Mommy, am I Beautiful?

Every morning when I get my daughter Soleil dressed for school, she looks in the mirror and asks me “I’m beautiful, right mommy?”

The first time she asked me this, I was taken aback.

The truth is, I am taken aback each time she asks me this (which now happens to be daily)

I wonder why she asks me these questions, as I  never talk about outer beauty.

I actually make it a point not to.

I remember as a child, my mother always looking in the mirror as she got dressed and saying “I look so fat today”

This definitely made an impact on my self-awareness and self esteem.

I always thought I was fat.

I always felt unattractive.

I still do.

I always said it.

Suddenly, when I was blessed to become the mother of two beautiful little girls, I had a chance to make it right.

I had a chance to help mold their self-esteem… and my own.

I never ever use the F word in front of them (F being fat that is)

I almost never talk about outer beauty.

I want them to know that their self-worth is not determined by what they look like, but by who they are.

unfortunately, I alone am not the only one who has an impact on them.

Take for example many of the Disney princess movies out there (except for Beauty and the Beast…)..

The evil queen hated snow white because she was the fairest of them all 

Not because she was the smartest of them all

Soleil always wants to dress up in pretty dresses and accessories.

She always says she wants to be like mommy.

When I get dressed for work, and look particularly nice, she walks over to me , tells me I look pretty and gives me a kiss on the leg.

And when she does this, a part of me worries.

I worry because I don’t want her to judge her self-worth based on her outer beauty.

To me, she is a beautiful little girl.

She is beautiful on the outside, but the inside is what makes her so amazing.

This little girl wakes up EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING with a smile on her face.

Like her name, she truly is my sunshine in the morning.

She hardly ever complains, and is so thoughtful.

 

Other children love to be around her because she is so caring and loves to share.

 

so when she asks me “Mommy, am I beautiful?” I look at her and respond, that she is beautiful because she is a beautiful person on the inside.

She then looks at me with her innocent eyes, the eyes that have yet to be touched or effected by society and says “Everyone is beautiful”

***

how do you instill  positive self-esteem in your children?

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15 thoughts on “Mommy, am I Beautiful?

  1. heather

    My own mother used the F word a lot, but she also never told me I was pretty or beautiful. I was surrounded by friends who were.

    I still don’t feel pretty.

    I tell my daughters every day who smart they are, how kind they are, how beautiful they are. I want them to know that beauty inside is more important than beauty outside… but I also don’t want them to feel like I do.

    There’s no perfect way to handle this.

    Reply
  2. KJ and the Kids

    What a combo, inner beauty as well as outer 🙂 That is one sweet little girl.
    Remember on Oprah the lady said that it doesn’t matter how much you tell them they are good, smart, beautiful. It’s all about how you yourself act towards yourself. That’s what’s going to impact her and build her self esteem.

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    My mother also was constantly making disparaging remarks about her body and mine. “I’m sorry you inherited my big fat thighs!” Ugh!

    I’m glad that I have boys. That being said, I know they still need to have their self esteem nourished (and they need to be taught how not to treat girls like objects). My oldest is 6 and is a little “girl crazy”. The other day I asked him what he liked very best about his current main crush and he said, “She’s smart and funny.” I love that his answer didn’t have to do with her looks.

    I’ve been reading Karen Walrond’s book, “The Beauty of Different” and beginning conversations with my boys based on thoughts I have while reading. I think I will start quoting your brilliant and lovely daughter and tell my boys, “Everybody is beautiful!” Because, they are. 🙂

    Reply
    1. whatsaysyou

      Good to see someone who not only breaks that cycle but also doing a very superb job teaching her boys to see people for their inner beauty not for what they have on the surface. Your son maybe 6 but he sure does make more sense in what he said.

      Reply
  4. Lisa

    I try to focus on the “yes you are beautiful when you dress like a princess and you are very kind and sweet as well”. I try to add on something personality related. It is hard though, since we are SUCH a look based society. But for now, she is “smart” and very thoughtful and is a great “sharer”. If sharer is not a word, I have made it one. 🙂 My mother also used to comment (not in a nice way) about my hair, she still does and I am 36. So will also try and break that bad habit with my daughter and bite my lip if she ever wants purple or blue hair. I didn’t have blue or purple, just FRIZZZZZ. Good luck, Lisa

    Reply
  5. Kim

    My mother constantly used the “f” word. I remember one of her birthdays when my dad had bought her some new clothes. She tried them on and burst into tears because none of them fit. I can still see her running to her bedroom. She never told me that I was fat but I am obsessed with my weight. With my twin girls, though, I make it a point to never criticize myself in front of them and to always tell them that they are smart, as well as beautiful. I am a teacher, too, and I never call myself fat in front of my students (especially girls) because I don’t want them to get the idea that being stick thin is what’s beautiful.

