22 September 2014

Why I don't want my girls to be beautiful

"Come here and let me do your hair to make you look pretty" 

No sooner were the words out of my mouth than I stopped short. Why on earth had I said that? Of course my daughter, not yet 2, is pretty, she is beautiful and certainly doesn't need her hair "done" to make her so.





But my knee jerk reaction was to use the illusion of superficial beauty to coax her into letting me put her hair up. Was this what I wanted to instill in her about beauty?
We do it so automatically. We tell little girls that they are pretty and beautiful. When they have a dress on they are more beautiful than when they have play clothes on. We tell them so and their idea of themselves and their identity begins to form.

I never expected that my life would be so filled with girls. I love my girls and can't imagine life without them but I wont deny the fact that early on in both of my pregnancies I was 'sure' that I was carrying a boy. It's not that I cared either way but I just didn't picture having a girl first, and now second in our family. And the more I think about it the more I realize that it falls to me, as a woman, to show them what being a woman really is all about. I'm not just here to mother them. To care for their daily needs and teach them values like being kind, honest, loving... But also to help them navigate what being a woman means in this world and what it can mean. 





My own mom has always been such a strong role model for me. She is strong and resilient. I have never met anyone who works as hard as she does. She really is the glue that holds our family together in good and hard times. I would be doing really well if I could emulate just some of her character to my daughters. But there are things of my own, things of me that I want them to see as well. Some of them are 'big things' and some of them are small. And some of them require a change in me.

I've never had the greatest self esteem. I mean lets be real here, not many people do. I was kind of awkward and while never really all that 'overweight' just a bit 'lumpy'. I still hate when my husband touches my stomach. I slide my eyes away when he calls me beautiful. This is not something I want to pass on to my girls. As I catch my reflection in the mirror, belly still soft and round since giving birth just 6 weeks ago, I will myself to feel beautiful, to not call out my imperfections but to focus on positive aspects. I do this because this is what I want my girls to see; a mother who is comfortable in her own skin, who doesn't put herself down but encourages a healthy and strong body. 





Hazel already recognizes when she is wearing something nice. She literally wanted all. the. shoes at the thrift store just yesterday. It frightens me to raise two girls in this beauty and sex saturated world. 

I have always said that if I had girls that I hoped they wouldn't be beautiful. I hoped they would be just average. It sounds crazy to admit, but now that I have two girls this is still what I wish for them. I think girls who are constantly being told they are beautiful begin to shape their identity on this. But its hard to find the balance between feeling good about yourself and not feeling too good about yourself... know what I mean? How do we encourage our girls to have a healthy body image yet to also not put too much emphasis on appearance? It's tough friends. And the only way to do this that I can think of is just to model it. If they can see that I find my identity not in the clothes I wear or the compliments I receive, that I find it in something, someone Greater, then this is the best gift I can give them. 




I would rather them know their beauty from the inside. To know their worth by their spirit rather than their flesh. So I will strive to model for them what a woman of character is, a woman of true and lasting beauty. I'll put away my insecurities for their sake as well as my own and live in the fullness of who I was created to be, so they in turn can be who they are created to be. 


25 comments:

  1. This was beautiful, Hannah. I love your perspective too :) some thoughts I have thought about also.

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  2. Love this. Such a refreshing perspective!

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  3. thanks Hol... haha you found my blog! :)

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  4. thanks Tawnya! Definitely lots to think about in raising girls in this crazy world! :)

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  5. Hey Hannah! I absolutely loved this. I'm not a mother but I've been thinking about this a lot lately-- what it means to encourage excellence in our children and what that measure of excellence is. I agree that the idea of physical beauty is something that needs to be redeemed in our culture; to be reclaimed for what it really is-- a reflection of God's creative work! Totally excited for you and your girls, and am so glad they get such a thoughtful mama!:)

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  6. I really really love this.


    I grew up in a home with a mother that constantly put herself down, which is a complete shame because she is one of the strongest and most beautiful women I have the privilege of knowing.


