LuLu asked me if she could begin ballet classes. This made me recall an incident in a coffee shop years ago where I overheard some mothers talking in front of their daughters about ballet photos.
One mother warned the other, “Make sure you pay the extra $10 to airbrush your daughter’s fly-away hair and skin. I did my daughter’s last year, and they came out amazing.”
It surprised me to hear this, although I know that in the “real world” women are hard on themselves. It’s hard not to be, with the impossible standards women have to deal with, in magazines, on tv, in the countless number of self-help books saying we must be more perfect. But overhearing this conversation made me realize that these standards are now trickling down to our children at younger and younger ages.
So, I started to think about the pressures my Lu will be introduced to, very soon. I’ve always known that it’s my job to give her a good, solid foundation of confidence and self-love from the inside-out. And now, more than ever, with her mentioning ballet classes, it’s hitting home.
After all, I love every bit of her, and so should she. Even with my Lu’s wild mane of curly locks, fly-aways galore, I couldn’t imagine even wanting to airbrush them out. Honestly, aren’t those the things we look back on with a smile?
I distinctly remember my first ballet photo. My hair was a bit of a mess and I didn’t wear a drop of make-up. My mother was in the hospital, and she was the only one I would allow to do my make-up. “No mommy, no make-up!” I said. I adored my mother, and still do.
But loving our daughters is not enough. They have to see us love ourselves. Parenting happens best when we are “being” not “telling”, “doing” not “saying”. Experience is the greatest teacher. So, if I am to stay true to setting a solid self-love foundation, I must always practice self-love. I must continue to be confident and strong. My daughter must not hear or see me pick apart myself, and in order to do that, I must simply not pick myself apart. I must love myself as I am.
This is my promise, my pledge to my little girl entering the world and my Little Man who is still only 2- but time travels fast and soon he will be, too. Here are some of the things I must do to keep this pledge, that will teach both Lu and the Man to love themselves and be the person they were each born to be.
Take Care of Myself
Moms need self-care, too. This means eating well, moving our bodies, taking time for little indulgences (even as simple as a long, hot bath). I work with thousands of women, most of whom do everything for everyone else, and find very little time to practice self-care. Our self-worth is molded from the day we are born. Daughters soon become mothers. If we’re constantly told we’re not good enough the way we are, then we naturally begin to feel unworthy, and take less care of ourselves, and this trickles to everyone else in our lives. But if we feel fabulous, it helps everyone in the family feel fabulous. I will take care of myself so I can be the best mom and example to my children.
Put People Above Things
Success in my life means much more than a career or financial gains. Much of how I measure success is by love- how much I can give and receive. It’s really all there is (who said that, Lennon?) But, when we give of ourselves, we actually are giving more to ourselves. We giveourselves a richness in spirit, a feeling of self-love and value. This leads to abundance in all areas of our lives. I want my children to be givers, to give to the world, to value our family and friendships and strangers on the street. To teach them this, I will put people first above the material things. I will help others, lend a hand, an ear, spare change, or time. I will communicate. I will connect.
Love the Flaws: Mine, Theirs, Everyone’s
Home should be a safe place, where we can let our hair down, wash off our makeup, and just be ourselves, embraced for who we are as individuals. After all, our unique beauty is in our flaws- inside and out. I must love mine, I must love my children’s, and I must love everyone’s. If Lu or the Man see me being harsh on myself or others, they will in turn look at themselves harshly.
Live with Passion, Purpose, Intention
When we live with passion, purpose, intention, then confidence just sits comfortably in our heart. There is no “trying” to be confident. We just are. I have a purpose here on this earth. We all do. Sometimes we can get “bogged down” in the burden of finding our purpose. I think it unfolds naturally when we live with passion. Purpose may evolve, change, and even if we don’t know our purpose fully, we can be passionate about life and all its twists and turns. I will live with passion, believe in my purpose, and live with intention. Teaching this to my children is in and of itself one of the greatest gifts I can give them, as my parents gave to me.
Be a Visionary and Follow Through
When we have dreams,visions for our life that we put into motion, our confidence comes naturally from within. I know many times mothers and fathers put their “visions” and dreams on hold to be care takers. But I believe we must still have dreams and visions. I’m not talking about haphazardly chasing a crazy dream. I’m talking about using our natural talents, our unique gifts. So, for me, this means I must take inspired actions and risks, be fearless and believe in our power. I must have faith. I must pray and meditate- both speak to God and listen. This will teach my children that they can dream and achieve anything they want. Just even reaching small goals, creating small changes is a boost in our confidence, so we can reach bigger goals and create bigger changes.
Fail and Make Mistakes and Learn and Try Again
Sometimes failure can be discouraging if we let it stop us. Why must I fail if I want to teach my children self-love and confidence? Because if I fail, and I have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow. When we believe in ourselves enough to try again, self-love is without question. I will teach my children that they can fly. But like a baby bird, they will fall a bunch of times, maybe even break a wing. Then, eventually, with practice, by failing, learning from mistakes, and tenacity…they will soar.