Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Woman I Would Have Her Copy

"...the love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy." ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 

This is one of those posts that I felt led to write but didn't really want to write.  I'm not good with putting myself out there and revealing my hurts and insecurities.  But sometimes, in the process of working through those things it's a necessary least it is for me.  So bear with me please.  I'm putting my heart out here.

Upon seeing my daughter, people usually say, "She looks just like you!"  Since that statement is generally preceded by an exclamation of her cuteness, part of me swells with pride because aren't they, in essence, saying I'm cute too?  No?  Maybe?  Let's just say yes they are, okay?  I usually say, "Thanks!  We get that a lot!"  But there's another part of me, a bigger part of me, that screams when they say that.  I want to say, "No she doesn't.  She's beautiful.  She's nothing like me."  Ouch, right?  Talk about an internal struggle.

It's how I really feel though.  I've had body issues and image issues my whole life, but I don't think they're any worse than most women have.  We live in a size 0, airbrushed world so it happens.  I had a light bulb moment last night though.  I realized that it's not that I don't want her to look like me...I don't want her to be me. 

I realize that 99% of my issues are that I am my own worst enemy.  And my daughter will be her own worst enemy too one day unless I do something now.  The way she views herself in the future will be directly tied to how I view myself.  The woman she becomes, the wife she becomes, the mother she becomes will have everything to do with the woman, wife, and mother that I am.  And don't think I don't realize that my boys are watching too.  The kind of woman I am will factor in to the kind of woman they bring home to meet their mother.  And I want to like her.  Really I do.  And hopefully that will be many years from now.  ;-)

No longer will I look in the mirror and bemoan the me with bags under my eyes.  Instead, I want to see the bags that are there because I stayed up late talking to a son who will be a teen before I know it, caring for a sick child,  watching a movie with my husband or catching up with a friend.  The same can be said for my wrinkles.  They are there because I've laughed until my face hurt with my friends, learned my lesson about sunscreen the hard way, and wept when necessary.  I want to see the me that is getting older, which is a privilege not afforded to everyone. No longer will I be the me who stands on the scale and grumbles about the number.  Instead, I want to be the me that knows my self-worth isn't a number on the scale.  I want to be the me who is more concerned with my health than what I weigh.  No longer will I be the me who despises the extra skin and stretchmarks around my mid-section.  Instead, I want to be the me who remembers that my body carried the 4 little people I love more than anything in the world. I will remember that I share my DNA with my family so some of the things I don't like about myself belonged to some of the people that I love the most and that there is something beautiful in that.  I really could go and on and on but it all boils down to the fact that I need to really be the kind of person I would have her emulate.

I will be confident enough to be nothing but proud when people tell me my daughter looks like me because how she views me and how she views herself depend on that.

This isn't about beauty.  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.  We are all who we are.  It's how we approach who we are that matters.

One day, someone will say to my daughter, "You look just like your mother."  And I don't want her to think that's a bad thing.  I want her to be proud when she says, "Thanks!  We get that a lot!"

Choosing Joy,

*Amended to say that this isn't the only thing I hope she takes from me.  I have many other lessons to teach her.  This is but one area in which I struggle so please don't think I only care about how she feels about her looks!  I'm sure other blog posts where I keep it real about our lives will follow!  :-)