TV (and Real Life) Mom Candace Cameron Buré’s Path to Gracious Parenting

Episode 01

From your mouth to Jen’s headphones, we’re starting a brand-new series you requested: For the Love of Parenting! This series will not only speak to those of us who are in the thick of parenting kids at every stage, but for those of us who are learning to honor our parents as adults and come alongside our friends with kids. Our first guest is actor and author Candace Cameron Buré, who was famously parented in the beloved sitcom Full House and is now the one doing the parenting in Netflix’s Fuller House. She shares about her own experiences growing up in Hollywood and how giving back was modeled to her at an early age by her own mother.  Off set, Candace has been a mom for more than two decades and shares the joys and challenges of “surrendering to motherhood” during a season of professional success, and how she chose to instill small acts kindness into her daily life in an effort to positively impact her family and the world around her.

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people, every week, on this podcast. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:  Hey, everybody, it’s Jen Hatmaker. Welcome to the show. This is the For the Love Podcast. I am your very happy hostess, and so glad that you’re joining us today. And you are going to be happy that you are joining us today. We are in a series called “For the Love of Parenting,” and I have a real treat for you today.

Our delightful guest is none other than Candace Cameron Buré.

She, as you surely know, is an actress, a producer, New York Times bestselling author. You clearly, unless you’ve lived under a rock for 30 years, know her from her role as DJ Tanner on the iconic family sitcom Full House, and now Fuller House, which we’ll talk all about. She’s also been in a slew of Hallmark Channel movies, and she’s a former co-host of The View. She’s a speaker. You may also remember she was on Dancing with the Stars, a Season 18 finalist, which we’re also going to ask her about because that’s super fun.

Candace very famously took a break from her acting career to be a stay-at-home mom. I know that as we are in this parenting series, this idea of being a working mom, being a stay-at-home mom, something in between, making those decisions—that is a conversation that is always in play. We’re going to talk to her about that decision and the reaction it received, and what it meant in her life.

She’s got a new book out called Kind Is the New Classy. In it she talks about how kindness has been deeply modeled to her by her own mother, and how she models it to her kids, in our society, where right now bullying is rampant, and sometimes kindness can be misconstrued as weakness. She has so many interesting things to say, you guys, as a parent, as someone who was famously parented on TV and grew up in the spotlight. This is a really great conversation, full of so many little nuggets of wisdom that you are just going to want to grab a pen.

Candace has three kids, and she and her husband live in LA. She is just an absolute delight. You guys, without any further ado, please welcome Candace to the show.

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Okay, Candace, yay. We are so, so, so excited to have you on the podcast as part of our parenting series. Thank you for being here.

Candace: You’re so welcome, thanks for having me on.

Jen: So many of us have been a fan of you for so very long. It’s been a blast to see you go from this awesome family that we all loved on TV on Full House to now sort of the newest iteration of that. You’re playing a widowed mom on your newer series, Fuller House.

But I wonder if you will roll us back a little bit further and tell us a little bit about your parents, like, the ones who actually raised you. And then what it was like to have really all these extra parents. Like bonus TV parents, and aunts, and uncles. You grew up with so many adults telling you what to do in your life.

Candace: Yeah.

Jen: Can you tell us a little bit about your family, and then your second family?

Candace: Yeah, for sure. My real mom and dad, I was born and raised in LA, in California. My dad was a public middle school teacher for over 35 years. He’s retired now. My mom was a stay-at-home mom to us four kids. I have two sisters and a brother.

You know, the whole acting thing, we kind of fell into show business a little bit. It was like, “Hey, we live in LA. And kids do commercials here, and they film TV shows, and you have cute kids. Do you want to try it?”

That’s how it started. My parents didn’t know anything about show business. We were kind of just a normal, regular, middle-class family like everyone else.

So that part, we fell into it and ended up loving it. I say “we” because my brother’s in it, obviously, for those that know him.

But everything growing up, for us, we weren’t necessarily a Christian family. That didn’t really happen or start in my life until I was about 12 years old. I love my mom and dad, they’re awesome people. And we were raised by the Golden Rule, and be nice to others, treat others how you would want to be treated, and work hard, and put 100% into everything that you do no matter what it is, and be courteous and polite to people. That’s kind of what it was.

Jen: That’s so fabulous. And I believe you, because I’ve got several friends that live in LA and kind of in Southern California, in general. Listeners are probably thinking, “You don’t just stumble into show business.” You kind of can. Everybody’s like, “Well, here’s an audition. Maybe you should just drive your kid over and see what happens.” It really does still go like that.

