Thursday, January 16, 2014

Raising Girls is Tricky

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
 For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
 For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
 For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
 For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. 
 People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
 As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” 
― Sam Levenson

I am taking advice of any kind about teaching young daughters about makeup and fancy clothes.  What I mean is, Maeve loves to watch her godmother and I put on makeup, and she loves to wear dresses right now.  So I am working to teach her that she, herself is beautiful, without any outside intervention, and that dresses and makeup do the job of pointing at the beauty a woman already has.

I'm at a bit of a loss, as I was never interested in clothes as a small kid and makeup wasn't on my radar until maybe middle school, so I don't remember my mom ever having these kinds of talks with me.  But my daughter is just now learning what it is to be beautiful, what it is to be a girl, and I want to send just the right message, somehow.  Balanced.  Not that it's a woman's job to be beautiful for other people, or that makeup is necessary because I'm so ugly without it.

What I've been saying so far is that dressing up and wearing makeup are fun, that we put them on to look fancy.  When Daddy was leaving on his business trip, Maeve wanted him to look fancy and wear a dress and makeup on the plane, and while the image that ran through my head in that moment was pretty funny, Daddy very nicely told her he'll play dress up with her when he gets home.  But she's asked me a few times to wear a dress on days when that's not practical for me, and I've told her that I don't need a dress to feel pretty because beauty comes from how I feel on the inside.

All I can do is thank goodness she doesn't watch broadcast tv so she's not getting super weird, confusing messages about how important it is to be authentic, fake, beautiful, true to yourself, young, skinny, and attractive all at the same time.  At least, not yet.  I have a feeling this topic is going to be the cause of headaches for years to come.

Makeover day: pretty light on the makeup.

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