Tag:

Raising Girls

teenage girls, teens, raising girls, meghan trainor, mom, raising teens

Teenage girls get a bad rap. They are painted as moody, bitchy, argumentative creatures who are just plain mean, even cruel at times and above all else, they hate their mothers. I’m not sure that’s a true representation. I know being a teenage girl is difficult on a good day.

Now, I’ve never personally hated my mom. There was a brief moment in history when I thought I knew better than her and I was inclined to telling her so. I believe it the ages of 15-17. I talked back so much, it’s a wonder that I have any teeth left in my head. I was very willful and headstrong, as children becoming adults often are. I was one step above throwing tantrums.

My mom was a saint, aside for the occasional moments when she just couldn’t stand it anymore and would, without saying a word, push her bony knuckles into my thigh. Don’t feel sorry for me, I deserved much worse and now, I know what restraint it took to not say a damaging word to me.

I always wanted to skip that part of motherhood and to be honest, I was terrified of it. It was the part when my mom and I put some space between us, or rather I did. I took every word and look as a transgression from her. She really could do no right. Now I see, how hard she was trying. After all, when I was 17, she was a mother of 4 teenagers, a 10-year-old and a newborn. I don’t know how she managed and right now, I applaud her for not killing us all.

READ ALSO: My Daughter Loves Me; the In-Between Years

People warned me of what I had to look forward to when my own girls entered the teen years. I had nightmares of my sweet, loving daughters turning into gum smacking, eye rolling, ish talking monsters but mostly I feared the wedge it would drive in our relationship. Honestly, it’s been hovering like a rain cloud for their entire childhood. I think it’s part of why I’ve tried so hard to build an open, honest relationship with my girls. It’s what I always wanted with my own mom.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom and I were close. She’s one of my favorite people but I think we could have been closer had we clung to each other during the rough patch rather than have pushed one another away. Heated emotions allowed us to walk away. At the time, I think we both felt it was to cause less damage but in retrospect, it allowed for complacency. I realized some relationships are worth staying and fighting; the one with your mom is one of those.

Here I am many years later, entering the teen years again. This time I’m the mom. I’ve put in 13 years preparing both of us for this moment. It’s been work and consistency every single day. It’s meant having hard discussions, being completely open and not being perfect. It’s meant tears and hard choices but always my heart was looking to the long game. Every moment has been a teachable moment. There is no room for complacency in my motherhood.

I never know if I’m doing it right. Most of the time, it feels like I am doing it absolutely wrong. But then every so often, my daughters do something that validates everything I’ve been doing. It’s never big sweeping gestures. I don’t want those. Anyone can do those, it’s like going to church on Christmas. It comes in quiet moments in the form of unexpected words or actions that I’m not even sure are meant for me to see. It’s in the kind of human beings they are becoming but sometimes it’s more obvious but still just as powerful and meaningful and I find myself crying because I am moved.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship

Why am I talking about this? Well, a couple weeks ago I was visiting my parents alone. No Big Guy and no girls. I actually got to be just a daughter for the first time in many years and it was glorious, but that’s a post for another time. Anyways, back to my story.

While I was at my parents’ house not being in charge and having all of my whims indulged, my phone dinged. I was mid-conversation with my mom. Ironically, it was my daughter. Wasn’t sure that I wanted to open the message because, honestly, I was in such a good mood and I just knew it was going to be the girls pulling me into an argument they were having or them trying to convince me to overrule a decision their father had made. I never do that by the way because marriage=solid front.

Anyways, against my better judgment, I opened the message from my teenage girl.

Did I mention this was during the last couple weeks of school so hell was breaking loose? The girls bickering had gotten out of control. It moved beyond simple arguing and tattling to a full contact sport and it was exhausting to watch and to mediate. This is one of those moments when I completely feel like I am failing at parenting. But, I can’t ignore my children. I opened the email and this is what I found.

Not going to lie. It made me cry. It made me puff out my chest. It made me feel all the feels and I immediately ran over to my own mom and showed her what an amazing granddaughter she has. She raised me, so she gets credit too. And I think we both felt all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that even if our relationship may have been strained for a few years, it made me the mom I am today. A teenager who randomly sends her mom this song for no reason at all, well, I’d say I’m doing something wrong…at least on that day.

Love your teenagers the way you loved your toddlers; same kid, different body. You keep putting that love out there, even when everyone wants to walk away and it’s easier, you keep momming that kid. You might not know it by looking at them when they’re ignoring you and rolling their eyes but they see you. They hear you. They love you and they know you love them unconditionally. P.S. It might kill me when they leave for college.

What has your teenage girl or teen boy done that’s surprised you?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
discipline, exercise, parenting, how to change bad behavior with exercise

I found the cure to all bad habits and I can tell you the secret of how to change bad behavior with exercise! Nope, it has nothing to do with exerting yourself and distracting yourself. It has nothing to do with feeling better about yourself or being a better person. It’s much simpler than that and I promise you, it works. I am living proof. You can change bad behavior with exercise and achieve parenting level master status. It is discipline in the best way possible.