Candace: It does. Especially if you are a kid. It is kind of easy to stumble into it.

Jen: Totally. So you started the show, how old were you?

Candace: I was 10 when I started Full House, but I started acting at 5.

Jen: Yeah. So those five years were a smattering of things, right? Commercials and other shows and all kinds of stuff?

Candace: Yeah, exactly.

Jen: As an aside on Full House, by the way, as you well know, the fanhood is strong with Full House. There are an enormous amount of devotees to the show. In fact, I found an article that actually ranked the stars of the show, all of you, in terms of the most memorable hairstyles over the years. I’m very happy to announce that you were in the top two. You were number two, and obviously John Stamos was number one.

It’s you. It’s you. You came of age in the public eye in the ’80s. There’s a lot of hair stuff going on, yeah.

Candace: Right. There is a lot of hair. Yeah. There’s some wings going on over our ears, too.

Jen: I remember I used to study your hair on that show and do my darnedest to recreate it. I mean, I can still do a pretty big hair, to be honest with you, if forced.

Okay. Back on track. I’ve heard you say before on interviews that you and all your co-stars had, and still have, really great relationships. I actually love hearing that. Do you feel like Full House did a good job of portraying what a loving family could look like, and the relationship between parent and child? Plus all these amazing kind of “bonus parents” in the picture: the friends, and older siblings, and uncles, and aunts?

I just think what Full House did for so many of us was give us this really wonderful family to love, and it was a family that didn’t necessarily look traditional, and that was kind of important at that time.

Candace: Yeah.

Jen: What’s your take on that?

Candace: You hit the nail on the head. Full House, yeah, it did a great job of portraying a family that loved one another, because that’s what it was at the end of the day. It was important that it wasn’t a traditional family. I’ve heard so many stories over the last 30 years from people having grown up from watching the show that maybe didn’t have a happy upbringing, and the show made them feel like they had a family that they could turn to every week, and they knew things would be okay, and it gave them hope.

Or I’ve heard so many stories from people that have un-traditional families, and they, whether it was having a grandma and grandpa raise them, or a same-sex couple raise them, that they felt like they weren’t weird, because they saw a family on television that didn’t look typical.

Jen: Totally.

Candace: That’s what I loved about our show, is that people genuinely felt loved by it, and felt like maybe they wanted me to be their big sister, or they felt exactly the way Michelle did growing up, or whatever it was. Even though everything was wrapped up in a bow in 30 minutes, it just gave people hope. So in that sense, I absolutely love everything our show has represented, and I’m so proud of it and have always been proud of it.

I love that the front door was wide open, in a sense.

Jen: Yeah, it was.

Candace: That it was just a revolving door. People came in and out, whether they were friends or family. And I think that’s one of the best things about life, having those people around that come in and out, because they influence us differently, they speak into us differently, and encouraging, and help us to make decisions, and choose our paths. It’s a wonderful thing.

You know, I was thinking about the first part of your question, which I didn’t really answer, of having a second family of growing up with my television family. I had the best experience working on the show, because everyone I worked with was genuinely, they are great, wonderful, wonderful people. But I didn’t necessarily feel like I had other parents, because my parents were so on top of things. Really, working with Bob Saget, and Dave Coulier, and John Stamos was more like having a bunch of really crazy uncles around all the time.

Jen: Yeah, that makes sense.

Candace: Because they definitely were not the best parents in that—

Jen: Parent-y?

Candace: Yeah. They weren’t parent-y. They just, we had to parent them, even as 10-year-olds and keep them in line.

Jen: I believe you. That is so great. I think that’s fun. I love hearing you say all of that.

It’s interesting, because now, of course, in television, we see all sorts of programming that highlights and celebrates families of all stripes, but back then that wasn’t really true. It was way more rare to see a family that had that sort of dynamic in the home.

And yes, agreed, I mean obviously, it was a sitcom. It always wrapped it up in 30 minutes. But to the credit of the writers and all of you who acted in that show, you also took a lot of things head on, like really important conversations, and what it meant to grow up and be a teen and have conflict. We paid attention to that, too. You gave a lot of us permission to have some conversations that we weren’t sure we could have.

Was any of that ever hard for you? Did you ever read a script and think, “Ooh, this one’s tough”?

Candace: This script never happened, but I do remember, actually, the writers asking my parents first and then they talked to me about it, and we universally said no, was like, “DJ gets her period.”

Jen: Oh, God. Oh, no.

Candace: I was like, “No.” Even my mom was like, “No. You cannot.”

