As a parent, I knew there were all sorts of things I would be responsible for teaching my children…their ABC’s, their numbers, their colors, how to spell their names, and the battle cry for our favorite sports team (can I get a “Roll Tide!!!”???).
Of course I knew I would be teaching them more ambiguous concepts, too…like respect, and obedience; that I would try to set a good example in standing up straight, and eating well, and exercising, and reading.
I hadn’t given a lot of thought to instilling a positive body image, though, but it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
I should interject that I don’t consider myself a “hair and makeup” girl. I have never owned a set of hot rollers…wouldn’t know how to use them if I tried. Before the girls were born, I wore makeup every day, but only the basics...I favor basic lip balm (or gloss, if I wanna get a little crazy) to lipstick any day.
When I was pregnant, I heard plenty of horror stories of new moms not finding the time to shower for days on end. I vowed that would not be me. And with very few exceptions, I’ve upheld that promise to myself.
So WOO HOO…I can check “basic hygiene” off my list. But it dawned on me not long ago that that is no indication of me being well put-together.
Just because I’m clean doesn’t mean I’m presentable. Think mismatched pajama bottoms and a random tshirt, sometimes paired with a hoodie. No wonder the delivery guy diverts his eyes and makes a hasty exit off the porch!
Of course I would never go out like that (making a run through the Starbucks drive-thru doesn’t count…).
But if I’m embarrassed to walk down the drive to the mailbox some days, what kind of example am I setting for my girls to take pride in their appearance?
And sadly, I realized I dress the girls almost as shabbily. They have plenty of adorable outfits they wear when we go somewhere, but at home they wear onesies and pants.
There’s nothing wrong with onesies and pants, of course, but in most cases I’m talking about last year’s onesies and whatever random pants are atop the bin in the closet. (Size 9m onesies still fit in the stride, but are short in the sleeves…that actually works perfectly as I don’t have to roll their sleeves up at the table, and if they do get a stain, it’s no big deal!).
As I step back, I’m afraid we look like hobos…clean hobos…but hobos nonetheless.
What kind of message am I sending to the girls?
That we “dress up” when someone is going to see us, but we don’t owe it to ourselves to look presentable on a day-to-day basis?
I’ve made another vow to change things up this spring.
When we do our spring shopping for the girls, I’ll still buy their cute outfits, but I’m also investing in a variety of knit tops and shorts, “outfits” to wear at home. I’ll commit to the tedium of rolling up their sleeves, when necessary, and I’m just going to deal with stains as they inevitably occur.
And for myself? I am going to commit to doing some shopping for me…to finding something that’s easy and comfortable for chasing the girls and dancing the Can-Can…but that allows me to hold my own in conversation with the delivery guy…one that sets a better example for the girlies.
I haven’t gone so far as to committing to something CrAzY like wearing makeup every day (although I keep up my lip balm routine religiously), but I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.