We’re raising little girls in an age of Instagram, make-up tutorials and Spanx. And that y’all, is no easy feat. Our parents had their own set of challenges – I still don’t understand how they managed without wifi baby monitors and strollers with better shocks than our Tahoe, BUT they didn’t have to worry about their children losing sleep over the perfect selfie or low engagement on a bikini pic.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Your girls are 2 and 9 months. Simmer.”
But, I’m telling you:
THEY. ARE. SPONGES.
And while I’m giving myself grace in these baby years, because 9 months postpartum surely calls for the occasional, “WTF are these bags under my eyes,” I’m determined to be the female role-model they need and deserve.
Let’s face it. I can’t control much when these precious babies leave our nest. They’ll pick-up things their friends say at school and they’ll see local teens dressing like they’re on MTV Spring Break (does this still exist?). But, I can control what they see at home. And even with Kardashian-look-alikes on every corner, I will forever be the biggest female influence in their lives.
If I can get this right, I think they just might stand a chance.
So, here’s our house rules:
- We prioritize. Before you get crazy thoughts in your head, this is not an anti-makeup post. I embrace everything feminine that comes with raising girls – from princess dresses to lipstick. I put blush on B’s cheeks for special occasions and if I look away long enough, she snacks on my favorite shade of lipstick (Beautycounter, Sheer Lipstick in Petal). But, if we get a last minute invite to a playdate or Daddy comes home and asks to take his girls out to dinner – WE GO. Whether the stars align and we’re red-carpet ready or if we’re hitting the streets bare face. We choose memories over mirror time.
- We redefine words. I tell Bauer and Kingsley they are beautiful 50 times a day. Sometimes this happens to be after B’s dressed herself in head-to-toe jewels, but usually it’s when they’ve done something I’m proud of: kissed their sister, shared a toy or empathized over a friend’s boo-boo. Beauty is so much more than physical appearance, but here’s no reason to deny a little princess the joy of dress-up. It’s our responsibility to nurture their true worth alongside their fairytale ballgowns.
- We look over our shoulder. I’m not perfect. I’m going to slip and talk about the 5 lbs I’d like to lose or the varicose veins I’d rather not see popping. But we’re raising smart little creatures. Kingsley isn’t even 1 and can swipe left on Instagram stories. So if I’m spending too much time talking about my appearance or being BFFs with our full-size mirror (be BFFs with Beautycounter’s Flawless in Five instead) then these little ladies are going to take note. And it’s going to stir a self-doubt in them I refuse to be responsible for. So in this house – we limit mirror time and check negative comments about appearances at the door.
- We sweat. Well, at least I sweat – especially when I’m pushing a Double BoB up Atlanta hills in Georgia humidity. We don’t talk about diets. We don’t talk about fitness regimes. But we run. Because it makes us happy and keeps us healthy. We run and visit the horses. We run and pick the flowers (I’m sorry, neighbors). We instill healthy habits rooted in fun. And when Bauer runs through the house, pushing her baby stroller + scratching my hardwood floors, I beam with pride as she wails, “I RUNNING MOMMY!”
- We love. Not just ourselves, but each other. This sounds so cheesy, I realize I risk losing all credibility as a writer, but women can be cruel. Men, too. But women, we’re capable of a petty hatred that makes me shutter. Never will these girls hear me speak poorly of a fellow princess. I can’t slip on this one. If I get one thing right in motherhood it HAS to be this. Another area, where I sure as hell won’t pretend to be perfect. I’ve stumbled when the easy road was joining in rather than standing up. But these two sidekicks are giving me the strength to be my best self.
Like most things related to motherhood, I have no idea what I’m doing. So for now – I’ll use this as my playbook. I’ll make a point to run errands with and without makeup. I’ll lead the belly flop contest at the pool post-cheeseburger (a simple thing my mother has always done, that to this day, at 30-years-old, resonates with me) and I’ll be selective and strategic when using the word beautiful.
Memories captured by Brooke Whitney Photography.
Note: I do not sell Beautycounter. The sweet team sent me a few things to try, which I LOVED. Should you be interested in trying my favorite lipstick or B + K’s new favorite all-over-wash I’d be happy to connect you with some of my new friends. Just shoot me a note!