Jen: Hard pass.

Candace: Like, a 14-year-old or 13-year-old child going through that on national television. No.

Jen: Oh, dying. Of course they tried.

Candace: Of course, of course. They tried that one. Didn’t make it.

You know, I think the most sensitive one for me at the time—which it’s so well-known, people call it “pulling a DJ Tanner” at this point—is when DJ tried to lose weight in a week because she had to put a bathing suit on for a pool party and stopped eating, and you know.

Jen: And then got sick, yeah.

Candace: And got sick off the treadmill. But that one was probably the most sensitive for me at the time, because it’s kind of what I was going through. Not that I was trying to lose weight at that time, but any young woman is going to be self-conscious in some respect. Even learning later in life, my best friend on the show, Andrea Barber, who plays Kimmy Gibbler, standing next to her every day, she was like a Popsicle stick.

Jen: Just a bean pole.

Candace: Just a bean pole. But we’ve talked about it now as adults, and she would tell me, “Do you know how insecure I felt at the fact that I was a bean pole? Everything just hung on me, and I was just this skinny little thing.”

So no matter what shape or size, most young women feel insecure about their bodies because they’re changing. So that one was probably the hardest at the time. But at the same time, I could still understand that I was playing a character, this is a script, and I had words to say. And it wasn’t necessarily me, Candace. I could separate those two.

Jen: Right, right. Oh, my goodness, I remember that episode just crystal clear.

Let’s go back to your mom. I know you’re really close with your mom. In fact, in your new book, Kind Is the New Classy, which we’re about to talk about, you dedicate the whole book to her, which is very precious. I read a quote where you were talking about your mom, and you said, “I think my mom is fantastic. And I hope I’m modeling much of the same behavior she did to me when I was a kid, especially her giving heart and helping those in need.”

I thought that was really a lovely thing to say about your mom, and about her legacy. Tell us about how, it’s just interesting to think about her navigating raising kids in Hollywood with these blossoming acting careers, I mean, nobody sees that coming. That is not something you can really prepare for. There’s no handbook for how to parent that.

So how did she keep everybody’s feet on the ground? How did she model this sort of behavior that you honored her for?

I can see how the whole thing could just kind of float away from you, honestly, where all of a sudden you’re just living in Hollywood world, and celebrity world. And just be kind of disconnected from real life. But it sounds like that’s not at all the way she parented you.

Candace: Yeah, it really wasn’t. It was both my mom and dad together, because my dad, being a public school teacher, it was so crazy for him. He would tell us all the time, “All this Hollywood stuff, it’s just a big fairy tale, and it’s like living in the puffy clouds in the sky. Who knows when it’s going to go away?”

He had a very different mentality of, “This isn’t real life.”

So although it could be a little negative at times, it was a really wonderful, grounded thing, and it gave all of us a perspective to make sure that we stayed true to the real priorities in life, which for my family and what our parents taught us, were always family first, and friendships, and hard work.

So my mom, even though she was on the set with us every day while my brother and I were working and managed all of that, because I mean, she really was a manager in a sense of she didn’t have other clients other than her kids, but she did so much. But she always turned it into, “This is an opportunity that we’ve been given. This is a blessing to us. How can we bless other people?”

So as my brother and I were both on our respective television shows, my mom immediately was like, “How can we give back to others?”

She partnered up with Make-a-Wish Foundation, or Starlight Foundation. She brought sick children to the show every single week. My mom spent time with those families and made sure that obviously they had the most incredible time at a taping, at one of the live tapings. But my mom always extended that. She would invite families to our home to spend an afternoon with us. We still have friendships with many of these families, and it’s been 20, 30, 40 years.

That’s just who my mom was, always seeing the opportunity it could give her to bless other people. At times, it would be like, “Mom! I’m really tired, and you keep bringing all these people, and you keep wanting me to do this charity thing, and that charity thing.”

Jen: Totally.

Candace: And yet, oh, am I so incredibly grateful for it, because that rubbed off on me. And that really is all I want to do as a woman now in my career and also as a mother. You see the importance of it, and I’m so grateful to my mom for that.

Jen: I love that so much. It’s amazing to watch that imprint in your life, in the life of your siblings, and of course your own family, which you went on to be a mom yourself. You’ve been married for 20-plus years, right? To your husband Val.

Candace: Yeah, yep.

Jen: And you guys have three kids. You actually—I love talking about this—you actually made a decision in the early childhood years to sort of set your career aside for a while and really just dedicate yourself to being a stay-at-home mom. I just, this is a conversation in a lot of mom circles.

