I’m sharing today a letter to my daughters but not just to my daughters, to all your daughters as well. Come on Mums and join me in being the antidote to the norms and expectations of our society. Please make sure you celebrate your girls for who they are and not how they look. Let’s commit to sometimes going without make-up, to never talking down to ourselves and to often making a fool of ourselves in the name of fun. Only when we lead the way can our young daughters know it is OK for them to be truly comfortable in their own skin and to be able to say “I am beautiful and accepted just the way I am”.
Dear beautiful girls,
You are nearly nine years old, still young, still with so much life ahead of you but sadly already you want to be grown up. To be able to go out alone with your friends, to have your ears pierced, to wear high heels and to dye your hair.
I know it is fun to think about how life will change as you mature and to picture what a future boyfriend, house or car might look like and that’s OK. We can all dream, it is good to dream but it is also good and right to enjoy the moment. To be content to be nearly nine, to take the time to cherish playing with your dolls, going on bike rides, crafting treasures and making camps.
My heart bleeds when I see you try on an outfit and look at yourself in the mirror and then take it off and throw it on the floor as you feel it doesn’t look good. You see it hug your beautiful little fleshy tummy which is just part of how your body is changing as you grow. It must be so hard to be only eight but to have the height and body of a twelve year old. I understand where the discord comes from but I want to assure you, that you are beautiful just the way you are.
God made you in His image and He doesn’t make mistakes. Each one of us is unique, we come with our own gifting’s and looks and that makes the world a really rich place. I know it is a cliché but honestly, it would be boring if everyone was the same. What I need more than anything, girls, is for you to be sure of who you are. What makes you you? Let’s figure that out and then cling to it. Hang on to your sense of self for dear life as the trouble, the downward spiral comes when you get sucked into the media lies that there is one prescription for beauty.
Over the years this perception of the perfect woman has changed: in the 50’s it was all about the hourglass figure, by the 80’s we had the Amazonian supermodels and today the desire is to be size zero. You do not have to follow the trends, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. You tell me I am beautiful and you know I am far larger than the average woman, you adore your Nan but also talk of her ‘crinkly’ face and one of the most beautiful woman I know has a massive scar on her face but her sunny disposition and kindness shines through.
Let me just assure you that it won’t be make-up, hair colour, tanned skin or a slim body that mean you are beautiful; it will be the traits you show that make up who you are and what you are about. Miss E your desire to protect your twin, your creative streak, your dry sense of humour, your love of snuggles and your hunger for what is right are just a few of the things that make you truly gorgeous.
Miss M, for you it is your passion, your willingness to challenge authority, your soft vulnerable side that you don’t often show, your generosity and your sense of fun that draw people to you. Those things are beautiful. They are the things that make me proud to say I am your mother and because I’m Mum I sometimes have to make myself unpopular and remind you that you can’t buy those shoes or wear that very short skirt as it is my job to keep you safe and to help you enjoy your childhood.
So yes girls, sometimes you are going to think I am the worst mum ever and you might cry and you might scream at me as you think you are old enough to make your own decisions and to follow what the world is saying is current right now but for me what will always be in fashion is you. The authentic and true spirit of my special little girls. When you choose to be true to yourself and perhaps step outside the crowd you are beautiful.
I couldn’t be more proud of the wonderful young women that you are growing into.
Love you so much, Mummy xx
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Michelle Pannell from the UK, who blogs at Mummy from the Heart and Progress Not Perfection.
Dear Michelle, the best gift you could possibly have given your daughters is this letter. It’s really tough to be a mother of daughters, because of the societal pressures that are only put on women and not on men. I was blessed with both a son and a daughter. My son is 23 years old and is already married. My daughter is 20 years old and has been in a committed relationship for the past 3 years. My daughter went through a phase when she felt fat and unattractive (approximately between the ages of 11 and 14). No matter what I said to her, she was miserable, and that broke my heart, because she has always been beautiful and she was far from fat! I kept the faith though. I kept telling her that she was beautiful inside and out, even when she didn’t believe me. The breakthrough came when I told her how powerful the messages she tells herself are. I showed her photos of the way I looked at age 14. I was the perfect weight for my height, but I believed myself to be fat because that’s what the adults around me said I was. (I was later told that they called me “piggy” etc because, since I wasn’t fat, it was funny!!). I’m currently roughly 30 kg overweight and I feel about my body the exact same way that I felt when (by every objective measure) I was pretty and slim! I told my daughter that she would end up like me if she didn’t start appreciating the beautiful body she currently has. Luckily she listened to me! She now focuses on being healthy, not on her weight, and is maintaining the correct BMI without being obsessive about it.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and superb comment. I have the same story as you I was slim and thought I was fat and I’ve not shared those photos and that story with my girls, in a couple of years I will do. Thanks again, Mich x
As a mum to two girls, this resonates so much with me.
I see my eldest changing shape and attitude and I crave for the innocence of her youth and want to shield her from photoshopped images online and just celebrate her own beauty!
Gosh yes photoshopping is definitely not a good advancement! Far too many youngsters feeling they have to go after unrealistic ideals. Mich x
So true and so beautiful! x
…. What an inspiration you are :0) … to your daughters and to many others
Ahh thank you Susan, what a nice comment. Mich x