There were several things in having a girl the second time around that really blew me away. Like when a friend told me years ago that by the age of 2 she would be dictating what dress she wore and throwing herself on the floor when a pair of shorts or leggings were dusted off from the back of the cupboard. Or that by the age of 3 she non-stop talked about sparkly, pretty things and the colour pink. She owns more handbags than me and she actually uses them more than I do. Her handbag probably has about as much junk as mine does in there.
My daughter was ‘girly’ girl from the moment she came into this world. I am a firm believer in that. She had boys toys up until she was 1 due to having an older brother and once she got given a baby and a pram and some things with sparkles on them, her eyes became about 5 sizes larger than they already were. Not much has changed and now at 4 1/2 she loves sparkles, jewels, Barbies and handbags.
I have never been particularly girly. I own 6 dresses that come out from time to time. I am a jeans and pants girl and really always have been. My own mother always looked immaculate. She was of that generation that you did NOT leave the house without lipstick and as she worked at the school I went to people would actually tell me they knew when my mum was in the corridor because they could smell her! She always had a spray of perfume and lipstick. Sorry mum, I do think she feels sorry for me most times I leave the house!
I wear makeup, trust me I need makeup most of the time but don’t like wearing lots of it and for a little while my daughter watched me put it on and it didn’t take long before she wanted to join in. I have no problems with her joining in and have given her a few lipsticks. You know the horrid pink ones that are always in the multipack? I let her use the powder, some blush and a little eye shadow and then she always goes nuts on the lipstick. She then asked me to look and said: “mummy, am I pretty now?” I stopped. She is already pretty and I realised that from now on in I have to be aware of what I want to teach her about how she sees herself in the mirror, how they portray how you should look in the media and how she see me looking at myself in the mirror. She is always watching and learning and I need to her know that she is beautiful inside and out without anything bought at the beauty shop.
So, how do you teach your daughter that she does not need makeup to be beautiful? What is the definition of beauty?
Beauty is from the inside. It is about how you hold yourself, the way you feel about yourself and how others see you hold yourself. Beauty is about looking after yourself on the outside. From exercising and looking after your body, the food we put inside our bodies and how we look after our exterior such as our skin. If my daughter doesn’t feel confident in herself then she won’t be able to show the world the beautiful and amazing person she is.
One of the things we talk about is that make up is for fun. During the time we are putting makeup on it is such a lovely bonding time with her and we always do have fun with it. We always laugh and I tell her that mummy puts it on just to have a bit of fun. I have explained that eyeshadow makes your eyes look a bit bigger and the colour of your eyes stand out a bit more but we wear it for something fun to do.
We talk about that we don’t wear makeup all the time. There are lots of days that I don’t wear it at all or a very small amount so most of the time she sees me put it on is when I am dressing up a bit more and going out. It is nice that girls feel like a little bit of makeup is special and okay and hopefully later in life she won’t cake it on her face.
I always ask her – “where is it more important that we are beautiful?”
And she always answers me by touching her heart and saying “in here mummy”.
I am big at explaining to my kids that they need to be beautiful on the inside and that no matter how beautiful they are on the outside it doesn’t matter if you have an ugly heart. I know that neither of my kids will notice the wrinkles creeping into the photos each year or that I didn’t have any mascara on. I want them to remember mummy was mainly in her gym clothes because she liked to look after herself and was disciplined with her exercise. That she looked after her skin and moisturised and wore sunscreen to protect our bodies. I want them to remember the constant nagging about eating all those vegetables on the plate because I have taught them the importance of healthy eating and getting good nutrients into us.
I want them to remember the times we discuss how we treat people, we say sorry if we hurt someone’s feelings. We stick up for our friends and we care for the people around us. The times I tell her how much I love her and list the beautiful qualities that she has. How almost every day I tell them how proud I am of what they have achieved or just simply for who they are as people. I want her to feel confident in the decisions that she makes as a person and to stand up for what she believes in. She should be proud of her personal traits and characteristics and use the qualities that she has to feel empowered about who she is as a person.
Beauty is so much more than looking in the mirror. It’s going to be hard and the magazines and possibly her friends will not make it easy for me to convince her of that through those awful gangly, awkward teenage years but hopefully I can teach her to be proud of herself and confident in herself and it will shine through even in moments of doubt or darkness.