I wonder, first of all, why was that important to you? Like, what went into that decision? And I’m curious what kind of a reaction you got from your peers, from your representatives, people that were working you at your career, your agents, your managers. Did you get pushback? I’m guessing that you did.

And I wonder if you were afraid at all. Like, “If I press the brake right now, I might not ever be able to press the gas again.” Like, “I don’t know if there’s a re-entry point. Hollywood is weird, it is fickle.”

If you could talk us a little bit through that season in your life, and what went into your decisions, and what you were thinking.

Candace: Yeah. Oh, I would love to.

I was married when I was 20 years old. I had my first baby, Natasha, when I was 22. I had just come off one of the most successful television shows in history, virtually, and I’d been working my entire life. I knew that I wanted to raise my children myself, with my husband, and not have a nanny full-time.

But with my husband’s job, he was a professional hockey player. And he’s retired now, but I knew that both of our jobs would be traveling jobs. And I couldn’t just stay in Los Angeles or New York for my job. And with his job being on different teams during the NHL it was a decision of like, “If we actually want to raise our kids ourselves, full time, one of us has to step down.”

I knew, not only as a woman and a mother, but that was important for me to do, me personally, but I also knew that as a professional athlete my husband had a limited window. In a sense, if I could come back to my job, there was always the ability to because, you know, you can still be acting when you’re 100 if you want to.

So I decided to take that break and be a stay-at-home mom. And it was really because I loved how my parents raised me, and it was just important. I wanted to be the primary caretaker of my children.

But it was a really difficult transition, because I’d been working—

Jen: Was it?

Candace: Yeah. My whole life. And to be nonstop, with adults, I was like an adult when I was 15 years old, or 12 years old. And then I went to being full-time mom, changing diapers, making breakfast, lunch and dinner, driving carpool, and it was . . . In the very beginning I was like, “Whoa. This is really hard.”

Jen: Right. “I’ve made a terrible decision.”

Candace: Yeah. And kind of really boring, and how many walks can I take? And how many times could I make meatloaf, and tacos, and make it interesting? I kind of drove myself crazy. And yet, it’s what I wanted to do. But it was a really hard transition, and I had to surrender to motherhood. It took me a few years to do that, and really come to the point where I could feel confident about my decision and in myself.

But the work that I had to do, and my Christian faith impacted it incredibly. I mean, it was everything that changed me into who I am today, as far as walking with the Lord, and walking in my faith, and wanting a relationship with God. It all changed because I made the decision to stay home, which then gave me the time to develop my relationship with God. Because before that I really didn’t have one with Him. I just was a believer, but by word, not by action. It really changed everything for me.

But I still had to realize the work that I had to do was about becoming a child of God and honoring my life before God and not before man. Because all of my value and worth, up until that time, was really wrapped up in who I was as an actress. Because I didn’t know anything else.

So to become a stay at home mom, I wasn’t getting the praise, I wasn’t getting the “well done” at the end of the day, and I felt like I had no value, even though I wanted to raise wonderful kids, and hope that they valued me. But you know, I had to change my whole perspective.

So when I started having that relationship with God, and seeing that like, “Oh, it doesn’t matter what my résumé says. It doesn’t matter how much money I make. It doesn’t matter how many people compliment me. The only thing that is worthy in my whole entire life is to honor God with it, because I’m going to stand before Him when I die, not the world.”

Jen: Wow. I love that, because so many of us who had a career and then decided to stay at home for a season, it’s just so identifiable.

I remember thinking, just when you’re neck-deep in grilled cheese sandwiches, and everybody is crying all the time, and nobody knows how to have a conversation.

I remember just thinking, I’m smart. I went to college. I used to be in charge of things. People used to think I was something. And this is my life. How is this my Monday?

But I love what you’re saying, because it really does strip away a lot of the things we glean value from. And accolades. I don’t know if I’ve heard anybody crystallize it that clearly, that a really beautiful outcropping of that season was faith, and identity.

Did you develop that . . . were you connected to church? Did you have women? How did that begin developing for you in the baby season?

Candace: Well, I wasn’t going to church regularly, but it was in thinking about how I wanted to raise my children, and did I want the faith to be important? Is when I started thinking about it.

So I did find a home church when I had this little babies. We were living in Florida at the time. My husband, at the time, was really the same kind of believer that I was. We just had an understanding of God, and believed that Jesus died for our sins, but it didn’t go beyond that.

