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.