How important is it for you, as a mother, to instill in your daughter that they are beautiful, confident, and smart? How important is it for them to love themselves “as is” and that their “as is” is more than enough and beautiful?
In this world, especially in this day and time with the influence of the media all around us and “living in a man’s world”, the mirror is our most dependable ally. How we see ourselves, as women, is invaluable. We need to be confident, knowing that we are beautiful while demonstrating that we are capable of a high level of intelligence. Being a mother of two daughters, I must show them how important these attributes are.
We are in a world where we are taught to know our place, look like this, speak when we are told to, and let a man be THE man. I am not sure who made these rules, but the way that my genes are set up (anyone who knows those Merchant women), we are and will be our own person and we move to the beat of our own drum. I have young daughters (4 and 1), so I have time to help them grow and develop as well as learn while teaching them. The importance of knowing your inner beauty is very important because it can affect your confidence.
After birthing children, your body goes through the works! I am an athlete. Before children, staying in shape came easy. People look at me now and still believe that this is the case for me, but it is not. I have been diagnosed with a condition called “Diastasis Recti”; which is abdominal separation I suffered from having children so I have to work hard to get back to the shape I was in before having children. My stomach does not meet my standards, but I embrace it and so does my husband.
My work ethic let’s my daughters see that no matter what, you have to continue to work. Yes, some days I lack confidence and in some areas I do not regard myself as beautiful, but I never hang my head low. Children see everything and feed off of our energy, so I keep my head held high. We teach them that beauty comes from the inside. Being nice, caring, and treating others the way you want to be treated will show how beautiful of a person you are.
This is our 4 year olds’ first year of school; which is huge for her. My husband and I are very “chill” parents and while we do not treat our children like we are “friends”, we do let them know that they can tell or ask us anything. For example, during our 4 year olds’ spirit week at school, there was “mix match” day. I dressed her in non-matching clothes (which half of those children do everyday) and she did not understand why she was going to school mix matched! She was so sad and said “Ms. Tiffany won’t like this”. I was shocked that a 4 year old cared about what someone else thought about her outfit, but I explained to her that it was mix match day so everybody will be dressed like this and (in my head I said) if they do not pay your bills, who cares if someone likes what you are wearing. (I’ll save that for when she gets older!) When we arrived at school her teacher loved her outfit and she was so happy that mommy was not just sending her to school looking crazy.
There have been times at daycare where someone has called her a name and I let her know that if you do not fit that description, then ignore them. As my grandmother use to say “You are what you answer to” and if someone calls you ugly, it does not matter. It is important that you know you are not ugly. If you are confident, YOU know that you are not ugly. No child of God is ugly, because we are all made in His image.
Intelligence is another important aspect for women. As I previously stated, in this world we are told to stay in our place. What place is that exactly? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so we have to make it count. If you are smart and savvy, you can do whatever you want to do. There are no limits to what you set your mind to. Whenever our daughters do something great or accomplish something, we make sure we give them praise; especially me. One thing we try not to do is push anything on our kids that they do not want to do (other than eating vegetables or not talking in their outdoor voice during prayer at church). We encourage them to stay engaged in a variety of activities while helping to build their confidence. Therefore, we let them stay engaged in activities where they excel.
Summarizing everything I have stated, it is important that our daughters know that their “as is” is as good as it gets! I want to be their role model and show them that what mommy does is what’s best for mommy and the family. Mommy’s hair is natural so your hair is natural. Mommy and daddy are athletic and love to stay active, so they will be active. Everything we do is conducive to our lifestyles and we want nothing but the best for them. My husband says it all the time. “There is only one you!” We know they do not understand right now and they appear to be ignoring us, but they hear us and it will click in their head one day. God made each and every one of us different and even though our children are young, we see differences in each of their personalities and it is amazing. We love them all individually as they are. We let them know that every chance we get. We constantly tell them “Who you are is more than enough. You are beautiful, smart, and it is best that you be as confident as we are about you. You will definitely go places!”