    It is so difficult to not concentrate on the outward - I definitely like being told I am beautiful. But I would rather be known and admired for being kind, hard working, compassionate, and giving than anything else.


    Thank you for this important reminder.


    -Kelly


    p.s. your girls are absolutely precious <3

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  7. Your daughters truly are beautiful. Not in today's stereotypical meaning but in pure innocence. I hope they grow into amazing young women who know who they are and know what they want out of life, without having to fight their own appearance. This is a wonderful post. <3

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  8. I know exactly what you mean about being too beautiful but really, I think if the parents instill in their children that having a beautiful heart is more important than what you look like on the outside than their beauty won't define them. I don't have babies of my own yet but just speaking from a place of being that pretty little girl that didn't have spiritually strong parents.

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  9. I love this post!! It makes you think about being intentional. No one really thinks about being intentional now-a-days! When we have children, being just so, is important! We can't just say things to say them because children soak up everything and they might get the wrong impression! I want my children to know they are beautiful, but beautiful because of The Father whom created them! Everyone is unique and beautiful on the outside in their own way, but nothing on the outside can match the beauty on the inside when you have a solid foundation and know you are the son/daughter of a King!! Great post!!!!

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  10. this post is so lovely. I've struggled with self esteem my whole life and it's something that God is continually working on, and it's something I want to be much stronger with before I have kids because I too, want to be able to show them what a strong woman of character is. Thank you for posting this. I truly enjoyed reading. and yes, your girls are adorable! :)

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  11. What a beautiful post. When my husband tells me I am beautiful, I roll my eyes or respond, "no I'm not." Such a hard thing to take a compliment sometimes. Your girls are so precious and yes, beautiful too as you know.

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  12. This is such a beautiful post. I think it's really true as well. I may have had passing thoughts about the prevalence of superficiality in our society these days previously, but until I had a daughter it never really weighed heavily on my heart. I would wholeheartedly agree with bitsy button below though - if we can make sure our children understand it's what is inside that counts, we'll have done them a huge service. I know how hard that is in practice - I also find myself saying 'How pretty you are!" when I put a bow or a clip in her hair. I should try and also praise her for the moments where she shows kindness, gentleness, cleverness, and not just the 'beauty' that is skin deep!

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  13. I love what you said about the girls learning their worth by their spirit than by their flesh. Moms have such a huge responsibility in helping daughters learn this. Hats off to you for considering these things in your post!

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  14. Thank you so much Patricia! It is definitely a huge but fun responsibility too :)

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  15. Thank you so much! Isn't it funny how those comments about how they look seem to come so easily! Its such a tough balance because I want them to have confidence but I also definitely want to teach them that they have beauty on the inside!

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  16. thanks Rachel! I love what your mom said to you!! What an awesome thing to cultivate "pretty things" so sweet! But yes I feel you on the instant dreadlocks! haha My hair is like that too!

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  17. Thank you Amy! I wish it was easier to accept those compliments! Im working on it! haha My husband forces me to just say "thank you" :)

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  18. Thanks Kaycie! I hear you, self esteem is a constant battle for me too. Ive been praying for the Lord to reveal truth to my heart for me and my daughters in this area! Praying for you too! Thanks for visiting!

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  19. Thank you Savannah! Amen to everything you said! I've been praying about being more intentional these days. Its SO important in parenting! I can't believe I have the responsibility to help shape these little hearts! Thank the Lord that He is working through me!

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  20. You are so right! It is definitely so important for parents to stress their childrens inner beauty! I hope to model this as well by believing it about myself! :)

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  21. thank you alyssa! Innocence is a beautiful thing! I hope to keep fostering that innocence in them but yet teach them to be wise! Such a balance!

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  22. thank you for reading and sharing Kelly! I definitely agree that I would rather be known for my inner beauty! Im sure that those around you see what a beautiful soul you have :)

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  23. thank you Daisy! Amen to beauty being redeemed in our culture!!! I pray that for my girls that they would live in a time to see a change in that!

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