I've started telling my daughters I'm beautiful

November 13 | Guest post by Amanda
By: LeyCC BY 2.0
I've started telling my girls that I think I'm beautiful. It's been so easy to tell them how beautiful THEY are, because it's obvious. They are the thing beauty is made of. They are the reason we started worshipping beauty. They sparkle and dance. When they're sleeping, they turn into soft cloud babies, little perfect tufts of white on the moonlight.

There are a lot of people like me. Women who know things. Women who have seen things. Women with diseases in their livers. There are a lot of women with scars on their arms and words that carry themselves like sparrows. There are women who were too big for this town, who had their backs bent carrying things like religion and a history that originated somewhere in the crook of a branch that extended over a stream. A place where a patch of the sky was visible through the leaves, where a little girl let her bare leg dangle too far down.

There are a lot of people like me, because we're all the same. We're all blood and electricity. We're lonely under the gaze of god. We're all wet with dew and swallowing hard against DO THIS, CONSUME, SHUT UP and BE AFRAID to die.

All of you women with lines on your brow, with cracks between your fingers… it's been a long winter. All of you, you are beautiful and so am I.

Long Island Children's Museum
Photo by Barbara Reggio

The thing is, my children are perfect. I am the grown up, so I'm supposed to show them everything about life. When they wake up in the morning, though, I stare at them and they're new. They teach me everything. They are babies and they teach me what it means to be a person. It's easy to see that they're beautiful.

I am slow and I am tired. I am round and sagging. I am harried. I am sexless. I am getting older.

I am beautiful. How can this be? How can any of this be true?

I don't want my girls to be children who are perfect and then, when they start to feel like women, they remember how I thought of myself as ugly and so they will be ugly too. They will get older and their breasts will lose their shape and they will hate their bodies, because that's what women do. That's what mommy did. I want them to become women who remember me modeling impossible beauty. Modeling beauty in the face of a mean world, a scary world, a world where we don't know what to make of ourselves.

"Look at me, girls!" I say to them. "Look at how beautiful I am. I feel really beautiful, today."

You Are Beautiful print by Etsy seller iolabs
You Are Beautiful print by Etsy seller iolabs

I see it behind their eyes, the calculating and impression. I see it behind their shining brown eyes, how glad they are that I believe I am beautiful. They love me. To them, I am love and guidance and warm, soft blankets and early mornings. They have never doubted how wonderful I am. They have never doubted my beauty. How confusing it must have been for them to see me furrowing my brow in the mirror and sucking in my stomach and sighing.

How confusing it must have been to have me say to them, "You think I am beautiful, but you are wrong. You are small and you love me, so you're not smart enough to know how unattractive I am. I know I am ugly because I see myself with mean eyes. You are my child and I love you, but I will not allow myself to be pretty, for you. No matter how shining you are when you watch me brushing my hair and pulling my dress over my head. No matter how much you want to be just like me, I can't be beautiful for you and I don't know why."

It's working, a little bit. I've even stopped hating myself, a little bit.

I'll be what they see. They see me through eyes of love. I'd do anything for them, even this.

I am beautiful.

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  1. Yes you are! Thank you for this. I trace my stretch marks on my stomach, and I remember my baby pushing on me from inside. I love my inperfectly perfect body…but then society creeps in, and like you I sigh in the mirror at those same inperfections. I will save this to remind me that I am beautiful.

    145 agree
    • The hardest part, for me, is learning to love the parts of me that I can't blame on having babies! It's been almost 3 years. I don't think it's "baby weight" anymore. haha. But, I'm trying. And if I can't change the way I see myself, I can at least be sure not to let my girls know that I don't like what I see in the mirror.

      62 agree
      • Amanda – it's been 31 years for me, but I still call it "baby fat"! Of course, most of that fat was already there before I ever got pregnant! It's still there, and I own it! 😉 You are, indeed, beautiful! And what you are doing for yourself and your daughters is a beautiful thing! You GO, girl!