We all have bad habits. It’s the truth. I try to be a good example for my daughters. We want our children to grow up to be upstanding citizens of the world. We want them to go out into the world and be so fierce and fearless that they impress everyone they meet. We don’t want them to be jerks. One of my life goals is for people to meet my children throughout their life and be like, “Damn, that is one bada** woman!” At the same time, I want them to be like, “What a lady she is.” That’s my mom getting in my head.

I want my daughters to be the perfect lovechild of Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou and Lady Gaga. I want them to be fierce, caring and relentless in their pursuit of good and happiness. That’s what I’m going for but I want them to use their words. I want their words to be the vehicle that can gain them entry into any conversation in the world. I want their brains to be their sexiest body part.

I want them to be giving, loving and embrace life and love and people. I want them to live out loud with no walls or prejudices. I want them to fully appreciate the world they live in without fear or self-doubt. I think I am succeeding, or at least on trajectory with this path, with the exception of one small kink…using their words.

This is where it happens, this is what prompted me to figure out how to change bad behavior with exercise.

Yes, embarrassing as it is, I (the writer) have failed my children in the example of using their words.  You see, I know a lot of words. I know all of the words. I am in love with the words. But sometimes, I am a lazy word user and I resort to profanity. GASP! I know shocking. Well, not really. Not if you’re a long time follower of me. I’ve been trying a lot harder to stop with the lazy words because I don’t want my girls to use all the lazy words. So, I made a decision and it is kind of shocking how well it has worked.

This is how to change bad behavior with exercise.

It’s actually very simple. I implemented a rule a few weeks ago that if you (collective you, as in my family) curse, that is an automatic 50 crunches and if you bicker and yell, that is an automatic 200 pushups and so began the hardest few days of my life. Just kidding, I’ve lived through a lot of hard stuff. I was not going to be broken by crunches and yet, 400 crunches in one day…it was pretty rough but it worked almost immediately. Who knew you could change bad behavior with exercise?

The thing that I’ve learned is that no amount of grounding, taking away of friends, tech or play dates will work to curb my children’s bad behavior. They respond much more astutely to positive reinforcement. I’m not surprised because I am the same way.  I’d prefer to get a reward at the end of hard work than to not get punished. I learned when I was pretty young that I preferred to do what I wanted and suffer the consequences, that’s just how I work and unfortunately, I think I passed that strong will along to my daughters.

However, apparently, none of us love doing crunches. In fact, we despise them. Now, these were not your average run of the mill sit ups. These were those blasted ballet/ floor barre/ physical therapy ones meant to target your lower abdomen. No one works their lower abdomen. It’s not natural and it HURTS!

3 days is how long it took to cure me of my cursing habit. 2 days is all that it took for the girls to never want to use any sort of lazy word ever again. You see apparently, our lazy words are not worth getting off our lazy butts and doing 400 crunches. And the bickering, well, my girls hate push ups even more than crunches. Bickering has been at an all-time low. I can feel my sanity returning. It’s all fun and games until someone has to do exercise.

You see, I’m a die hard, forgiveness over permission gal but I had to be the example and so crunch away I did. I’m still doing 150 every day, just in case I stub my toe or something and need that sweet release plus, I could definitely live without a FUPA. It’s so simple to change bad behavior with exercise. Why did I never think of this before?

I’ve also realized that crunches can probably cure just about any bad habit we have. Think about it. You want to gamble, each bet is 100 crunches. You want to drink, each cocktail is 100 crunches. Want to eat that whole sleeve of Oreos? That will be 50 crunches per cookie, thank you. I’m pretty sure most of us would think twice before doing that again because I don’t know about you but a swear word is not worth 400 crunches and there are no cookies worth 50 crunches. Then again, at the very least, I’d be a heathen with great abs!

Would you have ever thought it was possible to change bad behavior with exercise?

3 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
what its like to have an eating disorder, are eating disorders hereditary, skinny, vanity, weight loss, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight

Have you ever wondered are eating disorders genetic? I have since the day I gave birth to my first daughter because the last thing I wanted to pass down to my girls were eating disorders. Many of you know that I have been in recovery from bulimia and anorexia for nearly 20 years, with very few slip-ups. But eating disorders don’t just magically leave, they plague you for life. It’s impossible to unlearn those behaviors and almost as hard not to act upon your instinct. I know that’s not what anyone wants to hear but it is my truth.

Today, it finally happened. The day I’ve been dreading since she was born. The day she compared herself to me. The day I had to really consider …

Are eating disorders genetic?

