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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Our Message to Our Daughters

Occasionally, I suffer from a mild case of the "If-onlys."
If only I was 20 lbs lighter.
If only my skin was more even.
If only my smile wasn't crooked.
I could go on, but you get the picture. While there are many problems with a case of the If-onlys, I propose that this self-ridiculing behavior is contagious and, more importantly, learned...by little girls who need to be sent a more positive message.

I so vividly remember a pre-teen me, Saturday shopping with my mom, sitting in the dressing room on a little triangle bench attached to the wall at McAlpin's, turning my head so I could see 700 of myself in the three way mirrors, listening to her talk about how she looked in the clothes she was trying on. She was just being honest. Some clothes looked good, some did not. Some made her legs look skinny, some did not. She did what so many of us do...talk about ourselves in front of our daughters. She wasn't setting out to send subliminal messages to me. Of course not. But what I heard as an impressionable girl, shaped the way I would feel about myself. After all, if she didn't like something because it made her hips look big, then the message to me was: big hips should be avoided at all costs (Unless your pushing out a 9 lb. baby and then they come in handy. Just sayin'.)

They were subtle messages that all of us (I don't want my mom to think I'm singling her out) send to our daughters whenever we critique our appearance. Whether it be in a dressing room, the bathroom, or as we walk into an event...when we criticize, our girls listen. Over time, they start to hear a message that we are not intending to send.

I can't say I do the best job, but I can say I am extremely aware of what I say about myself in front of my daughters. As I get ready in the bathroom, change clothes, and my little ones are playing in my make-up, instead of saying how disappointed I am with this or that, I try to say something positive. The other day, Gabriella said, "Mommy, your tummy is going down," to which I replied, "Yeah girl! It's lookin' good isn't it?!" True story. Under my breath I was saying something else, but on the outside, at least to an impressionable 6 year old, I was loving everything about me. Hands in the air, like I just don't care. Everything flippin' and flappin'. You would have thought I was God's gift.

Wait a minute. I am, aren't I? Aren't we all?

Ultimately, I feel like it's a two part process. Part 1- Fake it 'til you make it. Part 2- Make it. I'm still in Part 1. I'm faking it. I'm cognizant of what I say and how I am not in a place where I believe it. However, Part 2 has to be on the horizon, right? I will make it (aka- believe it) one day...

What I am asking of other fabulous mommies, though, is to make it to Part 1. Make a promise to yourself (and your beautiful girls) that you won't chastise your appearance. You won't talk about your weight, your skin tone, your hair, your nose, your smile, your anything...unless it is how amazing you are, how wonderfully made you are and how God chose that especially crooked nose just for your beautiful face. We owe it to our daughters. They will hear enough messages from society, but you know what? I don't believe that there are any little ladies out there that aren't soaking up the messages the number one women in their lives are sending. We have a responsibility to counteract the jacked up messages our daughters get from so many other sources. The good thing is, there is power in the mommy message and it's kind of a big deal. #mommypower

Thank you, God, for each and every mommy out there and her gorgeousness! Let us believe how truly fabulous we are and share it with our daughters so they may realize their beauty, as well.

Love, Mary

Sunday, March 20, 2016

It Feels Good to Be Back

I could spend some time catching you up on why my last post was almost two years ago to the date, but I can sum it up quite quickly: life has been busy and I've been living it, soaking in every moment and I guess I just lost track of time.Whoops! But recently, I've been thinking about this old blog more and more and it seemed like it was time to come back. Enough about that, let's get to the point of the post...

I'm not a Super Mom. I don't claim to be. I'm not trying to be #1 at everything, or even #4,572, and frankly, I've never looked good in blue and red spandex. I think as the girls get more involved in school and activities, I have a chance to be around more and more moms. Through these conversations, I get the feeling that us moms have a bad habit of beating ourselves up for not being perfect at everything.

Clothes don't match. Gasp!
Children drank sugary kool-aid. Shock!
McDonalds was served on more than one occasion this week. Oh no!
Bought a birthday cake from Walmart. Lord, help us!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a group text in which a friend was asking us how often we bathed our children. As a busy mom of three, she was having a hard time getting in three baths a night. I can't remember what I did respond, but what I didn't respond was this: We don't bathe our kids every day. In fact sometimes, it's several days in between. If we bathed 4 children every night, we'd spend most of our time together in a bath tub getting clean. Instead, I'd rather spend time doing other things together, even it means maybe behind our children's ears gets a little dirty. Sorry. That's just the way it is (not to mention they make baby wipes for this very reason, right?!).

If I were obsessed with being Super Mom, this would bother me, but it doesn't. I think one of the most important things we can do as moms is to pick what we want to be good at. Prioritize. I can handle not being good at cooking creative healthy meals every night of the week. I can handle not being good at giving daily baths. What I can't handle not being good at is teaching my children how to be good siblings, so they have a seal tight bond to carry them through life. What I can't handle not being good at is laughing and dancing and kissing my hottie hubby in front of my children so they see what a strong marriage looks like. So, if certain things fall by the wayside, I'm ok with that. I'm good with not being good at everything as long as I'm getting better at the stuff that matters.

It feels good to be back!

Love, Mary