        37 agree
        • After 31 one years, maybe it's okay to call it lived a good life fat. 😉

          35 agree
      • I appreciate your perspective on parenting girls–but first may I say that while I live in Texas, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and I am a HUGE Black & Gold Steelers fan.

        As a mother of two daughters and one son, one son in-law, one grandson, and one sexy pilot husband, I too had to tell my girls I was beautiful. However, what worked well for one daughter really back-fired on me for my other daughter.
        All of the role modeling I did: PTO, School Board, church and community volunteer, Girl Scout leader, working out for a healthy heart–not for weight control, caring about my appearance…for one daughter she looked to these things and wanted to emulate them as young adult,a teacher, a wife and now a new mother. My youngest child, who happens to be a daughter found my role modeling to be too high an expectation…too high to hope for, so she just doesn't try.
        Yes, I not only tell them they are beautiful, and that I am not so bad at 54, but I really encourage their dad to make comments about how we all look and for how we all give back and contribute to the world. His words at times are more powerful than mine will ever be…add into the mix a successful, dynamic, son…his words have even more impact on my daughters, especially the youngest.
        Yes, I have stretchmarks, saggy breasts, hail damage on my bootie…and I would love to embrace my sagging facial skin, but it is difficult when I really don't like what I see. But it is even harder to want to change anything when I have a daughter who feels that what the rest of us in the family have or have aspired to is out of her grasp. Somehow she missed the messaging. She missed the opportunity to see herself as a beautiful child of God.
        She is a young professional and I am blessed that she has a strong relationship with God…but she still struggles with her self-esteem. She once told me that she would never be able to come close to what I am or what I have given to others. I told her, she doesn't know what plan God has for her. I told her, I have failed miserable, but I get back up and keep moving. Giving her examples of my failures seemed to give her solace–that we all have set backs. In her defense she has had many more set backs than most. But, while it may take her time to get back up, she does…and she continues on.

        Hug and love your babies…but know, even through the grace of God you are doing all of the things you believe are right and good and loving…sometimes you have to recalculate and adjust your approach because each child is different and can hear the same message in a very different way.
        Keep up the great blog. I was happy a friend posted it on Facebook so I could read it!
        One last thought, as a mom of the 80's and 90's I tried to be superwoman…do it all, but I found myself tripping over my cape…that was when I realized, being a wife and mom was what I needed to do best and that is what I have done for 28+ years.

        128 agree
        • Kathie, I was so moved by your response. I think you're so right. It's not just us Mum's who need to change our perceptions of beauty and ourselves but that of those around us, our husbands, sons, society. For some girls, the message from Mum doesn't resonate. I know this was true for me.

          We also don't HAVE to be beautiful to be valuable, loved, talented, worthwhile people. Sometimes I wonder if this infatuation with our beauty, or lack of, is truly the trap.

          We judge our men on their success in life (work and what not) and our women on their beauty.

          70 agree
          • Yes! Lets teach our daughters they don't have to be beautiful.

            15 agree
          • The message I took from this (which I LOVE) is not that we should attempt to "convince" ourselves or our daughters that we fit any specific definition of beauty. Rather that we ARE, WHATEVER we are, IS beautiful. The things that make us valuable, loved, talented, worthwhile people is exactly what MAKES us beautiful. NOT denying our own beauty (regardless of the form it comes in) to our children is valuable.

            20 agree
        • As the editor of a blog called GIRLilla Warfare — this was such a great message. I work hard to combat the media messages that our girls (and US too) have received forever: You are not skinny enough. Not pretty enough. Not Enough of Enough — good for you, Mama — let them know you feel beautiful … and they will too. It all starts at home … Lisa Barr

          16 agree
          • Thanks for your understanding and meaningful comments. Now we need to teach our sons to respect our sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers etc…that is gonna be quite a job for sure…where to begin is something I have already done to teach my two wonderful caring human beings to respect the women in their lives…and it works.

            7 agree
        • Great comments Katie and well put. I agree that we have to like ourselves, it's natural to love yourself, in our private time most of us think we're all that. The key is that we must like ourselves and be accepting of life's changes reflected on us. Enjoy every stage of life, they are all too fleeting. I've come to realize that if I did what I felt was best with what I had, then that's all that can be asked of anyone. Life brings wisdom.

