I was giving my daughter a bath the other night and I realized we don’t praise her looks very often. We want her to focus on all the other things that make her beautiful, besides her face.
I told her she was beautiful and she replied vehemently that she wasn’t. At first, I thought maybe she didn’t understand that beautiful was a synonym for pretty. So I explained. My husband was walking by and joined our conversation. He wanted some clarification himself, so he asked her to give an example of someone who is pretty. She shyly said, "mama."
I figured she’d say, Belle - we’re progressive but we’re not lunatics. We do Disney in this House. Patriarchy crushing and good cinema can coexist. I also figured that since I’ve clothed myself in a bathrobe for the better part of her life I wouldn’t register on her radar.
I hide under all this fabric, for comfort, for ease of nursing, and because I don’t want the mirror to remind me what I know is there. The softness, the extra skin, veins, rolls. You guys know the postpartum drill. But eventually we don’t say postpartum anymore; it’s just our body.
And I hide behind being a mother and behind cleaning my house because I’m not ready to unpack what’s left besides that.
My daughter saw me, she sees me even when I don’t see myself. And I didn’t know how much I needed to hear I was beautiful until she said it.
Our goodness, our worthiness, isn’t in question to them. Let’s try to love ourselves as our children love us.
(Last week she also asked me why my belly was so squishy, #keepingmehumble. You kid, you.)