So I just pursued it. Once I found a home church, I started going every week. I was going by myself because my husband was on the road most of the time, and I would take the kids with me. Then in my community I started becoming friends with some of the neighbors, and I know God just brought one neighbor over to me, because it was the first time I was really excited about reading my Bible. Because it was literally like the veil was lifted. I started reading my Bible and understanding it for the first time, and it was making an impression on my heart, and it was changing the way I was thinking. It just came to life.

I had met this neighbor, who has really been a mentor for me, and at the time she was in her mid-50s, and I was in my early 20s. When she said, “I see you have two kids,” and I was seven months pregnant with my third, and she said, “I just want to offer you help, and if you need any groceries.” She was from Washington State. I had never met anyone that nice in my life. I grew up in LA. So I totally thought she was weird. I’m like, “People don’t offer to go get groceries for me. So what do you want from me?” That’s what I thought. “What is your endgame?”

Jen: That is hilarious.

Candace: As we started talking, she mentioned something about God, and I just grabbed onto her and I was like, “I just started reading my Bible.”

Jen: That’s so sweet.

Candace: We went into this huge conversation, and I said, “I really want to start a Bible study.”

She said, “Oh, I would love to start a Bible study. I’ve been praying about finding some women in our neighborhood to start a Bible study with.”

So that day started the next nine years of my life, and I had Bible study at my house with anywhere between six and ten other women every single week. And I grew so much in my faith from Bible study.

Jen: That’s so precious.

Candace: Yeah.

Jen: That feels real similar to about the season that I, too, kind of fell in love with God for the first time for my own self, not my parents’ faith, or not some faith that had kind of been handed to me, but in living rooms with other women like that, in a small setting, with just our Bibles on our laps, like, “Gosh, does this have meaning for today, for our lives?” And it did, and it does.

Obviously, your children have appreciated that decision and the amount of love, and energy, and time you’ve built into their lives. I came across a really sweet story recently about your son, who turned 18, right, this year?

Candace: Yes.

Jen: And he wrote you the most lovely letter. Let me just read this little bit of it for our listeners.

He wrote, “Mom, I first just need to say thank you. You have literally put your life down for me. You helped, encouraged, cared for, loved, worked, and have really done everything for me. I would be nowhere near close to where I am today if it wasn’t for you.”

Candace: I have tears in my eyes right now. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone read that out loud.

Jen: My heart. It is so precious. I mean, that’s our goal. That’s #MomGoals, right there. That is what we want.

Candace: I know.

Jen: I just think that is so meaningful. Was that so special to you to hear that from your kid? Because we put a lot of ingredients into the soup pot of parenting, and we stir, and we kind of hope it comes out, but we’re just not sure. We don’t know if it’s going to take.

Candace: Exactly.

Jen: So how lovely to have heard that from him.

Candace: Yeah. It was such an incredible gift for me, on his birthday, for him to have written that card. I cried into his shoulder for at least five minutes.

Jen: I bet you did.

Candace: I just couldn’t. As the words continued to just sink in, I cried harder, and harder, and harder. But you know, it is, it’s what you want to hear as a mom, that all the lessons have sunk in and they get it. I say this without taking anything away from that moment, but say this as encouragement, because I also have two other kids, and I would never expect to get that kind of letter from them, necessarily.

Jen: Yeah. I understand.

Candace: And I don’t doubt that my children love me any less, they’re just different people. And Levv is one that feels comfortable expressing himself that way, and is sensitive that way. But it really was a gift. And my other two kids have incredible traits and will do things in a different way.

I don’t want any mom to ever feel like, “Oh, my gosh, my kid would never do that for me,” and feel like they failed as a mom, because that’s just not true.

Jen: So true. When I was reading that from him, it even struck me in a different way as a mom. I mean, I have five kids, just a zillion, so talk about, they’re all different. I for sure would not get love letters from all of them. So same. Same boat.

But it made me think as a mom of just the power of words. Almost all of us would say how much we love our kids, and how special they are, and what we see in them, and the wonderful things about them, and how much they mean to us. But it is easy to forget to say it. We’re just in the grind of daily life. All of us are. We’re just trying to get to the end of the day half the time, and get this kids just with their feet on the ground.

But as I read that I thought, “It’s powerful to say those things out loud.” Not just necessarily from a kid to a parent, which we would love, but as you mentioned is not some sort of template that we can count on, but as a mom to a kid.

Candace: Absolutely, you’re so right.

Jen: And how much that just impacts them. I just forget to do it. I’m a person who uses words for a living, and yet I forget sometimes to tell them, my very closest beloveds, how precious and special they are to me. So I loved that from your kiddo. Loved it.

