McKenna has been looking at herself in the mirror a lot lately. Not just a little check of her fairy wings or wiggle of a loose tooth but long investigations of her hair, her freckles and the monstrous tooth growing into the space where there once were two.
I sat at the edge of her bath the other day and she asked about the sun and if it would start making her freckles go away or if it would keep making them come out. She explained that her brother doesn’t have freckles and his hair isn’t brown right Mommy? His hair is pretty yellow?
Parker is not plagued with anxiety and is great at sight words and his legs are like two toothpicks with a marble in the middle for a knee. McKenna can shout out long words and has beautiful hair that streaks auburn in the summer and has strong legs that give up on her sometimes.
I want her to love it all. I don’t want her to ask if she can be just like her brother or like anyone really. I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and say “la, la, la, la, la” as she professed the ways she could be different or yell out a panicky “Not yet! You have to love you just like I do for 20 more years at least.”
As I washed her long wavy hair I explained how much I love her freckles and her pink skin and what a good reader she is and how nice it was when she cut up her little brother’s lunch. I talked to her about loving every bit of herself and reminded myself to rinse, wash and repeat this conversation even when I’m not hit in the face with a need for it.
After our bath time discussion we went on with our day. I untagged a picture of myself on Facebook because it magnified my crooked smile, I screwed up dinner and cursed myself for not being a crock pot mom and I envied the perfectly highlighted hair of a woman at the grocery store. My hair never stays the blonde I want, it always turns too golden.
I’m working on the second half of my thirties and I still can’t do what I’ve asked my six year-old to do. I haven’t embraced my crooked smile or the shade my hair refuses to let go of. At school drop off I wish I was on time like the mom already pulling out of the parking lot and at pick up I wish I had the discipline to get to the gym like the mom still in her cute workout gear.
Instead of embracing my quirks I spend all sorts of mental energy trying to change them, hide them and delete them. As the mother of a daughter who is quickly honing her skills at finding her flaws I think it’s time to work on me too. I love every single bit of the little person she is and can’t imagine why she wouldn’t love it all too. Maybe the first step in helping her love her two left feet and adorably quirky ways is to embrace my own.
My plan for the week is to not compare my outfit to anyone else’s and make peace with the fact that I will never have a meal plan and let myself off the hook when I forget my plan because I’m not a planner either. I’m mostly just going to work on liking myself instead of changing myself and showing my daughter how to do the same.
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I think we can all relate to this, but I imagine it’s difficult to recognize so many amazing traits in your daughter and trying to wrap your head around her not seeing all of that, too. Like holding up a mirror.
I love you focusing more on loving yourself. You are such an incredible person–both beautiful inside and out. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. You know what else? That woman in the cute workout gear or the moms who have a Martha Stewart meal prepared each evening? They don’t always have it all figured out either. Just keep doing you, momma. You are perfect just the way you are. XOXO
I love this post! I try so hard not to talk about my flaws or look at myself too critically so my daughter doesn’t pick up on it. Thank you for sharing this.
Lady Jennie says
Yes. Let me try to do that too. Good grief, but it’s unnatural though.
My daughter hated her freckles also, but I was told to tell her they are fairy kisses and she loves fairies, so that helped her not to worry as much and enjoy them xx
what a great reminder to all of us to accept who we are and to encourage our children too as well.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) says
I seeing, once, I think, on a bumper sticker, “be the person your dog thinks you are.”
But I like “love yourself like your mom loves you” better.
I SO WORRY about my daughter loving herself and accepting herself.
Kathy at kissing the frog says
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have to keep reminding myself that all the time when I am looking at the mom in the workout clothes or the one who is on time or calm in the shoe store with her perfectly behaved children. It’s hard to have joy in what we don’t like about ourselves, but the joy certainly makes life better. Your daughter sees you working hard at acceptance, and she will learn that by your example.
julie gardner says
Wow. Talk about a post that makes you think hard and look at yourself hard – but not in that judgmental “I hate the mirror” way.
In the “I can do better” way.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we loved ourselves the way we love our kids?
Or see ourselves through our children’s eyes.
That would be a miracle, indeed.
We must practice what we preach but that is easier said than done! Sounds like you have a great plan in place though,
My 6 year old is very cute and knows it. She is obsessed with people thinking she is cute. Her older sister is beautiful but not cute in the way her sister is. It drives her crazy to hear how cute her sister is, over and over.
I’m pretty sure you’re more put together and beautiful than you realize. And my daughter doesn’t like her freckles either.
I always tell her they’re better than zits.
It’s such a hard thing to do, trying to do of ourselves what we want so badly for them. We have lots of conversations like this, too, because Abbey is much quicker to point out her own “faults” than the things she does well.
I am completely guilty of this – telling my kids to embrace their quirks and differences (both physical and neurological) yet curse myself for the same, sometimes in front of them.
I will take on your challenge this week too to do the same – to not compare and get myself down, but to recognize who I am and work within that.
Thank you for this.