She Is Her Mother’s Daughter

Yesterday was my sister in law’s wedding. I wasn’t sure which dress I wanted to wear, so I put each dress on and asked my husband and my daughter for their opinions.
My daughter loves to give fashion advice and it’s usually better than any advice my husband gives me. (Which is usually something like “I don’t know, if YOU like it, then I guess it looks good.” Or “I bet it would better on the floor so take it off and let me see!”)
While I was modeling the different dresses that I had bought, my daughter made a suggestion.
“Mom, you should try wearing a shirt that shows your belly! Those kinds of shirts are so pretty.”
(I’m getting more and more concerned that she may actually follow through with her dream to “work at Hooters” when she’s a teenager because “they wear really short shorts!” )
“NO way!” I responded.
“But mommy, why won’t you wear shirts that show your belly?”
I stopped myself from opening my mouth. I thought carefully about how I would answer her question. Because this was One Of Those Moments That Mattered.
Before I read the Life Changing Words, I wouldn’t have thought twice about my answer. I would have blurted out something like “Because my belly is fat and ugly and there are stretch marks and I hate it so much!”
But I know better now. I know my daughter is listening, watching, learning from from me about how how she will relate to her body. I understand that the way I speak about my body will have an impact on how she feels about her body.
Just as I was about to answer her question, she followed her question with a statement.
“Your belly isn’t ugly, so I don’t know why you don’t want to show it!”
I didn’t argue with her. I didn’t try to convince her that my belly is ugly. I just smiled and said “I know it’s not ugly, I just like to keep my belly private. Some girls like to show their belly, but mommy is shy about showing her belly.”
“Ohhh.” she said, as if she totally got it. “Well, I’m not shy about my belly and when I’m a teenager, I’m going to wear shirts that show it.”
I smiled. I smiled so hard.
Later that night, as the music played and the lights flashed, I watch my daughter glide around the dance floor, paying absolutely no attention to what anyone thought of her as she ran and twirled and rolled around on the floor.
“Just like her mama.” people said.
I can only hope that I can continue to be a positive influence to my daughter as her image of self continues to take shape. I can only hope that she always dances.
And I hope that when she’s old enough. (30? 40?) she still feels confident enough to wear a shirt that shows her belly.
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17 thoughts on “She Is Her Mother’s Daughter

  1. sherry

    You never fail to amaze me with your words.
    My daughters are 8 and 5 and I have to be careful too about how I say or express things because I don’t want my hang-ups to automatically be theirs. This mothering girls thing is hard sometimes.

  2. Gemini-Girl

    What a beautiful post! I wrote a very similar post this week as well, about how we as mothers are the ones who help shape our daughters body confidence. It is so so important that we watch what we say about our bodies in front of them, as they are little sponges.

  3. Michelle

    You and your daughter are both so beautiful! I love the last photo, you look like you’re having a blast.

  4. Jaime

    Good job censoring yourself. I too have learned to do it after hearing my then2 year old tell me she was fat. That word is obviously banned now.

  5. Andrea

    Love the pictures, she is darling. I love that she obviously had such a good time that her stockings came off :)

  6. eko

    I too noticed she is missing her tights — she DOES have a good time. You two – are amazing. I love that you are so encouraging, to and for both of you! I wish I had such encouragement – it will make SUCH a difference throughput her entire life!
    Have a most blessed Thanksgiving!!

  7. Alice

    SUCH an amazing story. She’s a great kid, and major props to you for doing this kind of work for you, and for her. (And for your boys – even though it’s very different for them, growing up in a house where judging bodies isn’t cool is always a good thing – for them and for the folks whom they’ll date down the road!

  8. SarahRP

    Is the G Unit doing an interpretive dance to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”? LOVES IT. And you look FABULOUS in that last photo. And I want your stockings. Check that. I NEED those stockings.

  9. Colleen

    You are such an amazing Mom.
    And such great photos. You both look like you were having a blast.
    (I now have to take a moment to mention the guy behind you in the last photo. He looks like he was having a blast. lol.)

  10. Jessica

    Your blog is getting better and better! Congrats on this amazing place you are in and look back at these posts when you waiver!

  11. Stefanie

    these are the important moments. I think about this all the time. I censor myself, premeditate my comments and always have something positive to say about myself even when I feel the opposite. thank you for passing that on.
    But more importantly, wtf is up with the guy behind you in the last pic? I’m scawed.

  12. Christine

    You did a great job answering G. And gosh are you two adorable. Love the outfit you went with! (Although I am saddened by the lack of belly. Next time, maybe) :)

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