          3 agree
        • Hi Kate,
          I don't quite know how I got here … but I was moved by your reply to the quite enlightening post. I am sure it is not just women who feel like this… As a father of two, now 40 year old's, I used to think… 'It's hard work being a hero'
          Here is a workbook that I take my clients through…


          I think it will teach your daughter that the only thing she needs to believe in … is herself!

          You are a loving mother and I know you want the best for her.

      • An attorney in my office had a beautiful baby girl, and just three months later, she didn't look like she'd had a baby at all. I told her how great she was looking, and she said, "Well, it's been three months since I had her!"

        I laughed and said, "It's been 15 years since I had mine, and I still have the baby weight!" It made everyone in the cafeteria laugh. But hey, it's true. 😉

        20 agree
      • Strength is beauty. Smarts and toughness, hard work and softness, bravery and a willingness to be afraid, they are all beauty. Sincerity is beauty. What you wrote made me gasp at its truth. Thank you.

        73 agree
    • My daughter tells me all the time "mommy your beautiful, and your not fat." I always argue with her that shes wrong. SMH you are so right after reading this I will live it. Thank you for seeing so clearly in this cloudy world and sharing such beauty with the world. My daughter has been right all along how dare I question her pure insight with mine which has been tainted by mainstream. Thanks again.

      84 agree
    • My son loves my stretch marks :) We call them "Tigger stripes" because I got them when he bounced around in my belly like a tigger. I wouldn't wish them away…and it seems so important to him that I love them. I try to love me every day, and be kind to what I see in the mirror. I'm finally feeling beautiful because of my children. Something else I will forever owe them. :)

      63 agree
    • I had my daughter when I was 39. when she left home to live with her boyfriend in Hawaii thought my heart would shatter. was so sad that I would go into her room, take her pillow from her bed and hold it up to my nose to smell her scent. I miss her so much, I miss the baby,the toddler,the young little girl, the young girl, and now the young woman. I raised her all alone but it worked for us. I had tea parties with her, even played barbies, and I never even owned own myself…all the things My mom and I did not not do due to life cicumstances, because violence and domestic abuse lived with us…we were not close until I had my daugher Cheyenne. The closeness they shared was like watching everything I wished mom and I had shared come to life. mom and I became close because she loved Cheyenne so much and was so different with her. what an amazing transformation. when my mom told me she was proud of me,that I was a good mom it was amazing. we bonded,finally because I had a daughter, because my daughter was a miracle God granted to me…I was lonely in ways I did not even realize, I had missing pieces of myself I did not even know…but when my daughter and mother found love and then passed it on to me…all those missing pieces found their way back to me…I will never to totally together, but I am totally fine, I am not a hot young thing, but still I am beautiful. survivor of breast cancer,of a life of abuse, i began to live when my daughter was born..and oh the love, amazing. I am getting ajusted to Cheyenne living her own life now. we talk every day and that to me is priceless. she and I are best friends. mama died 6 years ago, it was devestating to Chey and I . I am grateful we all found a bridge that led us to one another…this bridge…so strong…so beautiful…called love.

      24 agree
      • Lorrie,thanks for sharing your story–it was beautifully written. Just know this—it TRULY does just get better and better. Even though your daughter moved out, I PROMISE you, your relationship will continue to grow—and the joy you felt all along will continue–just be found in different ways. If you're lucky, one day you'll get to watch her become a mother–and the joy you feel then, pales in comparison to what you've already felt. You have so much to look forward to! ENJOY!

        5 agree
  2. Wow – what an absolutely beautiful post by a beautiful woman. This is so touching and so true and so perfect. Thank you for sharing!!!!

