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.
Interesting conversations about world events happen behind the scenes at World Moms Blog. A few weeks ago, we grieved and expressed shock at the terrorist attacks that fanned out across Paris, France, taking the lives of 130 people. Nigeria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Mali were also on our minds. So, with the permission of the World Moms, here is a glimpse into their thoughts just after the Paris attacks a few weeks ago…
Jackie Jenkins in Jordan:
Pema Chodron’s words.
“When I think about the tragedies in Paris and in Lebanon and in fact in many places in the world, It seems to me that’s it’s very clear that the cause is hatred. Therefore I feel for people that are committed to waking up and being of benefit to others, the key is for us is to not nurture hatred in our hearts. It may seem beyond many of us to feel compassion for the perpetrators, but probably the most important thing is for us to not add any more aggression to the planet, but to add as much open kindness and open heartedness as we can.”
Words for us all to internalise and meditate on.
Sophia from the USA:
“My heart is heavy. Too many lives…pointlessly lost. People who, just by the act of living, have been killed in the most horrific ways.
As of November 13th, 2015, I began seeing the French flag on many a face on Facebook. Surely, a sign of solidarity (I knew this from the Rainbow Flag, which supports LGBT rights).
However, on November 14th, I start seeing images and status updates of people wondering why the same media coverage that was given to Paris, wasn’t given to Beirut (Lebanon), when the same attackers had just killed and wounded a total of 243 people just the day before the attacks in Paris.
This stopped me in my tracks. Yes, why did I not see the same extent of coverage of this? There were no Lebanese flags on people’s Facebook profiles. What is World Moms Blog, if not a place for us to bring up these very hard topics? To give a voice to the voiceless.”
Michelle Pannell from the UK:
“What happened in France last Friday is devastating and the outcry from the public is of course understandable. As a Brit I painfully feel the tragedy as Paris is a city I have been to, I have fond memories of and I currently live with a few French people. Living in an international community makes my heart stretch and want to embrace the world and no, not just the white developed world.
I want to embrace and care for all parts of the world. Currently there are 23 nationalities represented within our community, that is people from the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Each one of those people adds something just a little different, special and unique to the lifeblood here and I do not value any one of them more or less because their skin is white or because they speak English as their first language.
Yes, we are all Christians, I live in a Christian community but I suspect every one of us has friends of other religions and none. I will not ostracise people because they are Muslim.” Read Michelle’s full post on her blog, Mummy from the Heart.
Nadege Nicoll in the USA:
“As a French citizen, I think that now more than ever, it is important to help Syrian refugees who have been victims for years. We shouldn’t turn our back, our arms must open even wider.”
Aisha Yesufu in Nigeria:
“God said in the Qur’an to kill one human is like killing humanity. We have to unite and let the goodness in us all outshine. A terrorist attack to anyone anywhere in the world is a terrorist attack to everyone everywhere in the world.
God rest the souls of the dead and console the families of the departed all over the world. It’s not easy.”
An excerpt taken from her post, “NIGERIA: A Muslim Mother Recounts News of Paris Attacks” to be published next week.
Cindy Levin in the USA:
I’d like to share the words of my pastor, Reverend Pamela Dolan in St Louis, Missouri.
Please let’s be gentle about how we monitor and correct other people’s prayers and grief.
If you think Americans are more upset about France than about Lebanon or Syria etc, you are probably right. As a society, we must look inward and ask why, and we must do better. But as individuals the reasons for our response are diverse and are not always a result of racism or a deep, unacknowledged Western bias. Some of us have spent time there, or dreamed of traveling there. Some of us have friends there, or family roots. Some of us are simply responding to a lifetime of seeing Paris as a symbol of liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
Rather than criticize how others are expressing sympathy, let’s use this moment of compassion to help expand the circle. Let’s not make suffering a zero-sum competition. There is love enough, and grief enough, to go around. It’s a teachable moment, yes, but not a time for judgment.
Here’s what I think. If you’re hurting right now, you’re probably doing it right. Remember that only a broken heart is big enough to encompass the wounds of the world. Healing has to start somewhere. Peace.”
Mama B. in Saudi Arabia:
“There is a huge imbalance in coverage and condemnation of terror attacks when they happen in my neck of the woods then when it does in Europe. There should be just as much outrage and condemnation. I pray for the day that these incidents are old news or not so constant that covering them would basically mean not covering any other story… its heartbreaking.
Also, what’s happening is a test of our humanity and tolerance. And our ability to see through our pain and be just. It’s the Syrians who have been effected the most. Tortured raped and killed in their own homes. The stories I hear from Syrians who have come into Saudi are horrifying.”
Jennifer Burden in the USA:
“The community behind our digital space weaves even stronger when we are gripped with the realization of a natural or human made disaster. Last Friday we put a call out in our private contributors’ Facebook group to locate Marie Kleber, our contributor in Paris. The next morning we were happy to hear that she was safe, as we mourned the deaths of 129 (now 130) people in Paris with her and offered support.
The news of the world is immediately applicable to our network behind the blog and to our readers. These times motivate us stronger to make peace in the world possible. Peace IS Possible. Peace is Possible in every corner of our earth. We can all learn to love. We can, no matter what our thoughts and views on issues, find a common tie. Here, on World Moms Blog, it is motherhood. We must move forward in kindness and olive branches and put down the weapons and get out the telephones, the tea cups and listen to each other. We must make room for acceptance. Could you imagine the amazing things humanity could achieve once this is possible?”
