I am hard on myself, meaning that I am constantly putting myself down and sloughing off positive comments. I thought that it was usually inside my head that I did most of my criticizing and not something that my daughter would pick up on, but I think I was wrong. In the spring I heard my daughter, at this time not even 7 years old saying she was fat. This summer she told me she had fat knees. She is also self conscience of her smile since she has lost teeth and has new ones coming back in.
I look at her and I think she is pretty, I know she is beautiful. But who am I to talk? Constantly putting myself down?
So this summer I made a real effort to tell her how amazing she is. Also, to be more body positive myself. I have started working out again and am feeling much better personally than I have in a very long time. On top of telling my daughter how beautiful she is, I am trying to focus on other traits other than the physical – what a great reader she is, how helpful she is around the house, that she is kind and loving. Things that can make you feel great to hear that aren’t based on what a person looks like.
Looking good and being perfect are everywhere – television, movies, books, magazine, music – you can’t avoid it and I know that my daughter won’t be able to either. So I am trying to build her up from the inside so that she knows to look past what society says. To be confident and feel amazing towards herself.
In the midst of my efforts the perfect book came our way that I was glad to be able to share with Ava – Mommy, Am I Pretty? by Margot Denomme. This book is written by a Toronto Mother and illustrated by her and her two daughters. Margot, raising two daughters herself, knows the negative effects that the media are pushing onto our youth and everyone in general. She wrote this book to open up the conversation of what beauty really is for girls, their parents and caregivers.
Ava loves to read, and we often share books where I read to her and she reads to me. When the book arrived, Ava was super excited (it is pink you know!) and took off to her room to read it in her new nook in her room.
That evening at bedtime she wanted to read it to me, and I thought it was a great idea. She loved the drawings by girls similar in age to her, and the message in the book. It was a great opener to say how she is pretty both inside and out, just like Molly was in “Mommy, Am I Pretty?”. Pretty in the means of being kind, generous, thoughtful – how there are moments of true beauty all around us all the time.
Ava keeps this book beside her bed and is one that she picks up often to read. I think not only does this book send a great message of true beauty from within and how beautiful things can happen in ordinary moments, but I think also, because she loves to draw and create crafts, that seeing pictures from girls her own age in a published book, excites her. She has started creating little paper books of her own – drawing, writing, and stapling the papers together to share with us. Mommy, Am I Pretty? encourages children and parents to look within for the beauty, but also inspires small town kids like Ava to know that spreading the good message is achievable.
Ava also loves that she got personalize autographs from Margot and her two girls 😉
A portion of proceeds from Mommy, Am I Pretty? book sales will go to Meagan’s Walk, a Toronto-based charity that has, since 2001 raised more than $2.7 million for cancer research. For more information on Margot or the Mommy, Am I Pretty? book, please see mommyamiprettybook.com