Are You My Mother?
…or my friend…or both?!
At some point, I’m not sure when, my daughter became my friend. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly it was a mysterious transformation into a beautiful, new relationship. Yes, I’m still her mother, but she needs less “mothering” now and more “friending”. I enjoy the amazing, unique person she is…more her dad than me. She is brave, adventurous, big-thinking, fun, and so much more. Watching her life is a great adventure!
When she moved away from home I was concerned about my fashion status. She was my fashion consultant and gave helpful advice on “what not to wear”! She helped me choose between outfits and shoes, tied my scarves, loaned me jewelry, and made me feel confident in fashion choices. I wondered how I would get ready for church without her?
I spent some time with my daughter recently and she mentioned how she misses getting ready with me and helping each other with fashion ideas. I told her I was currently working on a blog post about just such a topic. She suggested I write about an important issue for moms with daughters: don’t pass on poor body image issues to your daughter. She applauded me for being successful in this, but said she frequently sees the struggle passed on in the lives of young women. Important to her was my honesty in sharing what I thought were my physical faults, but learning to dress and camouflage accordingly. She said to remember little girl eyes are watching their moms and when we talk poorly about ourselves more times than not girls pick up the same insecurities. She emphasized important to her was that I never shared my image issues until she asked if I had any. Body flaws shouldn’t control us as women – we should find ways to control them.
One thing I shared with my daughter through the years was to avoid comparing herself with other women or with media images. No one looks like the women in those pictures – they don’t even look like that, but in reality are airbrushed and edited to look perfect. Comparison usually only serves to make us feel bad about ourselves or better than others. As women we must seek to be comfortable in how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and find our significance in our strengths, rather than our weaknesses.
So there you have it…from the mouth of a 20-something woman. As we mentor our daughters may we remember this important issue. May we help them learn to celebrate who and what they are and focus on the positives and improve the negatives where possible.