    45 agree
  3. Beautiful and so very true. I too need to tell my children I am as beautiful as they think I am (even if my 10 year old daughter is quick to point out my sagging breasts and large pores)

    14 agree
    • My girl told me the other day, "You have the biggest butt in the family. Actually, you have the biggest butt in the whole world!" But, she meant it as a compliment, so I strutted it like it was one. :)

      139 agree
      • Hahahahahaha That is the perfect response. And so incredibly adorable.

        16 agree
      • Whenever my husband and I go clothes shopping I always ask him if my butt looks big. If the answer is no then I put the clothes back. My butt is big and beautiful.

        22 agree
        • After having children and my butt getting even bigger, my husbands response was " I like big butts and I can not lie…" I love that man.

          43 agree
      • That…is…bloody…BRILLIANT!!

        Good job. Don't teach your daughter that having a big butt is something to be ashamed of. Or big thighs, or a soft tummy, or skinny legs or whatever! It's all beautiful in it's own way. Why are we all so ashamed?? Makes no sense at all!

        24 agree
    • She is only pointing it out because that's what we (women, society) have taught her to look for . . . and now you can show her just how beautiful you are as you discover it for yourself 😉

      11 agree
  4. Every cell of my body agrees with you! Our beauty is not something to be diminished but worn like the soft scratches of patina on silver to create a more beautiful shine! We are what the future will be for our daughters and sons! Thank you for such a well worded reminder!

    39 agree
    • YES to this:

      We are what the future will be for our daughters and sons!

      Thank you for totally getting it. <3

      18 agree
  5. I can tell even from the way that this is written that your soul is stunning and when a soul is stunning its packaging absorbs that as well.

    Thank you for sharing this, lady of beauty!

    57 agree
  6. Excellent idea!

    I don't tell my daughters that I'm beautiful, but I tell them that their mother sure is.

    62 agree
    • i think my dad deserves the majority of the credit for my having a healthy concept of beauty (my own and others') for largely that reason.
      (though it does, i think, emphasize in some ways the cultural narrative that to be beautiful, someone *else* has to say so, which is, i think, why this post is so very compelling.)

      25 agree
  7. This is beautiful and wise. Thank you for this. And a Western PA momma to boot!

    5 agree
    • Just out of curiosity, why don't fathers do the same thing, take pride in themselves? Of course, I'm sure men could word it a different way :) but I've been thinking, it seems a double standard to look for the best things only in women. Granted, women are awesome!, but I think teaching kids by example to value everyone, including themselves, is a lot less of a mixed message than only seeing the beauty in women. Men have the same confidence issues; they just take different forms, like abuse of self and others, relationship problems, anger management, etc. I think self-esteem is an important lesson for all parents and kids, regardless of gender.

      30 agree
      • Jon, that is another undertaking that all women and men should do… as in teaching our young little boys that respecting the women in their lives. I raised 2 boys and 3 girls and my sons….did learn to respect their sisters, grandmothers and I taught them to always communicate with respect. There is no word "abuse" in the vocabulary of my two sons. I blame a lot of this on our media, Hollywood Producers and how films, cartoons present their own ideas into the videos etc. that the young boys see…even in music videos….Question: Have you ever seen any of these music videos lately…how they project violence toward women in these music video?….it is a shame. We all need to stand up against all of this "violence"…TURN OFF THE TELEVISION…COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILDREN TEACH THEM, THEY ARE OUR FUTURE IN AMERICA TODAY! They are lost, help them.

        2 agree
  8. Thanks for this – I think I may have mentioned in comments on this site before how grateful I am in my mother for displaying confidence in her unconventional beauty. She didn't say it directly, but she talked about situations where she felt attractive and confident and helped to teach me there is more than one, standard way to be beautiful.

    I think it is a really good point as well, that sadly we associate finding fault with being an adult, and somehow expect our daughters to 'grow out' of finding us beautiful.

    20 agree
    • Yes! We sure do. When our children find us beautiful, we say, "That's just because you're a kid and you haven't learned yet that I am fat and hideous."

      It's so crazy to think that way. Especially since I trust my daughters more than I trust all the places I got my ideas about how not-beautiful I am.

