Hi friends! I really hope you have enjoyed the #momcrushmonday series. I am sad today because this post will be the last guest post for this series! I learned so much from all the other amazing mamas who have posted so far, and my hope is you have also! Although this series is ending, I would love for you to keep up with the Wednesday Devotional series here on the blog on Wednesdays, everything else going on here on the blog and make sure you are following along on social media as well! Today, Renee is going to share about self love and how it is so important us as moms! Follow her on social media (all links at the end of the post) to see all her other wonderful posts too! Enjoy the post and thanks for reading!
Self Love by Example
My mom always used to tell me, “I hope you grow up and have a daughter just like you.” This statement, was of course, always said when I was being snotty or rude, and just her way of letting me know she someday hoped I would be in her shoes. Hoping I would understand the sacrifices she made and just how much love she put into everything.
As you may know, wishes do come true. I did have a daughter just like me. Three daughters to be exact. All with different personalities and each one is a little like me. Two of them, (we’ll call them bonus daughters) came to me when I met my husband. Their mother had left, and I stepped into big roles in both of their lives.
Not too long down the road I gave birth to a daughter of my very own. It was love at first site. In an instant, I knew I was hers and would do anything to ensure her happiness for the rest of her life. This fact is what my mother meant. The overwhelming love for another human being, it was my payback.
I wanted to give her the world. Of course, it was crucial to teach her to walk, read and ride a bike. All of these things are common knowledge. So how would I teach her to live? How could I show her to be her best self when I hadn’t even figured out how to do it myself?
I struggled with self image and self love personally my entire life, even into adulthood. Now having three girls to influence, I had to put a lot of thought into the matter. I could tell them they’re beautiful and smart every day of their lives. It still doesn’t stop some smug thirteen year old from making them believe otherwise. Words hurt and they are powerful.
How could I beat words? What would it take to teach these girls to adore who they are? Example. I would lead by example.
One thing I will always remember is how much I adored my mom when I was younger. She was my role model, the person I looked to for everything. I also remember her telling me how ugly she was because of how fat she looked. I loved her so much and couldn’t understand how she didn’t see in herself what I saw in her?
She always told me I was beautiful. She told me I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be. Yet, somehow, as I turned into a teenager I found myself thinking I was ugly. In the same way, calling myself fat. I didn’t see in myself what she saw in me.
After my daughter was born, I knew I never wanted her to think of herself as I thought about myself.
Besides building her up, I wouldn’t cut myself down. She is an extension of me after all, and if I could create something so perfect, I must be more beautiful than I thought.
From that day on, no matter how I felt on the inside, I wouldn’t say a word about my body’s outward appearance. I would let her see the stretch marks, the parts that had lost their perk. I intend to talk to her about all of them with honesty and grace. Right then and there I made the choice to be more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want her growing up and expecting to look like the women on TV. I wanted her to know that growing up and having children means her body will change. It means she won’t look perfectly air brushed and that’s ok.
When I made the choice to stop cutting myself down, I made the choice to stop cutting down other women as well. I wouldn’t call another woman too fat or too skinny. When I would say something, it would be complementary and not always about her body. There is more to women than those things.
I still tell my daughter she is beautiful. I make sure she knows she’s smart, feisty, brave and strong. I teach her how to care for her body. How to nurture it and love it. Teaching her eating well and exercising are just forms of self love, and they shouldn’t be seen as punishment.
It’s crucial as moms today to teach our girls to grow up strong. As a result, we should teach them about self love. Rather than just tell them, we must absolutely show them. If you think you’re ugly, if you constantly find yourself saying you need to lose weight or you have to diet, they will grow up believing these things about themselves as well.
Just as parents who smoke couldn’t expect their children not to pick up the habit; as mother’s we can’t expect our children not to follow our example.
If you struggle to find beauty in yourself, take a look at your children. They are beautiful; they are perfect. They could have only come from something beautiful and perfect. That’s you, Mama. If you have a daughter right now you love and adore, that you think is beautiful and perfect in every way, then it’s a guarantee that you indeed had a daughter just like you. Make sure she knows how amazing you both are.
Renee is a holistic, nutritionist living in Minnesota. She is a wife and mother to four. Her blog, Heart, Soul and Whole Foods, was started to inspire and encourage anyone who may be striving toward better health and self love.
Don’t forget to check out her Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest too for more fun from her!