The best compliment I have received lately is that I look like I’m 27. The reality is I’m 31. Now I’m one who believes that age is just a number, but it is always nice to hear nice things about one’s appearance, especially when one is a tired mom of 2 under 2. What is not so nice is to hear your toddler saying “ew” when looking at a picture of herself. You see, a few weeks ago I caught my toddler with my cellphone. My children are really not allowed screen time, so imagine my surprise when my daughter not only took my cellphone, but unlocked it, and opened up the picture app. I caught her flipping through pictures of herself and saying “ew” to each one.
Readers, it hurt my heart.
Where was my daughter learning to hate pictures of herself? We are constantly telling her she is smart and beautiful, and strangers are echoing the same sentiment. As I kept asking myself this question over the next few days, the reality struck me in the face. Literally. I dropped my phone on my face. I was looking at a group picture of my self and I found my self saying “ew” at my own image. Does this ever happen to you? You feel great about yourself, you are having a wonderful time at an event, and someone will snap a picture of you. You’ll look at it hours later and say things like, “Ew look at my thighs. Look at my eyes. What is wrong with my arms?” Moms this kind of self talk is not ok.
I know I’m not the only one to engage in this negative self talk in front of impressionable young girls. Years ago when I worked in radio, I had an employee who used to say horrible things about herself in front of her daughter. At the time I was single (and to be honest a little self-righteous) and I said to her, “You shouldn’t say those things in front of your daughter. It sets a bad example.” Yet here I am two pregnancies later being just as negative in front of my own kids! That is not a legacy I want to pass down to my own daughter.
So let’s do a self-check up Mamas. In the past week have you:
- Looked in the mirror and said something negative about your self
- Looked at a photo and made disparaging comments about your appearance
- Told someone how xyz is your worst feature
If you’ve done any of the above, I want to encourage you to be kinder to your self. How we speak to ourselves matter. Even if there are things we can do to improve our appearance we still have to set a good example. There is someone watching you who thinks that you are amazing, brave and I daresay powerful as a lioness. Will you choose to believe this and see your beauty? Our daughters are counting on us to teach them how to view themselves.
My mom often told us girls that we should look in the mirror each day and find 5 things we liked about our selves. If you are having a hard time seeing anything except your flaws try this. Go ahead and grab a mirror. Look for those 5 beautiful things. It might seem superficial, but the truth is, the world is waiting and ready to tell our daughters they are not enough as they are. That they are lacking that special “it” factor. If we aren’t careful to teach them not to say “ew” about themselves, the world will try to sell them a product to fix the “ew”. Let’s be a good example. Let’s teach our children they are enough. They are not “ew.”