Jen: Let’s talk about your new book. You’ve got a brand-new book out, Kind Is the New Classy, which is such a great title. Kind Is the New Classy: the Power of Living Graciously. These are all words that I treasure. These are the building blocks of my entire life is everything you put into that title.

I love something that you said about this concept of being kind and living graciously. You said, “What if we decided to turn the tables on our outrage culture and work toward a kindness culture instead?”

That hit me like a ton of bricks, because you are right. This outrage culture is real, and active, and living, and it feels like we’ve all been given this sort of permission to just take the gloves off and duke it out, say anything we want to anybody who disagrees with us, or that we don’t understand, or be just mean-spirited and natured, all these hot takes all the time, right?

So what do you think—because you’ve just written a whole book on it—what do you think are the steps to diffuse this very polarizing outrage culture and instill some kindness back into our world? Back into our cultural dialogue? That specifically, and then even more so, how do we help our kids not to be led into this very antagonistic way of communicating and be kind instead?

Candace: Yeah. It’s a big task.

Jen: It is a big task.

Candace: I get overwhelmed thinking about it. As wonderful as social media and the internet have been in making a very big world seem very small because it’s connected us all, there’s so many wonderful things from it . . . at the same time, I believe it’s one of the biggest reasons why people feel so emboldened to say whatever they want, because their faces don’t have to be seen.

Jen: That’s right.

Candace: And they can turn off any repercussions from it just by clicking off their computer or their phone. We are all learning this together, because this is new for all of us. And yet, if we as parents are learning it for our children, we’re experiencing at the same time as them, and we don’t quite know how to handle it. It really isn’t going to be until our children are adults that they will probably have a much better sense of how to deal with their children. So we’re kind of the guinea pigs.

I really believe that it’s going to start with us. Because we are our children’s biggest role models. They will mimic what they see at home and in front of them every day. So when we are reacting outrageously, when we are overreacting with our emotions, and we are being snarky on social media, are commenting, they’re going to follow in our footsteps and then do it twice as big, because that’s just what happens.

We as parents really need to understand where we’re at with all of this, and start to change within ourselves so that we can change the culture. And ultimately that’s how our children will model different behavior, of hopefully not follow in the footsteps. It’s going to be tough. But the way I hope that we will change our outrage culture and bring it back to a kindness culture is by thinking of others before we think of ourselves.

It kind of goes back to what I talked about with my mom. My mom always found the opportunity to bless others through whatever we were doing in our lives. We have to know that that’s, when we start thinking about others first, it makes differences. Kindness, it’s a scientifically proven fact, kindness has a ripple effect.

Jen: It does.

Candace: When someone makes you feel good, you’ll be happier and will probably make someone else feel good just by responding in kindness because someone made you feel good before that.

In the same way, negativity breeds negativity.

Jen: That’s right.

Candace: You have an angry person that makes you angry, and you keep passing it along. But just realize we can pass along kindness. When we do something as easy as say, “Hey, have a great day,” or we look someone in the eye and say, “Hey, do you need anything? Can I help you with that?” it makes a difference.

It’s going to just take small steps. I just want to bring the spotlight back on kindness as a reminder to everyone that we all have it within us, and it’s a choice that we get to make every single day.

Jen: I like that. That’s very liberating to think about, turning the tides in small ways. Because it does feel overwhelming when you think about outrage culture in its entirety. But when you can think about it down like that, just in the daily minutiae of life’s interactions, that feels doable. That feels like something we can grab onto, that we can model.

I was thinking about what you were just saying in terms of negativity breeding negativity. And a few months ago I realized that I was just mad all the time. Like, I am angry. I am a furious person. I hate everybody. I’m not even sure I like God anymore. I don’t want to do this work. And I’m like, Wow. I’m slipping off the rails, and I probably ought to get a handle on this.

I realized that I was just listening to so much outrage, and it breeds outrage. I was in this sort of online culture of just so much anger, and so much shouting, and so much sort of mean-spirited jabbing, and it was affecting me. So I sort of went on this major unfollow campaign, just to kind of clear the clutter. It literally made me feel different. Optimism started rebounding, and I started noticing good and wonderful things again.

Everything you’re saying is positively true. I’m curious how, specifically with this internet situation that we’re trying to figure out, that our kids are going to positively do better at than we are, how do you respond to criticism? Like, how do you respond to people who maybe insult you or disparage you or your family? Oh, my gosh.

In other words, how do you deal with this, and what do you see as the difference between being kind and being a pushover? Does that make sense?

