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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beautiful, Inside and Out

Welcome to the October 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Instilling a Healthy Self-Image
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared confessions, wisdom, and goals for helping children love who they are. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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I guess there's not time like the present to let a couple things off my chest.

One, I have been losing too much weight. I seem to have petered out now, so that's good. And it's not because I'm trying to, but because of the combination of not eating wheat, breastfeeding and my high metabolism. But no worries, I eat super healthy and I'm taking care of myself.

And two, about 3 months ago, I started getting these weird, flat, tiny red spots on my face. I chalked it up to being post partum stuff...after all during all my pregnancies I get broken capillaries, so I thought it was just leftover issues that flared up when my cycles returned. But then they didn't go away. And they started becoming more and more. And lo and behold now I have a full blown case of adult onset acne.

It's definitely not pleasant.

But as much as I dislike it, I am mindful about not making a big deal about it. Because I know it's not something that affects who I am. I'm still the same person.

And how does all this tie in to building self-image?

Well, my Mermaid Girl is now 6 years old. And she is showing more and more signs that society's marketing traps and advertising schemes somehow also target little girls too.

She will sometimes remark on how "She isn't beautiful." Or, she'll say "I'm ugly."

As her Mama, this hurts me. Because of course I think she's beautiful, inside and out.

But when she speaks those words, I know they are coming from a place of hurt or fear. Perhaps she's feeling insecure about something other than her looks and that's the only way she knows how to express that.

So I listen and let her get it all out. And she's better after.

I will perhaps not ever understand why we tend to resort to negative self-talk when we are feeling scared or insecure.

But whatever the reason, I know I have to step up my efforts to ensure she knows that beauty is more than just the way we look.

And that's where my acne comes in very handy.

The spots blemish my face.

They are red, and rough and there.

Yet, she has never once told me I am ugly.

Quite the opposite, the other morning she said, "Momeee, you are so beautiful. You are always so lovely and beautiful."

She said this to me when I was still in my PJ's, without makeup on.

She sees past the blemishes.

She sees me for who I am.

Because that's all she knows.

Because that's how I've always seen her and treated her, and continue to do so.

And that's when my heart knew she truly is beautiful, inside and out.

It's moments such as these where I reap the rewards of my parenting. It's when I can say, "It's all worth it. All of it."

I know she is going to one day make someone very lucky by being their best friend (besides me, of course!) and when the time comes, she's going to be a wonderful mother.