Unfortunately, my research says, yes, eating disorders are, in fact, genetic just like Bipolar disorder, depression and so many other mental illnesses. We like to think we can protect our children from illnesses but what do we do when we are the very people who gave them the genes to develop the disorder? It’s through no fault of our own. We can do everything right and still not be able to protect them from these kinds of things. I’ve tried my best to do everything right and I am super aware of the behaviors because of my own experience but what if none of that can stop any of it?

For me, there is no competition. She is better than me in every single way. She is a tall, leggy blonde with blue eyes that smile, a sweet voice and the perfect peaches and cream complexion. She is everything I hoped to be as a young girl. She is smart, graceful and strong. She is independent, cultured and not afraid to stand up for herself and for what’s right. She is my idea of perfection.

 

In many ways, we are alike. That strong, independent bossy streak that runs deep in her, is all me. Her smile, me too. The intelligence, well she got that from both of us and the culture is something I have been instilling from birth. However, the tall, graceful leggy blonde is not me at all.

I have always been average to tall, 5’7”, dark hair, hazel ish-brown eyes and small boned. My parents are not big people. My mom is 5’3” and my dad is probably around 5’10”. So, I was always the youngest and often one of the smaller kids in the class.

Today, as I was cleaning out my attic to prepare for the yearly garage sale, I was pretty excited because I have a bunch of “vintage” clothing that my newly 12-year-old can rock. These are pieces I loved but just will never look right on me again. I’m not 21 anymore and I’ve birthed 2 children; half tops and low-rise flared jeans are just not appropriate for me in my current situation. Read; an adult with some junk in the trunk and a tiny spare tire.

Anyways, as we sifted through the tubs, I got very excited because I was excited to pass these pieces on. Then it hit me, she is bigger than me now then I was at 21 ( because I was 3 years deep into my eating disorders; I was anorexic.) I knew this might happen, I’d planned to adjust for it but I forgot.

You see, a few months back, I told my oldest about my eating disorders as a preemptive strike. Now, I really struggled with whether or not I should tell the girls because I don’t want them to think less of me, think its ok or, worse still, be responsible for planting that seed in their brain. But I told her because she is starting to outgrow me in height.

Her feet are passing me by and I noticed that when I tried to give her a pair of my shoes, she compared her feet to mine. Firstly, we have different builds. Secondly, she is a ballet dancer who dances in pointe; wide feet are a by-product. But none of that matters because she was comparing herself to me and I was the bar by which she was measuring herself. She judged her difference as a deficit. I assured her that different does not mean less than, it only means not the same.

Today, as we sifted again through the bins, she began trying things on. Things she knew I wore to my bridal shower and on our honeymoon and I could see her judging herself. It broke my heart. I had to jump in and explain that we have different builds and that I was not healthy when I was that size, the size that is smaller than a 12-year-old child. In all honesty, my 9-year-old happily accepted and fits into one of my favorite outfits from when I was 25. I was sick. I could have died and none of that is ok.

I’ve tried to explain that I had already gone through puberty and my shape was different than hers is now. I also explained how I had no boobs and hairy legs when I was her age; to give her some perspective. Still, I saw the defeat in her eyes when she tried on one of my favorite skirts from the 90’s and she couldn’t fasten it.

I know that feeling because even though I was not a huge tween, I was huge compared to my mom. I outgrew her clothes around the same time. This was also the same time; I began my lifelong battle with body dysmorphic disorder so all of this is scaring the shit out of me. Like, I am literally lying awake at night wondering how this is all going to play out and praying that eating disorders are not genetic because they never go away. You are never cured. You are just in a constant state of recovery for the rest of your life. I don’t want that for my girls.

To this day, I follow girls in recovery on Instagram. I’m invested in their recovery from eating disorders. Part of it is because I miss being in control like that and part of it is to cheer them on in their recovery. I want them to get better; to survive and have a life and a family and be able to eat food without mental anguish; cruelty-free without torture. But then I get this thought in my head, what if I’m cheering them on and they see me, overweight now, and relapse?

The same way I am terrified that my clothes are going to push my daughter in that direction. She is almost as tall as me and she is going to be much taller. She is also built more athletically than me. Her father is bigger than my father. She is buying S/M in clothes and I am L/XL and I am afraid she is going to see the gap narrowing too much and see herself as bigger than she is. So, I have to get healthier so I don’t negatively affect the way she sees herself.

Believe me, I know this might sound crazy to many of you, especially if you’ve never had eating disorders but if you have, you know what I am talking about. And if it came down to it, if one of us has to be sick or feel bad or unhappy, please God, let it be me.

I may not be able to change her genetic makeup and predispositions but I can certainly be aware and be present and try my hardest to not let genetics outrank my nurturing. Maybe the answer to the question, “are eating disorders genetic?” might be yes but the outcome doesn’t have to be the same as it was for me.