    Reply
    1. whatsaysyou

      Good to see that you are doing your job as a parent to teach your twin daughters that self-loathing is not worth it. The same goes with your role as a teacher. Good on you.

      Reply
  6. Gail

    I love what you tell her. I try to instill self-esteem in my girls (then again, they are still young, 2 and 7 months) by trying to give them self-confidence. I encourage my oldest to try new things, and get super excited with her when she discovers she can do them. They are currently enrolled in an infant swimming rescue class, they learn to save themselves if they ever fall in the water by swimming to the surface, floating, and my oldest is learning to swim to safety. They were both scared at first, but each time they conquered a skill I feel like their self-confidence is building.
    All that said, I need to remember to not make comments about my weight in front of them and just try to lead by example. Thanks for all the comments above, they are great ideas of how to help my daughters have good self-esteem.

    Reply
  7. heather...

    She is so wise. Everyone is beautiful. And your daughters have so much beauty that it radiates right out of their smiles and eyes, you can feel it in their hugs, you can see it in their love.

    Reply
  8. Janet

    If she’s looking in the mirror and asking you that, honestly I’d ask her what her thoughts are? Then follow up with yes you are very beautiful, both inside and out!(she’s gorgeous)
    You don’t want to overcompensate and have her think that by not telling her she’s beautiful when she asks but responding with yes on the inside, that she takes that to mean you don’t think she has outward beauty only inner??? Does that make sense????

    Our parents (mothers) sure did screw up our heads eh?!?!
    I’ve had confident issues and body issues all my life because of her telling me I was beautiful but must always be covered. AS in a dress but I must wear a pair of spandex Bermuda shorts under it and things of that nature. Can’t wear shorts shorter than the knee because my legs are to long. Basically she made me so incredibly uncomfortable in my skin that I felt ugly and awkward…
    I’d be telling that ray of sunshine all the many ways that she’s beautiful!! Obviously it’s a very long list!!!!!
    Sorry about going on and on………..

    Reply
  9. twogirlsformama

    I totally hear what your saying, but I have a different view.

    I tell my 2 girls they’re beautiful AND smart all the time. They are 8 and 10 years old. They have learned on their own about skinny and fat and both say those words about themselves sometimes, which is really insane since one child is SO skinny. The other is thicker but in no way fat or overweight.

    One of my daughters has an outie belly button. Some girls hate theirs as they grown up, so all her life I’ve emphasized how wonderful her outie is. My older daughter has a scar on her cheek from being hit with a golf club at age 4 which cracked her cheek bone. The scar bothers her. I never want her to think that mark makes her look less pretty. A girl could be in a fire and burned and she’d still be beautiful on the outside. I think the outside matters a lot. But not because you fit into some Super Model look. A girl with red kinky curly hair needs to know she’s beautiful on the outside, not just the inside since she stands out and is “different” than the norm.

    Girls want to be pretty. They want to LOOK pretty. I’m going off my personal experience here….They want to look like anyone other than themselves when they hit tween/teen years. Yes, we can say it’s the inside that matters most, but everything in our society shows outside is SO important so I make sure mine know they are beautiful inside and outside and are very SMART even if they get average grades.

    I’m their biggest cheerleader.

    Reply
  10. tonya

    I don’t remember my mom ever telling me I was pretty. SHE is beautiful. She has spent her 60 years focused on looking good. I am not the striking beauty she is, and I honestly think that has always bothered her. Countless times I have heard someone comment that we look alike, and she’s always quick to say, “No, she really looks like her dad.” Who, by the way, was a gorgeous man. Anyway, whether she meant it the way I took it or not, I’ve always thought she didn’t want to be compared to me. And I’ve never felt pretty. Ironically, one of my girls looks SO much like me, and I think SHE is beautiful! How does that make any sense? I focus on both my girls’ inner beauty, but I have to say, I also tell them all the time that they’re pretty. I strongly believe that CONFIDENCE in yourself makes you attractive. If my girls end up not being physically pretty, they’ll figure that out later. For now, they can believe in what their mama says.

    And, hello?! Whether you want to focus on beauty or not, those girls of yours, and YOU, are absolutely gorgeous.

    Reply
  11. Eva

    Her response just made my day – everyone is beautiful 🙂 I hope I too can empower my daughter to realize it’s not about outer beauty but inner beauty that matters most

    Reply

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