I love having a little girl. While I would've been happy with a baby of either sex, part of me feels like I was destined for a daughter. I grew up in a female-centric household, and before my sweet mother died (and before I was pregnant), I told her the name of my daughter, should I ever have one. Her eyes filled with tears, as she loved it; and lo and behold, years later, I had one. Seems like it was meant to be.
But also, having a girl, like having a boy, comes with a specific set of challenges. We live in a society where women are supposed to be "pretty", thin, "good", demure; and we're bombarded with unrealistic images of airbrushed celebs and reality TV centered around women arguing with one another.
As parents, we'll never be able to shelter our daughters from these things. But we can try our damnedest to instill good values and healthy self-images, so they don't take over.
Here are 5 things I'll never do in front of my daughter.
1. Look in the mirror and critique myself. I hate my hair. Ugh, my eyebrows need to get waxed. I look old and tired. Sadly, rare is the woman who looks in the mirror and only focuses on the things she likes about herself. I want my daughter (all of our daughters) to be one of these women. Why are we conditioned to critique ourselves? This is no way to live. I want to learn to love my reflection, regardless of my age or how badly my roots are showing -- not only for myself, but so my daughter cultivates a healthy image of herself. Children's inner voices are a result of what their parents say and do.
2. Weigh myself. Truth be told, I don't own a scale, so this shouldn't be a problem. But the whole weighing ourselves in front of our kids -- obsessively -- clearly does more harm than good. I want my child to have a healthy relationship with food and a positive body image, regardless of her shape. I don't ever want her to be a slave to some silly little number. It means nothing. She's gorgeous inside and out no matter what.
3. Talk sh*t -- especially about other women. We should unite, not cut each other down. As ridiculous and idiotic as this sounds, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice is a prime example of why you shouldn't talk about other people in front of your children (or at all!). Her daughters now make fun of the very same people Teresa talks about. And talking smack about everyone is going to be a hard habit to break when you start that young. I want my daughter to see the good in other people, not focus on the bad.
4. Speaking of Real Housewives ... no watching reality TV and/or read trashy magazines in front of her. While part of my job entails writing about Kim Kardashian (and, yes, it's fun), it's not my entire life. I don't ever turn the television on in front of my daughter now, and while I obviously will at some point, she won't see what a Kardashian or a Bachelorette looks like for a long, long time. These things are a fun way for adults to wind down at the end of the day, but they're mindless, superficial, and of absolutely no benefit to children. They focus on appearance and cutting other women down. They shouldn't be part of a child's life.
5. Focus on appearance -- anyone's appearance -- whether it's positive or not. While it's natural to say "She's so pretty" after seeing a gorgeous celeb, or "I love her haircut" after passing a woman with a hairstyle you admire, I don't want my daughter to focus on appearance first. I want her to know that it's what's inside that's important. It's nice to look nice, but that, by no stretch, is what matters most.
What things do you do/don't do in front of your kids to instill good values?
Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside