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Three Small Words

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I had been dreading the words since they leaned over at my first ultrasound and said, “It’s a girl.” I had always assumed I would have boys. I am not sure why, but I just felt like I was more cut out for parenting boys. Parenting a daughter made me nervous. They seemed so much more fragile, so much more prone to me screwing them up with all my own “woman” issues.

It has been challenging. I worry we should just start a therapy fund now and be proactive. I want them to grow up strong women who are fearless and without insecurities. I want them to speak their minds and stand up for themselves and have strong convictions. But I also want them to be Godly women who understand what it means to be lady-like and sensitive. I want them to be the me I want to be. No pressure right?

One of my favorite things I was told at Lily’s conferences this year is that she seems so sure of herself and has a great self esteem. She seems to rise above “girl drama” and make friends with everyone. Oh that she could stay this way.

But, I knew it was coming. I had overheard them say things like, “I wish my hair was curlier.” or “Why don’t I have blue eyes like you do? Blue eyes are prettier.” It started earlier than I would have hoped. Four years old seems to young to see yourself as less than perfect. But then I heard the words that devastated me.

“I’m so ugly.”

Lily was seven when she said it. She hated the gap between her front teeth she said. Hated her hair. Wished she was taller. She disliked the things that make her beautiful to me. It killed me.

I have to look at myself. I try so hard to not talk about my own insecurities in front of my girls. But I am sure they have seen me look in the mirror with my brow furrowed picking apart this part or that. I know they have heard me ask their dad if an outfit makes me look fat. And as much as I think I have kept the fact that I am frustrated with this extra ten pounds I am carrying to myself, you never know what little ears are picking up on.

I want to do better. I want to love myself so that they will love themselves. I want them to understand that God cares about what is on the inside not the outside, but everything around them is screaming the opposite. We have frankly sheltered her from a lot of media. But I know we can’t do that forever. And as she continues to grow up I can only pray God helps me guide her. And maybe guide my view of beauty in the process.

Comments

  1. Girls are inundated with this stuff from everywhere. My 4yo recently told me that she wanted to wear makeup because she wanted to be pretty – she wasn’t pretty without makeup. I know she doesn’t get that from me (I rarely wear makeup) but I know she got that idea somewhere. Children are sponges, and they pick up way more than we realize.

    Not much point to my comment, other than to commiserate and sigh.
    Jeni recently posted…WFMW- Baby Steps toward OrganizationMy Profile

  2. Oh, Jill, this brought tears to my eyes. My 3 year old {3!!} stopped me dead in my tracks at the store the other day when she said “Mama, I don’t feel pretty in this outfit.” Oh, how many times I have uttered those words not thinking that she was listening. Broke my heart. After that I made a vow to stop saying bad things about my body, especially in front of my daughters.
    Sarah recently posted…The Day a Mouse Drove Me CrazyMy Profile

  3. I can so relate to what you said..I have four daughters…all but one of them is fully grown…whatever that means..I too worried about my daughters hearing me worry about my weight and things like that when they were growing up…so I didn’t…now I realize I really just let myself go…I should have been teaching them about being healthy…guess I will try to teach my grand daughters some day
    Dianne recently posted…We’re Moving!My Profile

  4. Mr. Diaper Diaries says:

    You’re the best role model a girl (or two!) could ask for…they’re VERY blessed!

  5. OMGosh, I SO thought the same thing when I was pregnant with my second child- my daughter. My first was a boy, and somehow, for some strange ‘intuitive’ feeling (so I thought), I thought I was destined to be a mom of all boys. Maybe it was my husband’s “brainwashing” over the years – convinced we would have “three boys”, I don’t know. (Ha!) I had just gotten in a groove with our son and it seemed right, and girls just seemed ‘intimidating’ for some reason, like you said. So I felt that same strange feeling (and honestly took me a couple of weeks to get over!) at the ultrasound, especially since it made me feel so ‘wrong’ intuitively. That can really throw you to doubt your deepest ‘knower’. But now, at 3, she is the abolute joy of my life and I can’t imagine life without her in it. But she’s at that age that she is starting to become really aware of & influenced by her surroundings, and having to catch myself in my own negative self-talk and what she watches on tv. Gosh our kids teach us as much or more about life and God’s unconditional love as we teach them, don’t ya know it!
    Kristi recently posted…Multitude MondayMy Profile

  6. As a mom to a nearly 4 year old and 16 month old girls I often think how I will help them have the confidence in themselves. From the moment the media reaches them, or their friends, or the mirrors or misperception, they’ll start to see a standard and wonder how they measure up. While we can feel fiercely protective, we all know how vulnerable girls can be, and it leaves much for us to consider. I try not to mention how I look or how something fits. I try to limit the media coming in to our house. I try to share compliments around their actions, not their looks. I also try to limit my comments on celebrities or other women I see.

    Interesting that your tweet asked for other Mom perspectives. Since having 2 girls, my DH has become so much more aware of the images and challenges facing women.

    On the lighter side, I like the idea of starting a therapy fund. However, I just plan to take them to lunch when they turn 18, make a blanket apology for whatever we messed up and offer to pay for 6 months of therapy. Then they’re on their own. :-)

  7. I don’t ever remember being terribly conscious of the way I looked at the young age my daughter is ..6…she worries about her hair, her skin and if she is fat.
    This KILLS me.

    Media has done this..the TOYS have done this ….

    I keep teaching her to be strong and confident in herself and not ever to worry…..but ….

    Yeah…

  8. This is a very good reminder to be the kind of person you want your children to be. I am going to try to be more aware of what I am thinking and saying about myself.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted…Heirloom Wooden Toys Giveaway and ReviewMy Profile

  9. You say what we all are feeling. I try every day to let my daughter know I love her and she is pretty, but I know the day is coming when she will feel insecure about her looks. I dread it. Already she tells me sometimes she “looks like a boy” if she doesn’t think her outfit is pretty. And she is only 3.
    Christina recently posted…Mommy Needs Date NightMy Profile

  10. Alissa Case says:

    Heartbreaking! It’s so frustrating how young Satan gets a hold of their self-worth. And really, think of all the times that someone has complimented you and you didn’t really believe it. Now think of one time someone said something negative about you and how easily you believed it as truth. Why does it have to be that we give so much more power to the negative than to the positive? Uhg! Frustrating!

  11. Miranda says:

    My daughter is still quite young but I’m hoping with all my heart that she has a great self-esteem. All that I can do is set a good example and pray, pray, pray!
    Miranda recently posted…Today Im ThankfulMy Profile

  12. Oh… it’s so scary, isn’t it? My daughter (she’s 9) and all of her friends (I’m their girl scout leader so I hear this stuff a lot) have all started to judge each other based on appearances. I’ve heard my little girl tell me she feels fat and heard her wonder about calories…. and it’s killing me. She’s absolutely perfectly healthy and not even close to “fat” but even if she was… it would still kill me. And all of her friends are beautiful little girls, too… but they pick themselves apart.

    There is so much pressure on girls to look a certain way…
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  13. It IS challenging mothering girls! But the things you’re endeavoring to convey to them, to instill inside their hearts, undoubtedly shall take root and grow. Take comfort in that!
    Lisa Bergren recently posted…I Am Number FourMy Profile

  14. Phoebe says:

    It’s hard, isn’t it? I have 4 girls, as you know, and we decided we HAD to be purposeful about this very subject. So, long ago, we made a few decisions that are totally not popular in today’s culture, but we decided it was worth being different for the sake of our precious daughters. We decided to not let them watch TV. The media is crazy. The social pressures are huge. Now, my kids do watch some TV here and there, but very, very little and we are extremely selective about what they watch. We talk about modesty, and how God made us beautiful just the way we are. (The girls even wonder why the boobs on the Disney princesses are showing and it upsets them ;) ) I purposely don’t color my hair, wear a lot of make-up or spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, because I don’t want to set up a double standard for my kids. I want them to love themselves just how they are, and in my own mind, I don’t feel I can tell them that if I’m changing my appearance because *I* don’t like the way *I* look. Over here we eat healthy because it’s the best thing for our bodies and we exercise for the same reason. It’s not to lose weight. I don’t shop a lot or try to keep up with the latest and greatest of everything. We make sure there isn’t a big emphasis on what we wear. We are minimalists. And as you also know, our kids are home. It sounds like quite the boring life. YET, we are not bored. We are not wrapped up in the pressures of the world. We have a lot of family time where we read, play games or just plain ‘ol PLAY, and with a couple of exceptions for Bible Studies and music, we are home as a family at night. There is no doubt in my mind that the media pictures and print will invade their minds at some point in their lives and they will have to deal with it, but for now, we’re trying our hardest, with God’s guidance and help to keep them pure, innocent and with a secure foundation of who they are in Christ. It’s hard to combat something while you’re in the midst of it, so we thought we’d try our best to remove the enemy and prepare them to deal with it/him before they find themselves in the midst of it. I know our thoughts are not common or widely accepted, but it’s where God has us right now and we continue to choose to obey :)

  15. As a mom to 2 girls I’ve been very very aware of what I project about my body. The thing that kills me is when outside influences start to creep in. My son (1st grader) came home and told me that a 3rd grader in the neighborhood broke up with his girlfriend because she was “too chubby.” (I won’t even go into how sick I am that a 3rd grader even has a girlfriend) My poor son got an earful from me about how awful that is and it’s the heart that counts. I know that I can’t totally shield my kids, but hearing something like that come from a 3rd grader just blew my mind. It’s just so sad- totally bummed me out.
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