grown-up, aren’t I?

I have a long list of relationships and interactions in which I’m treading new ground: telemarketers, cashiers, retailers, servers, other parents, other kids… Yeah, stand back: the bank teller better not forget to give me two suckers!

All that said, I wasn’t a complete doormat before. A chicken? Yes. But typically I’m not apt to fight for something that doesn’t seem worth the effort. Either I’m good at keeping problems in perspective (ha), or I’m lazy. ;) And I don’t want to be a commanding presence. It’s not in me. I’m a behind-the-scenes type of gal. I want to strike a balance, to not shy away from a person or problem, to set things right. And, somehow, I want to teach my children to do the same.

All of the Janines (as if there could be more than one, but you know what I mean) out there, if any of you teach an online Assertiveness 101 class, let me know. ;)