Candace: Yeah, absolutely. Sadly, I have pretty thick skin when it comes to criticism online.

Jen: I bet you do.

Candace: Because I get a lot of it. I really learned to just let most of it roll off my back. And it’s really easy just to remind yourself that most people that are angry, and rude, and mean, or bully, it means they’re hurting. They have things going on in their life that have made them that way, and they just want to bring people down with them because there’s so much hurt going on inside of them. So I’ll often remind myself of that.

That then gives me empathy, or compassion to go, Oh, how awful must it be to be them, to be angry. Maybe I can help them and say a kind word to them that nobody does, because they only say mean things, and it’s very easy to give it back.

That’s normally why it’s easy to start saying positive things back, or making more kind and classy comments back, and also it doesn’t fuel the fire. That’s the biggest thing. That’s what I teach my kids. I’m like, “Listen. Take the high road. Kill them with kindness. And if you don’t engage with them, they’ll usually walk away because they’re trying to get a reaction out of you. And if you give it back, they’re going to keep going because they want attention because they’re missing something in their life, and they’re trying to seek it online, even though it’s in a negative way.”

I will just say, I know depending on the age of your kids and also what’s available to you, but my kids, just in their high school years, they’ve all gone to camp over the summer. My kids never went to camp young, but they’ve gone for two weeks and up to four weeks. And they don’t have their cell phones for those two-to-four weeks at camp. They have to drop them off at the front.

I cannot tell you what a difference it makes when they come back from camp without those cell phones.

I mean, my 16-year-old son said to me last summer, he goes, “Mom, not having my phone and not letting anybody have their phones was the best thing that I’ve seen, because we all talked to each other.”

Jen: Totally.

Candace: “We all engaged.” He said, “You know, I realized that I don’t always know how to talk or ask questions to people because everyone just gets on their phone if they’re uncomfortable, or it’s awkward for a silent minute, everyone just gets on their phone.” He goes, “But it forced us all to talk, and it was so great.”

That’s also as parents we have to remind ourselves, we have to teach our children to have face-to-face conversations.

Jen: Oh, my gosh.

Candace: Otherwise it’s not going to get better.

Jen: Isn’t that crazy? In our wildest imaginations, would you ever have thought we’d be sitting here having to tell one another, “We’ve got to teach our kids how to talk to people”?

I mean, the cell phone culture, it has changed us, our whole society, in one generation. It is bananas. You are so right, and that is fabulous advice and good for our minds, and our hearts, and our families, and our relationships. Just freaking unplug sometimes. I’m always telling my kids that. “Be with the ones who are here.” And collecting phones at the dinner table, and just, “We can do it for one hour, you guys.” Oh, my gosh.

Okay. One last question.

Candace: Yes.

Jen: This is a complete aside, but obviously a ton of us are huge Dancing with the Stars fans. And so I think this was a pretty good experience for you, right? You even ended up writing a book about it, because of the lessons and the discipline of the show. Oh, my gosh, such discipline, and competing.

So just give us your one favorite story about the season and why you loved it.

Candace: Oh, goodness.

Jen: It could be a favorite memory, a favorite moment, something that you loved or learned. It’s hard.

Candace: My favorite moment was when they announced that I won third place, because it meant it was over.

Jen: That’s amazing.

Candace: It was the best experience, but man, it was the hardest experience and it took so much courage. I literally, I’m not kidding, wanted to vomit before every live show because I was so nervous, and sick to my stomach, and frightened.

Jen: I believe you.

Candace: But I grew so much, which is why I wrote a book about it. It challenged me like nothing else has in my life, and has made me accept fear a lot easier, in the sense that I’m like, “Oh, I got through that, and it was so scary.”

Now I’m going through my bucket list in life. I’m like, I’m 42, I’ve got a bunch of things I want to do, and I’m going to just start checking them off, because I know even I fail, I can at least say I tried. And I’m not quite as scared to just take the leap of faith.

Jen: That’s amazing. I love that. It actually feels utterly terrifying to do that. To dance, when you’re not a dancer, you don’t have a dance background, and it’s just going to be on national TV, and it’s also a hugely popular show with millions of viewers. No big deal. Oh, my gosh, I love that you went for it.

Okay. These are just the quick, rapid-fire, wrap-up questions here that we’re using to sort of close out the series. Here’s the first one, it’s just the first one that comes to your mind.

Tell us something that your parents used to say to you that you swore you were not going to say to your own kids, but you do.

Candace: “Just wait until you’re a parent.”

Jen: I do see why you say that. Oh, my gosh, it’s so easy to reach for it, all those parent-isms.

