When I was a little girl, I was big sister to an intensely colorful (as much in spirit as in appearance) little girl named Mina. Let me tell you, she would drive me crazy. I was the kind of kid that didn´t really want to stand out in a crowd, and Mina was constantly making that an excruciatingly difficult task. But I think that what truly drove me up-the-wall-insane was the fact that my mom would actually allow her to leave the house wearing a red pleated kilt with a purple polka-dot blouse (don´t even get me started on the footwear). I would constantly ask my mom why she let the kid leave the house looking like a crazy bag lady. My mother would very calmly answer, “If she feels beautiful, she can wear whatever combination her heart desires”. Obviously not the answer I was looking for.
As time went on, and I turned into an even more self conscious teen, I promised myself that when I had children I would love them silly, but would never, ever be that mom that allows her kid to walk into a restaurant wearing sweat pants pulled so far to the side that it looks like one butt cheek is on steroids while the other clearly did not get enough to eat. Or the kind of mother that is apparently oblivious to the fact that to that her child has dirty super hero rainboots attached to his/her feet as if life depended on it. No sir. Not me.
So here I am, many years and 2 kids later and I have thankfully matured a bit. I confess that now, when I see my skinny little midget run around the house in her favorite pink stained-at-the-knees-PJ´s and I notice the butt thing going on, I actually sigh (the lost-in-love kind of sigh, not the breath-deep-so-as-to not-throw-up kind of sigh). My kiddo´s have shiny personalities. Thank God for that. I realize their “experiments in fashion” will not always be worthy of street fashion photography, but honestly, that is absolutely of no importance. What is important is that what they consider to be beautiful or interesting be a healthy way of letting their individuality shine through. I can´t isolate them from the world and what we are told is “cool” or simply “normal” (hint at the unreasonable proportions on Barbie dolls dressed in tiny mini skirts and bra tops) but that´s where I consider having an open communication, setting a positive example, and working on their self esteem a priority. Now that´s important.
I believe that when we put too much weight on how they look, or what they´re wearing, we´re giving them the message that what others think of us is of more value than what we think of ourselves. And the only person who´s opinion of them I´m worried about is their own. Their self image should be based on love and respect for themselves, their bodies and the freedom they deserve when exploring ways of expressing their beautiful personalities, while learning the fundamental lesson of self respect. So if what makes my “little” feel beautiful is a color clash party, or a corny collection of headbands smothering her beautiful head of curls, (as long as what she´s wearing is weather appropriate -I have to constantly draw the line at cute little sandals in winter boot weather-), and I see her beaming, so proud of the little person she is deciding to be, then all I have to do is say, “Ready to go, beautiful?”.
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