What’s on your mind?
This is an original collaborative post to World Moms Blog by our contributors.
Image credit to World Moms Blog.
Although the weather in New Jersey, USA feels like the summer is still going strong, the school buses around my neighborhood are one of the signs of fall. Just last week my 7-year-old son started his adventures in public school by taking the school bus for the first time and starting 1st grade. My daughter also started Kindergarten, our first year of school in the US at age 5, and I am barely keeping the tears back lately!!
Our family tradition is that we get a Back to School picture of both Hayley and Derek, and both, my husband and I, take the kids to school that day.
These huge milestones for my kids and our family had me thinking about other kids and moms around the world. I wondered what “Back to School” looked like for them. Are their kids in uniform? Or play clothes? When do they start school? I invite you to join me on a World Moms Blog around the world, back to school photo journey!…
First, we’re in Belgium. Say bonjour to our contributor, Tinne’s daughters on their first day of school!
Next, we head over to Kenya, where Tara Wambugu shares this photo of her daughter and her teacher, Miss Eva, on her first day in Nairobi!
Next, meet us over in the USA, where World Mom, Jennifer Prestholdt’s three children, are off to school in Minnesota! Below is her son’s first day of 10th grade at Washburn High School (in red), her son’s first day of 8th grade at Lake Harriet Upper School (in neon green!), and her daughter’s first day of 5th grade at Lake Harriet Upper School!
Next, we’re in the UK, where World Mom, Michelle ‘s twin girls start their first day of school of year 4 for 8 and 9 year olds in September! Her older son (not pictured) is starting Senior School this year, too. Hello, there, in the UK!
Big Yellow School bus, anyone? Here is World Mom, Jennifer Burden’s daughter, walking to the bus on her first day of third grade (8 years old) this year in New Jersey, USA! She went back to school this September.
Let’s fly on over to preschool in Krakow, Poland for our contributor, Loren’s daughter’s first day! Loren just moved here from Washington, DC, and her daughter went without knowing any Polish! The report? Mom says all seemed to go well!
World Mom, Kirsten Doyle in Toronto Canada, shared this pic of her sons’ first day of school this September! They started grades 5 and 7 this year.
Susan Koh, a World Mom in Singapore, shared this photo of her daughter’s first day of school in K2! Kids there go back to school in January. Peace!
Our contributor, Alison Fraser in Canada, has had a school built in Arusha, Tanzania through her organization, Mom2Mom Africa. The kids there also begin school in January. Here are some of the students in their school uniforms! (We are also proud that another fellow World Mom sponsors the education for one of these awesome girls!)
Speaking of going back to school in January, World Mom, Karyn Wills, wanted to make sure we mentioned that school children in New Zealand and Australia are three quarters through their school year already, too!
Now, some more fantastic pics from a few friends of the blog in the UK!
Edie and Ruby’s first day of school at St. Walburgas Catholic Primary School, Shipley, West Yorkshire, England.
And, another from the UK…
Matilda and Reggie’s first day of school at The Downs School in Bristol, England.
Oh, those hats! We love them!
And, we leave you with an additional photo of Tara Wambugu’s little girl in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s all business with her lunch box!
When is back to school in your country? Wish to share a back to school photo with us? Head on over to our Facebook Page and leave it as a comment on this post over there!
*P.S. Did you catch our contributor in Jordan’s back to school advice for kids yesterday? It’s a MUST read!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our Social Media Manager, Sarah Hughes of the USA. You can also find her on her personal blog, Finnegan and the Hughes.
Photo credits to the World Moms and friends!
Today was a landmark day for funding for the GAVI Alliance, which provides life-saving vaccinations for children around the globe. Over $7 billion US Dollars was pledged to GAVI, with the UK and the US leading the way. A group of our contributors have been working with Shot@Life, the ONE Campaign and RESULTS to put pressure on the U.S. government to fund GAVI. World Mom, Cindy Levin, also on the Board of RESULTS, is celebrating the lives that will be saved with this funding with her daughters in Missouri, USA. Read her reaction, as well as that of her daughters’, on her blog, The Anti Poverty Mom.
And World Mom, Michelle Pannell, writes from the UK about the momentous funding to save lives. It was a spiritual reminder for her on why she continues to write. Read her post at Mummy From the Heart.
In Missouri, USA, World Mom and activist, Cindy Levin, and her daughters celebrate the importance of pledged funding to the GAVI Alliance for global vaccination programs for children.
Michelle Pannell in Ethiopia advocating for world poverty with the ONE Campaign in 2012.
Thank you for your hard work, Cindy, Michelle and fellow World Moms!!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog.
Photo credit to Cindy Levin.
On Monday we’re part of a blog carnival, and who doesn’t like a good carnival? Jennifer Burden, our founder from New Jersey, will be writing a post for international childhood vaccine advocates Shot@Life.
On Tuesday, we head to UAE to hear from Manna Hatta Mamma. This mom lives in a melting pot of cultural diversity, where everyone seems to make statements about other groups on the basis of what their cultural background is. She ponders the question of how to erase the divisions between groups.
On Wednesday, we will hear from Carol @ If By Yes from Canada, where politeness is a way of life. Or is it? Perhaps the difference between the US and Canadian sides of the border is not a question of manners, but of forms of expression.