This morning I was getting ready in the bathroom and actually putting on make-up BEFORE I went to school while Natalie was scooting around on the floor. It was about 15 minutes before we were supposed to take her to Ms. Rebecca's house and she was starting to get fussy and hungry. I looked down at her and said "Hold on Natalie. Just let Momma put her make-up on so she looks human."
A seemingly innocent remark, right?
Not so fast.
Obviously at 7.5 months old Natalie had no idea what I was saying. Her thought process was focused on getting a bottle into her belly, she was not processing the greater societal pressures that are put on women by the media to be perfectly tan, skinny and always put together. She was just hungry. But if I'm going to grow a daughter that is confident in herself despite what the media portrays as beautiful I have to start watching my words and my actions.
Craig and I can tell her everyday that she is beautiful and smart and wonderful but our actions, especially mine as her image and role model of a woman, will speak far louder than our words. I have to model for her self-confidence which will mean eliminating negative self talk and reinforcing a healthy lifestyle.
My biggest struggle growing up was my height. I towered over all my friends....including all of the boys. I was gangly and awkward and struggled to find clothes that fit my tall and lean frame. From the looks of Natalie, being tall will be a part of her life as well but hopefully since I know where to shop and how to "dress" a taller frame I'll be able to guide her in the right ways towards appreciating her height and being proud of her build.
Craig and I were chatting the other day about our experiences with sports growing up and how things would have been different if we knew then what we know now. I didn't appreciate and take advantage of my height when I was in middle and high school. Instead of seeing it as an extreme advantage and something other people were envious of, I hated having unnecessary attention drawn to myself and would have much rather blended in with my peers instead of standing out. It's only now that I view my build as my biggest asset when it comes to playing sports - I'm tall, I'm intimidating, I'm strong and I'm confident. I just wish that I didn't have to wait until my mid-twenties to figure that all out.
Of course as an athlete I would love to eventually be a parent in the stand watching my daughter play a game that she loves but if she decides to play sports I want it to happen organically, not because Craig and I are forcing her to participate in something that she isn't good at or doesn't want to do. But if she does decide to become an athlete I want her to recognize her height as an advantage and use it to the best of her ability. I want her to feel confident on the court and strong as an athlete and as a young woman.