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

In 2000, I was newly married and everything in life was ahead of me. I stumbled onto the show Gilmore Girls and I fell in love at first show. You see, I never had a great relationship with my own mom. There was nothing wrong with our relationship; other than we are complete opposites but I love my mom but we were never “friends”. My best friend in college had that kind of relationship with her mom and I was always envious because who wouldn’t want their mom to be their best friend. Gilmore Girls was a wonderful representation of what I dreamed of having with my mom and exactly the kind of relationship I hoped to someday have with my own daughters but it was all hypothetical.

Fast forward five years and I had my own little girl. I remember watching the opening credits of Gilmore Girls rolling with Carole King singing Where You Lead in the background and my toddler dancing to the music and my heart filled with so much love that it nearly burst because it was everything I felt for my daughter. To this day, every single time I hear that song, I smile because I think of that great, big love that I have for my girls; the unbreakable love and sisterhood that you can only be felt between a certain kind of relationship between a mother and daughter. It’s the kind of relationship I have with my girls.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Fast forward, 11 years and here I sit Thanksgiving weekend watching Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life with my two daughters and all I can feel is blessed. When I first watched the show, the relationship between Lorelai and Rory was something I wished for but never had and now, it is something I have times two. I know not every mother and daughter have that symbiotic, complete each other’s sentences and thoughts, talk in circles; six degrees of separation logic understanding but we do and it is even more special than I ever imagined.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

I know that the show was a writer’s creation but the relationship, there had to be some foundation in reality to actually “get it” so dead on. It exists.

Spoiler alert; If you haven’t already seen it and don’t want any spoilers, stop reading now.

I love the way the story picks up a decade or so later. It gave us time to see growth in the characters. It gave Lorelai and Luke time to figure stuff out, it gave Rory wings to fly and get some distance and become her own woman and it gave all the characters time to expand and contract; become three-dimensional, not simply two-dimensional caricatures of reality. Sometimes life is hard and sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned and sometimes your person can’t fix all of it. Bad things happen to good people and life is complicated and messy and it can’t all be wrapped up fully in a nice bow in an hour-long episode; only if it were.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Relationships are work and sometimes people have to get hurt to learn their lessons. That is life and we don’t always make the right choices. Sometimes we follow our hearts and it leads us down a path of reckless abandonment and, while it might be the greatest adventure of our life, it just isn’t realistically feasible to sustain long-term. Sometimes we have to let go before we’re ready. Sometimes we have to fight for what we want and sometimes life throws us so many curveballs that we just don’t know which way is up but in the end, life works out even if it’s not the way we planned because that is what living is all about; the experiences…the journey. It’s all our journey.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life was unexpected for me. Things didn’t go as planned but I loved seeing the progression. It’s like going home and catching up with all the people you grew up with. Most of the time, the reality is very different from what any of you imagined it would be but it’s okay and it’s just nice to have those people who you knew when. I loved watching it with my own Rorys (wrapped up together in a soft blanket as we ate pop tart biscotti and Red Vines) and I loved the messy way it all turned out because, in life, there is seldom a direct path from point A to Point B but you can get there a million different ways.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

I don’t know what Netflix plans to do but I would love to see more of the Gilmore Girls and see how their messy wonderful story turns out. It ended in a way that the reboot almost felt like it could be a repeat. Things were similar but at the same time, completely different and unfamiliar. Nothing was as we expected and at the same time, it was exactly as we left it. I don’t want to spoil anything for my fellow Gilmore Girls fans so I will leave you with this; if you loved the original Gilmore Girls franchise, you should watch A Year in the Life with an open mind and an open heart and remember that the good parts of life are seldom planned and all the real living happens when your plans go out the window.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
equality, Raising girls, how to raise brave women

As many of you know, I don’t often have posts written by guest writers but when I do, they are usually amazing writers with something important to say. Today, I have the privilege of sharing with you one of my dearest friends, Amanda Magee, who just happens to be one of the strongest, bravest, samrtest and kindest women I know. She also happens to be a damn great writer. She is a writer’s writer. Did I mention she is raising three amazing girls who I am sure will be the change they want to see in the world because that is exactly what their mom is exemplifying for them? Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your words and truth here. If you’d like to read more of Amanda, be sure to check her out on her blog.

A quick introduction, my name is Amanda Magee. I live in upstate New York where I own an advertising and communications agency and am raising three daughters. Deborah and I met by chance at a blogging conference a few years back. Over the years we have bonded over parenting daughters and being strong willed women in the world. She has invited me to write here a couple of times and despite my not having come through, she kept asking; the last time after I posted about our experience marching at an Anti-Trump rally with our daughters. I am so grateful for hearts, minds, and voices like Deborah’s.

A couple of years ago I found myself thinking that I knew how to forecast the years ahead. I bought into the idea that hormones were going to be the thing I had to focus on, but it wasn’t true. Yes, there are emotional highs and lows; yes, my three daughters are not yet in the thick of puberty at 8, 10, and 12, but what has become central to our reality is how we will navigate the world—not during our menstrual cycles, more in light of the fact that we (will) have menstrual cycles.