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon October 9 with all the carnival links.)
  • Why I Walk Around Naked — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she embraces her own body so that her daughter might embrace hers.
  • What I Am Is Not Who I Am — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses her views on the importance of modeling WHO she is for her daughter and not WHAT she sees in the mirror.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Verbs vs. Adjectives — Alisha at Cinnamon & Sassafras tries hard to compliment what her son does, not who he is.
  • The Naked Family — Sam at Love Parenting talks about how nudity and bodily functions are approached in her home.
  • How She'll See Herself — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis discusses some of the challenges of raising a daughter in our culture and how she's hoping to overcome them.
  • Self Esteem and all it's pretty analogies — Musings from Laura at Pug in the Kitchen on what she learned about self-esteem in her own life and how it applies to her parenting.
  • Beautiful — Tree at Mom Grooves writes about giving her daughter the wisdom to appreciate her body and how trying to be a role model taught Tree how to appreciate her own.
  • Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Nurturing A Healthy Body Image — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs is changing perceptions about her body so that she may model living life with a positive, healthy body image for her three young daughters.
  • Some{BODY} to LoveKate Wicker has faced her own inner demons when it comes to a poor body image and even a clinical eating disorder, and now she wants to help her daughters to be strong in a world that constantly puts girls at risk for losing their true selves. This is Kate's love letter to her daughters reminding them to not only accept their bodies but to accept themselves as well in every changing season of life.
  • They Make Creams For That, You Know — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about celebrating her natural beauty traits, especially the ones she passed onto her children.
  • New Shoes for Mama — Kellie of Our Mindful Life, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is getting some new shoes, even though she is all grown up…
  • Raising boys with bodily integrity — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants her boys to understand their own bodily autonomy — so they'll respect their own and others'.
  • Sowing seeds of self-love in our children — After struggling to love herself despite growing up in a loving family, Shonnie at Heart-Led Parenting has suggestions for parents who truly want to nurture their children's self-esteem.
  • Subtle Ways to Build a Healthy Self-Image — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM discusses the little things she and her husband do every day to help their daughter cultivate a healthy self-image.
  • On Barbie and Baby Bikinis: The Sexualization of Young Girls — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finds it difficult to keep out the influx of messages aimed at her young daughters that being sexy is important.
  • Undistorted — Focusing on the beauty and goodness that her children hold, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children watches them grow, loved and undistorted.
  • Off The Hook — Arpita at Up, Down and Natural sheds light on the journey of infertility, and how the inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant takes a toll on self image…only if you let it. And that sometimes, it feels fantastic to just let yourself off the hook.
  • Going Beyond Being An Example — Becky at Old New Legacy discusses three suggestions on instilling healthy body image: positivity, family dinners, and productivity.
  • Raising a Confident Kid — aNonymous at Radical Ramblings describes the ways she's trying to raise a confident daughter and to instil a healthy attitude to appearance and self-image.
  • Instilling a Healthy Self Image — Laura at This Mama's Madness hopes to promote a healthy self-image in her kids by treating herself and others with respect, honesty, and grace.
  • Stories of our Uniqueness — Casey at Sesame Seed Designs looks for a connection to the past and celebrates the stories our bodies can tell about the present.
  • Helping My Boy Build a Healthy Body Image — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers readers a collection of tips and activities that she uses in her journey to helping her 3-year-old son shape a healthy body image.
  • Eat with Joy and Thankfulness: A Letter to my Daughters about Food — Megan at The Boho Mama writes a letter to her daughters about body image and healthy attitudes towards food.
  • Helping Our Children Have Healthy Body Images — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares information about body image, and her now-adult daughter tells how she kept a healthy body image through years of ballet and competitive figure skating.
  • Namaste — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares how at barely 6 years old, her daughter has begun to say, "I'm not beautiful." And while it's hard to listen to, she also sees it as a sign her daughter is building her self-image in a grassroots kind of way.
  • 3 Activities to Help Instill a Healthy Self-Image in Your Child — Explore the changing ideals of beauty, create positive affirmations, and design a self-image awareness collage. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares these 3 ideas + a pretty affirmation graphic you can print and slip in your child's lunchbox.
  • Beautiful, Inside and Out — It took a case of adult-onset acne for Kat of MomeeeZen to find out her parenting efforts have resulted in a daughter that is truly beautiful, inside and out.
  • Mirroring Positive Self Image for Toddlers — Shannon at GrowingSlower reflects on encouraging positive self image in even the youngest members of the family.
  • How I hope to instill a healthy body image in my two girls — Raising daughters with healthy body image in today's society is no small task, but Xela at The Happy Hippie Homemaker shares how choosing our words carefully and being an example can help our children learn to love their bodies.
  • Self Image has to Come from WithinMomma Jorje shares all of the little things she does to encourage healthy attitudes in her children, but realizes she can't give them their self images.
  • Protecting the Gift — JW from True Confessions of a Real Mommy wants you to stop thinking you need to boost your child up: they think they are wonderful all on their own.
  • Learning to Love Myself, for my Daughter — Michelle at Ramblings of Mitzy addresses her own poor self-image.
  • Nurturing An Innate Sense of Self — Marisa at Deliberate Parenting shares her efforts to preserve the confidence and healthy sense of self they were born with.
  • Don't You Love Me, Mommy?: Instilling Self-Esteem in Young Children After New Siblings Arrive — Jade at Seeing Through Jade Glass But Dimly hopes that her daughter will learn to value herself as an individual rather than just Momma's baby
  • Exercising is FUN — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work talks about modeling for her children that exercising is FUN and good for body and soul.
  • Poor Little Chicken — Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets her feathers ruffled over her daughter's clothing anxiety.
  • Loving the skin she's in — Mama Pie at Downside Up and Outside In struggles with her little berry's choice not to celebrate herself and her heritage.

7 comments:

  1. Oh it's a scary thing, the responsibility to parent and protect these wee ones. It's amazing how pervasive the culture can be in promoting its distorted body image rules. It sounds like you're doing a great job of counteracting that message with a more positive one!

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  2. As a fellow adult acne sufferer (grr!), this post made me smile so big! Your daughter is awesome.

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  3. what a sweet soul your girl is.
    Do you think she hears that stuff at school? I can't imagine my 5 year old even thinking that thought at this point. But she's just started Kindergarten and it's amazing how quickly things are absorbed.
    I love your thought about how lucky her best friend will be. I happen to have a best friend just like that and it's true, I am so lucky.
    I also love your header with her drawings. So perfect.

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  4. Didn't I read that breastmilk is good for Adult Acne? ;-)

    Great post! I do try to let my kids see when I don't like something about myself, so they can then see that I don't obsess over it. I want to give them a realistic view and still be comfortable in their skin.

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  5. Wow, I hadn't ever thought about how we resort to negative self-talk when we're feeling hurt or scared... that the insecurity isn't necessarily really related to looks, but just needing a little extra love or encouragement!

    And I have to admit, one of my favorite things about being a mom is the unconditional love and acceptance of my kids... the fact that they don't seem to notice my flaws :)

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  6. Ah, yes, I've had adult acne since I was 19, and it stinks. And yet — even though my son sees the blemishes and sometimes asks questions about them — it doesn't affect how he sees me. It's a glorious gift they give us, isn't it?

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  7. It's such a beautiful thing when children can see past our (perceived) imperfections and see the beauty that lies within. Kudos mama- you taught her that.

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