My Daughter Does Not Care, So Why Should I?

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Image: subnet24

My daughter doesn’t care if I take a shower every day.

My daughter doesn’t notice if my curly hair is a crazy mess or if every hair is in place.

My daughter doesn’t mind if my eyebrows need shaping.

My daughter doesn’t care if I am 10 pounds, 15 pounds, or 20 pounds more than I would like to be.

My daughter doesn’t care if my belly jiggles or that there is extra padding on my hips.

My daughter doesn’t worry about whether or not my legs are shaved.

My daughter doesn’t care about the clothes that I wear.

My daughter doesn’t mind if I leave the house without makeup.

My daughter doesn’t notice if my hair needs to be washed.

My daughter doesn’t care that my skin is a little pale.

My daughter doesn’t see the scar above my lip.

My daughter is oblivious to the stretch marks around my belly button.

My daughter doesn’t care about an occasional blemish on my face.

My daughter doesn’t worry about the fact that I am in my mid-thirties and wish that I still looked like I did in my twenties.

My daughter doesn’t care, notice, or worry about all of these things and more.  So why should I?


makeup My Daughter Does Not Care, So Why Should I? progressive parenting parenting feminism  self image

Image: Fort Worth Squatch

 

Looking beyond appearances

It does not matter where you live, what country you are from, what culture you embrace. If you are a woman, there will be some sort of standard placed upon you that determines whether or not you see yourself as beautiful or feel outwardly beautiful. Women have been doing things to our body for centuries in an effort to be more physically appealing. But to and for whom? Surely not for ourselves. I mean, what woman wants to spend hours of her day doing things to her body in order to make herself “presentable” and beautiful?

I will admit, I feel better when I take a shower every day and when my hair is washed. But am I any more beautiful when I do? I hate having unshaved legs. But do my legs, in their most natural state make me any less of a person? I am constantly poking at my pot belly and squeezing the fat on my hips, wishing that my 20 year old body would magically return. Yes, I will leave the house without makeup but I feel like everyone is staring at me, making a mental note of how unattractive I am and can’t I “get myself together.”

This is all such a shame. I am trying to instill in my daughter a positive self-image. I want her to love herself and love others for what is on the inside, for what they offer the world, and not what they look like externally. I want her to be color blind. I want her to look past the warts, the winkles, and the scars we all have. And yet, I am making her very aware of mine.

My daughter recently turned two but I catch her turning sideways and looking in the mirror, sucking in her belly and pinching her waist. My sweet, innocent toddler pretends to shave her legs and sometimes mine. My baby girl with her dazzling smile and twinkling eyes loves to pretend to put on makeup. My pure hearted angel looks at her reflection after I arrange her curly locks into a ponytail and says “pretty.”

 

What can we do?

Mother and fathers too, PLEASE consider how your actions and reactions to your physical, outward appearance are affecting your children. That poke to your belly is being noticed and filed away. The complaining about your crazy hair is being soaked in. Scrutinizing every wrinkle and grey hair is sending a message that aging is to be avoided.

Our jobs as parents are to help our children to love themselves and to develop healthy self-esteem. Yes, the reality is that they will be faced with the value society has placed on external beauty but instead of feeding into this, why not help our children cope with the pressures placed on them and help them to rise above what “society” dictates? Children who are blessed enough to have two or more ethnicities running through their veins have enough to deal with and learn to move beyond. Why encourage them to focus on their outward “flaws” by becoming overly engaged with our own?

It is time to unite together as women, as mothers, to set an example for our children. It does not matter what country we are living in and what the beauty standards are. We need to show our children, especially our daughters that they have value because of who they are as people and not because of what they look like. We need to model confidence and a healthy self-esteem. We need to encourage our children to ignore the reflection in the mirror and listen to what comes from their heart. Soul is more important than body. Soul is what will move this country past its ills. Beauty, however you define it, will not.