How do I raise brave women? How do I equip them with both confidence and suspicion? Is it possible to raise them to be good citizens and compassionate human beings in the same breath as I say that there are people who will break rules and take without asking? How do I tell them that they can make all the best decisions and still be hurt?

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

Zits and thigh gap? We’ll be fine, slurs muttered at the mention of homosexual family members and systemic defense and promotion of “boys will be boys” and “you shouldn’t be upset, he just wanted to talk to you,” those are the things that demand my attention.

Over the last year, I’ve begun to speak more plainly with my daughters and I’ll be honest, it’s been bittersweet. I wanted to give them the cocoon of childhood as long as I could, but when conversation on the bus turns to building a wall, grabbing pussies, and sending people away I have a choice, do I defer the world view shaping to other kids and influences or do I talk to them about the spectrum of views? I chose the latter.

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

I’ve never once painted one side of politics as evil and the other as benevolent, because despite being a lifelong, pro-choice, feminist liberal, I don’t hate Republicans or Conservatives. The only thing I really hate is hate, which is why we were an anti-Trump house and why we are committed to continuing to speak up against the motions that take us as a country to greater stances of division. It’s new territory for me, because I have always looked at the person holding the office of president as our leader. I cannot do that this time.

Raising girls, how to raise brave women, equality

I am looking to people like Deborah, I am listening to black women, people from the trans community, I am questioning the decisions of lawmakers, and I am donating to organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. We as a family are committing to being engaged at the local and regional level, not just every four years. We are reading books like Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. I am heartbroken that so many people didn’t vote; I am distressed that many people, myself included, have had moments of silence that made them complicit in hate or systemic racism. We are choosing to adhere to a policy of living our beliefs out loud and in public, because the alternative is the kind of inaction that lets hate fester and threaten to overtake us all.

Photos Courtesy Amanda Magee

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
weight, fat, body image, raising girls, ballerinas

“I’m fat! Just look at my flabby arms!”

This is what I overheard amongst the ballerinas today. 11-year-olds should not be worrying about flabby arms, especially since not one of the 10 preteen girls included in this conversation are fat or had flabby arms. My heart sunk and my stomach turned as I realized if these lean, dancers think they’re fat, what if all little girls think they’re fat? I didn’t say a word because I was speechless.

Every Wednesday, I take my daughters to ballet. They were in class when I heard the girls talking. This has been my routine for nearly 8 years. At least 4 classes a week, I am surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, young, graceful, strong and lean girls (ages 3 and up). It’s always been a place of positivity and the focus is on the dance moves, not the size of the dancer’s ass. Why would it be?

My girls have danced with the city ballet practically since the moment they could tell me that was what they wanted to do but I went in with my eyes open. I’ve heard the horror stories of ballerinas who are malnourished and have eating disorders. I know these are brought on by the constant focus on body and weight that is necessary for any athlete.

Having battled severe eating disorders myself, I promised myself a few things 1) I would never negative talk in front of my girls 2) I would do everything in my power to instill high self-confidence and positive body image and 3) if they were ever involved in a situation where someone made weight the focus, I’d pull my daughters out because it’s not worth it. I won’t allow anyone to undo the self-esteem that I’ve spent years building.

Perfection is not achievable, mostly because it’s a moving target, and no girl should feel that her self-worth has anything to do with her weight. Only in ballet, like many sports, it is hard to be in top performance form if your body is not at its absolute best so even if there isn’t a blatant focus and criticism of body size and shape, it’s there, lurking like the boogie man just waiting to destroy your daughter’s self-confidence. I know it and, apparently, so do these girls. How could they not living in a world where thigh gaps and bikini bridges are aspirations.

I wanted to grab those girls and hug them and shout to them, “No! Your arms are not flabby. You are perfect. Your body is strong and beautiful and amazing. It is what moves you on the stage. It is what moves you in the world. Your body is what makes you….YOU!” I wanted to, like I wished someone would’ve done to me the first time I looked in the mirror and saw my 12-year-old body and saw imperfection in perfection. But I couldn’t because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t supposed to hear that. They aren’t my daughters.

At that moment, I was too busy praying that my daughter, just inside the classroom, didn’t hear this slightly older ballerina who she looks up to calling herself “flabby” and “fat.” Because if you’ve ever been involved in the dance world, you know, there is nothing a tiny ballerina looks up to more than a bigger one, even if it’s only by a level. I held my breath and waited to see if she mentioned anything. She didn’t.

You see, little girls are like sponges; they absorb everything that they see and hear and once they know it, they can’t unknow it. They keep it and pick at it like a scab. I know this is true because my own daughters have even began to pick up on subtle cues, ones that I don’t even know I’m doing. They know how to decipher a hint and they can figure things out. They are not oblivious. I went home last night and began to think of all the ways I hint at my dissatisfaction with my own body; long sighs in the mirror, tugging at my shirt, tiny fits of rage when trying on clothes in the dressing room. I can’t do that anymore. They’re too smart. If they’re unhealthy or think they are fat, I feel like it’s my personal parenting fail.

