Skin like Teflon: Living with a Nonstick Surface

An incredibly wise and dear friend once made the following analogy when I was describing an encounter with my own family member which left me deeply hurt. She said, ‘Teflon baby. You must have skin like Teflon.’ This profound statement has stuck with me over the years. Beyond everyday encounters and ups and downs of relationships, I have also adapted this motto to parenting.

Nonstick surface with a very loving heart

At first read, this may sound a bit harsh as Teflon is a tough chemical most commonly used to coat the surface of cooking ware. We all know the ease of cooking with nonstick pots and pans. Have you ever baked lasagna in a glass dish? Remember how difficult it was to clean that dish? Glass is not coated with Teflon. Now think of the last time you were deeply hurt and let someone’s words or actions penetrate to your core. Having a Teflon mentality means letting those words and actions roll off and not penetrate. To go a little deeper, skin like Teflon means making a choice on what and who you allow to affect your mood. We will inevitably face criticism, judgment, and uncomfortable situations; however, we can carry on without getting beat down when our skin is like Teflon.

For me, adopting a Teflon mentality has allowed more room for love. Instead of harboring resentment, anger, and bitterness over every interaction which does not go as I think it should, I choose to let some things roll right off. Of course, this is much easier to do with little things. In today’s society of opinions, news, disagreements, and social media, we have to find a way to not be moved or shaken. Adopting skin like Teflon helps to keep a smile on my face and love in my heart.

Teflon parenting

I am a proud and grateful mother to three beautiful daughters ages 14, 9, and 3. From teenager to toddler, on any given day there is a range of emotions running wild in my home. For those who have not yet reached the teenage years, they can be somewhat dramatic. For me, Teflon parenting means letting all the raging feelings of my children roll off and not bleed into MY mood and feelings. Now there are certain situations where this is impossible. We hurt when our children are hurting; however, I am referring to the everyday ups and downs. I am invited to the party, I am not invited to the party; I love the sports team, I am frustrated with the sports team; You are the best mom, You are the worst mom, my sister is not sharing, it is not fair, and the list goes on and on. These are all Teflon situations. With children, moods change quickly! However, as a Teflon mom, my mood can remain calm and stable.

Have you ever been given unsolicited parenting advice or been criticized by your own children? These are perfect examples of where Teflon skin can be useful. Imagine those words and opinions rolling off of you. Imagine yourself as the frying pan and the words as the egg! If this sounds completely impossible to you, I challenge you to give it a try with a few little things. Soon, you may notice living with a nonstick surface helps make the days a little brighter and your mood a little better.

Ashley Gravois
Ashley is originally from Thibodaux, La. She moved to Baton Rouge in 2005 to attend graduate school at LSU where she received a master’s degree in social work. She has been married to her wonderful husband, Taylor, for 15 years and they have 3 daughters Raegan (14), Julia (8) and Sadie (2 going on 20). Ashley worked as a social worker in the medical field for 10 years before taking a break to be a stay at home mom. Life took a very unexpected turn when her husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2019 which fueled her passion for rare disease awareness. She is co-founder of the non-profit Garage 10 which provides financial assistance to individuals with rare diseases. Ashley loves family, faith, friends, date nights, coffee creamer, exercising and quiet moments amongst the business of life.


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