Say it with me ladies: you, me, we are ALL beautiful. 

Yes, I know. You’re thinking that this is yet another message written by yet another blogger encouraging women to love themselves…and you would be right. But my reason for writing is so much deeper than simply learning to love yourself for the sake of your own happiness and self-worth. No, it hits the very core of who I strive to be as a mom and woman and hits the core of the people I aim to raise my children into. And here’s why. 

Yesterday I was watching my favorite channel of all time, The Food Network, with my three year old daughter. If you know me even a little you know my deep love of food and cooking and my slight obsession with cookbooks. So naturally it’s the only channel I really ever watch unless “Say Yes to the Dress” is on. But I digress. As we watched, the commercials came on, as they do and a makeup ad played. It showed before and after photos of women before and after makeup. You know the ones. My little Isla turns to me and says that the people are sad and then they have makeup on and they’re happy! She even mimics their happy and sad expressions. Oh, these ad companies are good. Without saying a word they have already told my gorgeous three year old that women are sad until they have makeup on. They’ve already told her that who she is naturally is nothing to smile about. They’ve already told her that her gorgeous, big, long-lashed hazel eyes aren’t perfect until they’re enhanced. 

And it breaks my heart. 

I want my daughter to grow up KNOWING and BELIEVING that she is absolutely stunning the way she is. That when I look at her I think she is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen outwardly but also inwardly. I want her to grow up loving herself enough to not have to prove her beautify to other people and especially not to a man. I want her to glow from the knowledge that she is beautifully and wonderfully and fearfully made and that no makeup is ever needed because is 100% perfect in her natural state. 

But the thing is, I can’t expect her to have that vision of herself if I don’t first believe it of me. This might come as a surprise but I don’t wear makeup. I’ll maybe wear it once a week if the desire hits me. I do like how I look with it but I honestly really like my face without it and I have a husband who prefers me without it. Score! However, just because I feel confident with no makeup doesn’t meant that I feel confident in ever aspect of myself. Ask my husband. I’m constantly asking if I’m fat or tearing my body apart or walking around self-conscious of how others view me. Sometimes my stomach even hurts from keeping it tensed for so long, no something I do consciously. How’s that for honesty?

Yet, what my constant nagging on my body and complaining about weight gain or looking to my husband for validation does is teach my daughter that mommy has body image issues and that she probably should too. When she looks at me she doesn’t see the issues I see and frankly doesn’t care. So when I call myself fat when I clearly am not, I teach her that this is what fat looks like and that in order to not be fat she needs to be thinner than her mom. If you call yourself ugly (which you do by criticizing any part of your face) you teach your little girl that what she perceives as beautiful (because of course she thinks you are!) must not be and that those features that she shares with you should be hated. If we want to grow strong women who say no to the expectations of beauty that the world, businesses, Photoshop sets for them and us, then the culture of loving our beautiful natural selves has to begin with us. It just has to. 

Love your reflection. Love your curves. Love your freckles. Love your frizz, your smile, your tummy, your thighs, your arms, your smile, your teeth. Love it all. 

For the sake of our daughters, love yourself.