I feel terrible that I didn’t grab those little girls and tell them how perfect and strong and amazing they are. I had to do something so I emailed the Director of the Ballet (a mom of two small girls, a ballerina and a friend) and I told her what had happened because I feel like going silent makes me a part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.

What would you have done if you heard a group of young girls calling themselves fat?

 

 

6 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
slut shaming, sexting, misogyny, shaved, Mean girls, raising girls, hair, shaving, waxing, self-esteem

Last fall, I received a personal laser hair removal system because I’d already shaved myself silly for the past 30 years and waxing hurts my feelings. My 7-year-old saw it and asked what it was. I told her. Then, she mentioned the hair on her arms. She said if the laser hair removal worked, she wanted me to use it on her. I took notice but didn’t want to make a “thing” of it. It felt like a little punch to my gut that this was a concern of my 2nd grader. It broke my heart a little.

I’ve always believed that when my daughters came to me about hairy legs, out of control eyebrows or the inevitable extra lip hair (because God knows I am living proof of maintenance) that I would help them. It wouldn’t be an issue, until they came to me if it bothered them. As long as they love the skin they are in, that’s all that matters to me.

I remember being in middle school myself and having hairy legs and my dad forbidding me to shave my legs. I had to wear ugly tube socks to hide the Sasquatch I was evolving into. It was humiliating. Eventually, embarrassment and humiliation got the best of me, I butchered shaved my legs and nearly took my ankle off with it. I never wanted my girls to have to sneak and shave their legs, tweeze their eyebrows or, heaven forbid, wax their mustache. Mostly, I never wanted them to feel that awkward humiliation or be stumped when someone else pointed out what they already knew.

So, when my 7-year-old came to me for a second time last night and asked me if I could laser her tiny little arms, I looked her straight in the face and asked her, “Why do you want me to take the hair off of your arms?” And she answered, “Because it bothers me, Mommy.” I made the decision to stick by my guns and I agreed to shave her arms.

You see when she originally asked about it, I consulted my aesthetician and she recommended shaving her arms. When my daughter came to me, very seriously, after several months and still wanted the hair gone. I had to do what was best for her.

I took her to my bathroom. I explained that hair is natural and we all have it. Some of us have more than others but that if this were what SHE wanted, I would shave her arms. She was sure.

I washed her arms. Lathered them with shaving cream and almost surreally,

I shaved her tiny arms from her elbow to her wrist.

When we were done, she hugged me and said, “Oh, Mommy! They are so smooth. Now, I don’t have to wear my fleece every day in class to cover my arms!”

She was ecstatic. She ran downstairs to show her dad and her sister. And then I died a little bit inside, as I held back the tears because I realized that she hadn’t given me the entire story.

I followed her downstairs, pulled her aside and asked, “Baby, why do you wear your fleece every day in class?”

Then she said something I never wanted to hear, “ Well, *Sophie asked my why my arms were so hairy. Then she told me they were weird. Then she laughed.”

I can tell you that as a mom, I wanted to punch this other 7-year-old in the face because she has put it in my daughter’s head that her arms are weird because they have hair on them. That will never go away. She’s never going to forget that moment that someone laughed and called her “weird” because of her body. That infuriates me.

I know some of you reading this are thinking why on the earth would you shave your 7-year-old’s arms? I realize that it sounds vain and cosmetic and no I don’t want to encourage my girls to believe that they need to change to meet society’s expectations of beauty. This wasn’t about that. This was me helping my daughter feel better about herself because it bothered her just like I would take her to a dermatologist if she had acne or get her braces if her teeth were crooked.

I shaved my daughter because that’s what she needed to feel happy in her skin.

I’m thrilled my daughter feels more confident without the hair on her arms but I’m hoping, since I didn’t have the entire story, that I didn’t send the wrong message. I don’t want her to think she has to conform to other people’s concept of beauty because I think she’s perfect already.

What would you have done in this situation?

Would you have shaved your 7-year-old if you could see it truly bothered her?

11 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

” Like a Girl ” what does that even mean? Like a boss? Like your best? Like you? Bigger? Bolder? Brighter? Faster? Harder? Stronger? Longer? Better? I’ve never gotten that phrase and I’ve always hated the negative connotation that is inferred by it. I’m a woman and I love being a woman. I don’t think being a female makes me less, it makes me more.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

“Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

― Betty White ( Like a girl)

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

I am the proud mom of two very strong willed, strong minded and strong bodied, amazing girls. Girls who are smart, funny, caring, loving, challenging, athletic, witty, love science and math and give everything they do 110%. They are also beautiful, delicate, stubborn, opinionated, whimsical and 110% girl.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

 

They are two of the fiercest little girls I know. They are everything they want to be and my only wish for them is happiness being their best version of themselves. I never want them to lose the belief that they can do and be anything they want to be. It’s all a matter of working hard and has absolutely NOTHING to do with what is between their legs. Contrary to popular belief, a vagina is not a liability. It’s a mother f*cking miracle.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

You see, I’ve never put my girls into a box and I’ve NEVER in my life understood the asinine turn of phrase, “Like a girl” because it makes no sense. Girls grow up to be women. Women grow babies, give birth, hold careers, make homes for their families and hold shit together when the world starts to fall apart. Without women, quite literally, the species would cease to exist. Girls are can do anything boys can do, in most cases, even better because they’ve had to work twice as hard to get it.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

The “Like A Girl” campaign as a social experiment to destroy the negative implications of the phrase. That ad was shown during last night’s Super Bowl game.

The video shows grown up men and women being asked to run, throw, and fight like a girl. In each case, they watered it down. They reacted slower, more cartoonish and awkward like. They “dumbed it down”. THEY thought it was funny. I don’t think it’s funny at all, especially when women are doing this. This makes us part of the problem, not the solution.

However, when the producers of the video asked young girls under the age of 10 to run, throw or fight “like a girl” they did it with all of their might. They ran as fast as they could. Fought as hard as they could. Threw as far as they could. They did not undersell themselves because they were doing it as they always believed they could. They had not yet been conditioned and beaten down by society’s stereotypes and become a cartoonish, underwhelming specimen of a woman. They were strong.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

 

As a woman, who survived puberty, we all know that once puberty comes and your body starts to change. Your confidence is shaken. People react to you differently. You cross over from being a kid to being a woman and the expectations change. With breasts, you become shackled with limitations. It is a sad but true fact. Right now, my girls are still at the age where they do everything like no one is watching and there is a quiet strength and beauty in that.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

The video bothered me a lot, then again I knew this day was coming. My oldest is about to be 10 and I have worked her entire life to make sure that she NEVER sees “like a girl” in a negative way. I want her to always know and accept that she is as good, as strong, capable and intelligent as any boy. If anything, I want my girls to know they are special because not only can they do every thing that men can do, we can do one thing that they can’t…conceive and give birth to a child. We are stronger in that capacity than any man can ever hope to be because we are the keepers of the world.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

I think I’m doing a pretty good job, my girls look completely baffled when I ask them to do anything “like a girl” I have to clarify…just do it the way you do it. I’m pretty proud of that and them. Like a girl should be synonymous with Like a boss because that is how we do it around here.

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

I think my girls are the two most amazing creatures I know. They are strong, bold and fierce in ways I only wish that I was. I watch them grow in awe and humbled by their spirit. They inspire me to fight harder, to be better to make this world better for them….to make it what they deserve.

What does ” like a girl ” mean in your house?

raising girls, Like a girl, #LikeAGirl

3 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
i love you more, daughter, mother, not listening, growing pains

Dear sweet little girl of mine,

You steal my heart with every glance. You can be the sweetest, kindest, most loving little soul that ever lived and then you can not be just as quickly. I don’t know what it was that set you off this morning.

You had plenty of sleep.

I woke you in plenty of time.

You didn’t even have to wear a uniform today.

All you had to do was wake up, put on something you actually wanted to wear, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and go to school.

At 7:15 a.m when you finally came downstairs, you yelled at me because you couldn’t find the one pair of jeans that you wanted to wear (because the other 500 pairs are not “the One”) then you proclaimed that you wanted to take lunch.

Your hair wasn’t brushed. You were indecisive and sarcastic about your breakfast choice and you lost your mind over a pair of socks. SOCKS!

I am trying to make your lunch because you “HATE” the egg omelets that they are serving today. It’s 7:25 and in your haste and anger, you spilt a drop of milk from down your too-thin, already vetoed shirt. At which point you stomp off barefooted, yelling back to me at 7:27, “I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY MOM!”

I’m not. I’m REALLY not.

Your sister has dressed herself, eaten breakfast and brushed her teeth today. She has also assembled both backpacks and is now looking for gloves for you both. You still don’t have on any socks, nor are your teeth brushed as you dump your breakfast down the kitchen sink. It’s 7:35, we were supposed to have left 5 minutes ago.

Beloved child of mine, I know that at the tender age of 7-years-old socks, shirts and lunch seem like BIG problems but they’re not. I lost a job, there’s a blizzard outside, I’m trying to quit sugar, I have 47 grey hairs, I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs, I have bills to pay and it’s “that” time of the month. Please, stop tap dancing on my nerves. It’s taking every ounce of my strength not to shake you.

At 7:43, when books are being thrown about and feet are being stomped, I offer to brush your hair to which you roll your eyes at me. I roll mine too.

