I finally got the chance to sit down and relax. The girls were asleep, my husband was working late and my glass of wine was poured. I was about to watch an episode of Fixer Upper and fold my 10th load of laundry for the day and then I hear, “Mom! I need you. Come here mommy,” from my 3-year-old, Juliana, in her toddler bed upstairs. My initial thought was “Ugh! This is my time,” but I decide to embrace her neediness and head upstairs with kindness and love.
She looks up at me and sees me happy and smiling and says, “Mom, you’re so pretty.”
Now, keep in mind, that I was in sweat pants and my hair was in a messy bun and I most likely smelled like a mix of tacos (from making dinner!) and wet dog (yes, Charli, our 10 year-old Westie needed her second bath for the week).
Did I feel pretty?
No way. Not in the least bit.
I was exhausted and needed a shower. Yet, my sweet Juliana thought I was pretty. I said, “Thank you my sweet girl.” I could have easily said, “No way, Mommy is a mess!” but instead I thanked her and smiled.
I had to remember that these moments fly by, yet they are so important and can impact our kids for years to come. My choice of words at that moment were so important. I wanted her to know that my smile and my kindness is what makes me pretty and smart and a great mommy – not my clothes, makeup or any fancy jewelry.
As a mom of two girls, I have a big responsibility. I have to give them a strong foundation to own their looks and feel beautiful in their own skin. I have to show my girls that I love myself and I own this stage of motherhood and I have to show them it is beautiful to be confident. It is beautiful to love the way you look. It is beautiful to be happy in our own skin.
Juliana reached her arms up to me so I would pick her up. She loves to sit in the glider chair in her room and “talk.” I held her in my arms and we “talked” about our day. She sat on my lap and studied my face and my appearance. She asked me many questions like “Mom, why you still up? It night time,” and “Mom, you have long hair. Why?” and “Mom, you no wear makeup today. Why?”
In her eyes, I am perfect – I am just who I am supposed to be. She didn’t care about my messy hair, my dirty gym clothes, my wrinkles around my tired eyes or that fact that I have’t had a haircut in months. She saw her mom who she adores and loves and who she thinks is beautiful.
Moms, let’s chat about how you can show your kids that you are beautiful – inside and out. Here’s what I try to focus on:
Talk positively about yourself. Don’t talk down on yourself. The other day, I was in Marshall’s looking for new school shoes for Madilyn, my 6-year-old. As we walked around and looked, I spotted a mom of two older daughters, probably around the ages of 11 and 13. The mom was looking at a fun, summer dress. She held it up and asked her girls, “Do you think I can pull this off? I am so old. I don’t want to show off my rolls.” Madilyn heard this mom talk down on herself. It broke my heart. Sure, I don’t love everything about my body. Like any mother, I would love a flatter stomach. However, I can chat about this with my husband and my girlfriends. Better yet, I can accept that my stomach is a perfect exchange for my two daughters. Kids don’t need to hear this negative talk. Instead, hold that dress up and say, “I love this! What a fun dress to wear to the beach this summer!”
Practice a healthy lifestyle – with some wiggle room. Showing your kids a healthy lifestyle could be one of your biggest responsibilities as a parent. Get your sleep so you are happy the next day. Practice what you preach when it comes to healthy eating. Show your kids that you love to go to spin class and talk highly about the experience instead of portraying it as a job. Instead of “Ugh, I don’t feel like going to gym today” say, “I am so excited for spin. I feel so great after that class!” As much as a healthy lifestyle is important, it is not healthy when we become obsessed with it. Have that ice cream cone with your kids every once in awhile.
Teach that self-esteem comes from hard work. As parents of young kids, it’s easy to compliment everything that they do. “Good job!” “Nice work!” “You are so pretty!” While, it is nice to give out compliments, doing it too much might actually be detrimental to our kids. We are a culture that puts too much emphasis on the reward. “If you get a good report card, we will go out for ice cream!” Instead of teaching our kids to work hard and achieve their goals – because they want to – we sometimes focus on just getting things done to get the prize. Praise your kids with specifics like “You really tried hard out there getting the soccer ball in the goal” or “Mom and dad are really proud of you for trying so hard on your spelling test.”
Don’t focus on the scale. I hear moms all the time chatting about their weight and calories in front of their young daughters. This can lead to unhealthy practices in kids later in life. Sure, you want to know your weight and work towards your goals, but avoid weighing yourself in front of your kids. If you do, talk about it in a healthy way. Your kids don’t need to carry that burden so be careful how you talk about it.
Smile when you look in the mirror. Sure, you want to look at yourself while you are getting dressed and see how your butt looks in your new jeans! However, sometimes we focus on our “flaws” when we are in front of a mirror and we talk about them in front of our kids. Instead, focus on the things that you love and express that excitement. “Girls, don’t you love mom’s new dress!” or “Girls, I am wearing this dress on my date tonight with daddy!”
Moms, your kids think you are beautiful. Take those compliments they give you and smile.
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