 

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

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Jennifer Saleem

Jennifer, author of Hybrid Rasta Mama, is a former government recruiter turned stay-at-home mama to a precious daughter (“Tiny”) brought earthside in early 2009. She is passionate about conscious parenting, natural living, holistic health/wellness, real foods, and a Waldorf inspired approach to education. Jennifer is committed to breastfeeding (especially extended breastfeeding), bed-sharing, cloth diapering, green living, babywearing, peaceful parenting, playful parenting, and getting children outside. She is a hybrid parent, taking a little of this, throwing in a little of that, and blending it all together to create a parenting style that is centered on what her daughter needs in order to flourish as a human being. Jennifer also lives and breathes reggae music, the Rastafarian culture and way of life. Reggae music and its message touches her soul.






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Comments

  1. says

    Jennifer, this is so completely awesome!  I love this post and your take on raising a daughter with healthy self-esteem.  It’s not easy!  I struggle with this too.  It’s hard to find that balance between what matters to you and what matters to everyone else, but I think that ultimately, it’s so important to let our daughters know where real beauty lies…the example starts with us.  ♥

  2. says

    Jennifer, this is so completely awesome!  I love this post and your take on raising a daughter with healthy self-esteem.  It’s not easy!  I struggle with this too.  It’s hard to find that balance between what matters to you and what matters to everyone else, but I think that ultimately, it’s so important to let our daughters know where real beauty lies…the example starts with us.  ♥

  3. says

    Jennifer, this is so completely awesome!  I love this post and your take on raising a daughter with healthy self-esteem.  It's not easy!  I struggle with this too.  It's hard to find that balance between what matters to you and what matters to everyone else, but I think that ultimately, it's so important to let our daughters know where real beauty lies…the example starts with us.  ♥

  4. says

    I love this, Jennifer! And it goes so well with Laila’s post about soulmates. That must be why we are all here: we see spirits and souls for their beauty, looking more than skin deep to find love. It has gotten harder to set an example for my daughters as they get older. They are more influenced by their peers at school, and it is difficult. You have inspired me to keep fighting to help my girls maintain a positive self-image, no matter what!

  5. says

    I love this, Jennifer! And it goes so well with Laila's post about soulmates. That must be why we are all here: we see spirits and souls for their beauty, looking more than skin deep to find love. It has gotten harder to set an example for my daughters as they get older. They are more influenced by their peers at school, and it is difficult. You have inspired me to keep fighting to help my girls maintain a positive self-image, no matter what!

  6. says

    What a wonderful post Jennifer! My mother obsessed every single day about what she looked like and what everyone thought about what she looked liked. Her mother always told her that she wouldn't find a man, that if she did, she needed to look good or else she would lose him. Later in life, she fought with me everyday of my pre-teen and teenage life to be thin, dress pretty, put make up on. I rebelled against this. Either way, her looks didn't help her much when she passed away at 40. When she died people didn't comment so much on how good she always looked, but rather on what a great person she was. I wonder if she would've lived a happier and more fulfilling life (as short as it was) if she would've jumped in the ocean, rather than holding back b/c she didn't want to mess up her hair!

  7. says

    I am so glad you addressed this!  It is crazy but kids learn at a young age to either love or hate themselves by just watching us.  I make it a point to say I am pretty and I look nice about myself because my little girl does everything I do and wants to be like me.  Now when she is 16 she will want to be the exact opposite of that but by then I would have instilled the "I am beautiful take it or leave it" attitude into her mind.  I had one surgery to save my life when I was 9 years old and I proudly flaunt that scare every summer when wearing my bikini, this is me just the way God made me.  I may not age perfectly but all I want to do is keep aging and watching my beautiful little girl grow. 

  8. Dania Santana says

    You are so right Jennifer! If we want to teach our daughters to love themselves as they are we need to portrait that self-confidence ourselves. As women it's hard to ignore beauty (or what it's supposed to mean for us) because everyone out there cares about it. I am not a "girly girl", I've never been. For a Dominican woman, and trust me, Dominicans work it, I am considered a hippie (or "americanized") who wears her curls instead of my straight hair and rarely wears makeup. And yet, I am self-concious about my body and my appearance and I'm aware I need to get it together before my toddler starts catching up on that. Thanks for this post!

  9. Joshua Fawcett says

    Doing things to yourself is like putting a veil over your body to me honestly, and it isn't what you actually look like. It's worse because today most of the pictures that make it to the front page of magazines aren't the original pictures that the photographer took, but extremely photoshopped versions of them, but you don't notice that when you see it, so you try to replicate something that is impossible and unnatural.

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