Your sister is standing at the front door, sweating in full winter gear, trying not to pass out while holding your backpack, violin and COLD LUNCH. As I brush your hair, I try to remember how sweet and kind you are when you cuddle deep into me every night before bedtime. I try to remember that beautiful glorious smile that lights up my life;  your tiny voice whispering, “I love you, mommy” and the sticky love notes you leave me all over the house. I try to remember that you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Then you grunt and startle me back to reality. It’s 7:45, school begins in 5 minutes.

You growl and mutter something ugly under your breath, I honestly can’t even remember what it was. I tell you how very disappointed I am in your behavior this morning. I inform you that you will be grounded from all electronics for the duration of the week. You begin to sob inconsolably. I’m not sure if it’s the loss of the electronics or my disappointment that has caused this outburst.

Finally, 7:47 a.m. we are headed out the door. You are annoyed at me that you will be late. I hold my tongue. As we pull away, you yell, “I forgot my ballet shoes.” Before I can respond, you begin to sob again.

“I’ll find them. Don’t worry.” You continue to sob.

We arrive at school, 4 minutes late. Before jumping out of the car, you unbuckle yourself, jump forward and hug me tightly, “I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you more!” I say to both my girls, as the other one jumps forward and gives me a kiss and squeezes me from behind. It’s 7:54 a.m. and I am spent. Even after all of this, the saddest part of my day is watching you both walk away.

daughter, not listening, growing up, I love you more

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love You More!

 

 

3 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Disney,Sleeping beauty, sponsored, dreams for our children

When you have a baby, you instantly have dreams for them, before they are ever born. It’s all part of loving them unconditionally. We want them to have, be and do everything they could ever dream of. We dream of a “perfect” life for them, one in which they enjoy all the good that the world has to offer. We dream of our children having lives filled with happiness, health, marriage, career success and 2.5 children. We have dreams of six figure salaries and big houses in gated communities. We dream of our children never having to want for anything and never feeling any of the world’s pain and hurt. In short, our dreams are big and beautiful but not very realistic.

 

I decided early on, after actually having children, that I couldn’t control what my daughters’ dreams were going to be. Their dreams are their dreams, not mine. The dreams I have, are my dreams for them and the two may not be anything alike and that is all right. I’ve streamlined my dreams for them, all I really want for my children are health and happiness; whatever their happiness may look like, I want them to have that. If there were room, I’d love for them to get to pursue their passions.

 

From the moment I found out that I was pregnant with little girls, my brain was flooded with pink, taffeta, tulle and hair bows as big as Gerbera daisies, ballet and all things girly. My head was swimming with all the possibilities to share with my girls; all the likes and dislikes. Like most parents, my children were, in a way, an opportunity to give them all that I never had and always wanted or to recreate all of my favorite memories from my own childhood. It was a chance to help someone else avoid making those mistakes that I had already experienced. I know, when I read it out loud it sounds like I’m some crazy stage mom. I’m not. I just always try to afford my daughters every opportunity that they want; every chance to be who they want to be.

 

I have two daughters. One daughter is all about everything prim, proper and princess. She loves the refinement of ballet, all things pink (in all shades) and the fancier and girlier something is, the better it is in her mind. She loves big full dresses and giant hair flowers. She fulfills every one of those fantasies I had when I first found out that I was pregnant with a girl. She is obedient, pensive, social, philanthropic and kind. She is very Audrey Hepburn. Everyone who meets her tells me what a pleasure she is to be around. I am proud of her. She says that when she grows up, she wants to be a fashion designer and a mother of 4. She wants it all and I respect that but I know there will be choices that will have to be made with those dreams; sacrifices to be made.

 

My youngest daughter loves blue and green, which also happen to be my favorite colors. She is a little tomboyish and rough around the edges but she is 100% genuine all the time. She can’t tell a lie to save her life and she wears her heart on her sleeve and her every mood on her face. She is honest to a fault and fierce beyond any sass I have ever seen on another child her age. She is gruff but she is graceful and I see a lot of Grace Kelly beneath that somewhat wild first impression. When she dances, it’s like a soft breeze blowing off the ocean. She loves animals and says when she grows up she wants to go to Purdue (where her father and I went) and be a veterinarian. She’s 7 but she says she’s not sure she wants kids. I know this might change but it also might not.

 

Their dreams are big and beautiful in their own way. I hope they get everything they desire out of life but, as their mother, all I really want them to have is health, love and happiness. I don’t care who it’s with or whether they have children or not or where they live or who they marry or what they do; all I want for them is loads and loads of good health and happiness. All the rest is not my dream to have.

 

Speaking of Dreams Coming True,

Sleeping-Beauty-dreams-for-our-children

 

Disney’s Ultimate Fairy Tale, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition will be released on Blu-ray™ and Digital HD for the first time on October 7, 2014. So why not create some memories that will last a lifetime with Disney’s illustrious #SleepingBeauty- a must own for every family’s classic collection, and order now!

 

What is your dream for your child?

 

 Photo

 

 

 

 

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Newer Posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More