Okay. How about this one. Tell us what you would consider one of your biggest parenting fails, one of your not-so-proud moments. And one of your most treasured moments of like, “Ah, I love parenting. This was a good parenting day.”

Candace: Oh.

Jen: I know.

Candace: Oh, that’s hard. Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is having missed some of my kids’ birthdays because I was out of town working. I don’t think I’m ever going to get over that guilt. And for the fact that one of my children reminds me that I’ve missed two of his. Just not to be there on that day. It’s not like I wasn’t there for the birthday party that was on the weekend that followed.

Jen: I know, I hear.

Candace: But that day I had to work. I’ll never get over it.

Jen: Same here.

Candace: And parenting moments, oh, well, obviously you read one of them. That letter from Lev was pretty incredible, and I’ve had some very heartfelt moments with my daughter Natasha that have made me say the same thing, like, “Wow, she’s been listening, and she got it.”

Jen: Love it.

Candace: Yes. We’ve had some of those conversations. I can’t leave my baby Maks out, because the fact that he just will cuddle with me, and lets me hug him, and he’s bigger than my husband. My baby is the biggest in our whole family. Six feet tall, and just like a huge teddy bear. When he just sinks into to me, that, for me, is like the best mom moment ever.

Jen: Totally. It’s too much, it’s too good. You know, most of my kids are teens and I have a 20-year-old. The big kids are amazing, aren’t they?

Candace: Mm-hmm.

Jen: I didn’t know, but now I know, “Oh, I’m a big-kid mom.” That’s what I love. I like them big, and older, and wonderful, and smart.

Okay, last one. We ask every single guest on the podcast this question at the end of every episode. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Barbara Brown Taylor, but she gave us this question in one of her books. And it can be anything. This can be a big answer or a small answer, or it could be serious or it could be silly. It could literally be whatever it is.

So here’s the question: What is saving your life right now?

Candace: That could come from any different aspect.

Jen: It can. Yep. Some people have said Chapstick, so I’m just saying, it can run the gamut.

Candace: I was just about to say microblading has literally saved my life, because to wake up and have to paint eyebrows on every morning, and I don’t have to do that anymore.

Jen: Oh, my gosh.

Candace: I can’t even tell you that I don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago, because it has saved my life.

Jen: Listen, I am not kidding you. I have a tab open on my computer right this minute about microblading. I just, I have to color them in every single day, and they’re disappearing by the minute.

Candace: Yep. Me, too. And I did it, and they’re amazing. You need to run right now to your great microblader and do it.

Jen: From Candace’s mouth. I mean, microblading. Best answer ever.

Listen, I want to thank you so much for coming on today. You just dropped so much wisdom in one hour that I’m going to have to go back and read the transcript just to pick it all up. Thank you for making time for this, thank you for being who you are, thank you for setting such a good example for those of us watching you and following you.

I’m just really proud of who you are and how you’re living your life, your beautiful family.

Thank you so much for investing in my listeners for an hour. I’m telling you, they are going to go bananas for this episode. We’re cheering you on over here, from the For the Love Family, I promise you that.

Candace: Oh, thank you, Jen.

Jen: Absolutely.

Candace: Thank you so much.

Jen: Thanks, Candace.

Candace: Okay. Bye.

Jen: Well, guys, I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. Candace is just very dear. She’s just darling, and delightful, and charming, and wise. I just found that so energizing, that conversation. Anyway, I’m just tickled to death that she joined us on the show.

I’m going to have all the information you need about her new book, about her website, about all the things that she is up to and working on and where. You can find her over on my website at underneath the Podcast tab, where we’ll also have this transcript.

I hope you guys are making good use of the transcript page. It is an amazing resource. Any interview that you’re interested in, that you really like, we’ve got the whole thing written out. We have bonus materials. We have pictures. We have links. We have book icons. Literally, it’s chock-full of stuff for you. My amazing assistant Amanda spends a ton of time putting that resource together for you, and I hope that you are using it.

Thank you guys for listening week in and week out. Thank you for subscribing to this podcast. Also thank you for all your amazing reviews and ratings. Those matter. Those are helpful. Those are so great for podcasts, and I am really grateful that you take the time to do that. Thanks for giving us all these amazing ideas.

By the way, this whole series was requested and suggested by our listeners, For the Love of Parenting, and we have so much more to come. So many parents that you are going to learn from, and love, and enjoy, and identify with. So be sure to come back next week, and we’re going to have another amazing show. Everybody, have a great day and I’ll see you next week.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!


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