      36 agree
  9. Spoken like a poet. We need this attitude in more mothers if our children are ever to avoid falling into the pit of self loathing so many women of our generation wallow in.

    16 agree
    • Yes. I feel like… how did it not occur to me the second my oldest child was born that I should never ever put myself down, because she is learning from me?

      19 agree
  10. Very powerful! Thank you for writing this. My two year old daughter is quick to say "ooooooooh, Mommy look pretty!" when I dress for work, and I am equally quick to want to brush her comments aside. When I see myself, all I am able to see is flaws. But I'm going to try to stop. Because I'm beautiful too.

    18 agree
    • I do this too. Every time my husband compliments me, I brush him off saying something like, "Well, I've gained ten pounds." It's almost painful to just say, Thank You. But, I'm trying!

      16 agree
      • It IS hard to accept compliments. When I compliment a friend and she tries to deflect, I gently say "just say thank you." It always gets a sheepish grin. But I do it too! I got compliments on some photos of myself tonight and immediately gave credit to the photographer. WHAT? It's MY smile, MY bright eyes they see!
        Just say thank you.

        17 agree
  11. This made me cry. You truly are beautiful, inside and out. We all are. If only we would treat ourselves as well as we treat our children. We make sure they are healthy and happy, eat well, stay active, build up their self esteem, tell them how much we love them, how beautiful they are, how smart they are, and how they can do anything they put their minds to. If only we would be so kind to ourselves!

    41 agree
    • YES. I so agree with this. Would we ever think or say the things we think about and say to ourselves, to our children? I'd effing beat somebody up for talking to my child that way!

      14 agree
  12. Just reading the title of this post made my heart skip a beat. So lovely.

    6 agree
  13. I love this post so hard. When I'm getting ready to go out, my son likes to hang out with me in the bathroom and put on makeup. He looks in the mirror and preens with me and we gossip about how good we look and how shiny our hair is and how we can add some extra sparkle to our eyes with glitter. It's mostly just silly and fun, but it also feels a little bit important: modeling confidence and feeling good about how you look is great to thing for parents and children of all genders!

    Now excuse me while I thump my chest and sing some Christina Aguilera into a hairbrush.

    66 agree
  14. Crying at work… a totally new kind of beauty that! Thank you so much for this. The "I would do anything for you" doesn't ever seem to include "I would love myself for you," does it? And it should. Thank you.

    82 agree
  15. Thank you!! I started treating my face and self better lately (investing in some lotions and potions) and my girls have noticed and are starting to take care of their skin, teeth and hair better. Along with reading this, I think it's clicked – you have to set an example that normal women are beautiful women.

    14 agree
  16. Love, love love this post. And so beautifully, lyrically written. The idea of not sending mixed messages to girls, by denigrating yourself whie telling them not to do it themselves, really resonated with me.

    16 agree
  17. Thanks for all of your wonderful words, everybody! I am sick and was feeling awfully lonely, and your comments totally made my day. I love that we're all in this together, even on lonely sick days at home. <3

    17 agree
  18. My girls look at me funny when I break into song, "I feel PRETTY, oh so PRETTY!" They know I'm crazy, they love me and I hope they appreciate their craziness too! :)

    13 agree
    • Being crazy with the kids is HUGE. They crack up when I do silly voices or pull funny faces, and I love it, because I am showing them that I have enough confidence in myself to be ridiculous, to be the only one dancing in line at the grocery store, whatever. I want them to love life, not fear it. RAWR!

      13 agree
  19. Love it!! I am totally going to start telling my son when I feel beautiful!

    9 agree
    • Beautiful post by a beautiful person. I have two daughters and a son and I reckon sons benefit just as much as daughters in living with a mother who can love who she is and celebrate the beauty in her life. The experience is probably a little different for him compared to his gorgeous sisters… but the self respect is huge.

      8 agree
      • I would imagine for sons it helps teach them that beauty isn't what magazine and TV show him, but true beauty comes from loving oneself, as much as they love others.

        7 agree
  20. Isn't this the single most important gift we can give our daughters? A mother who knows she is beautiful? I am going to start today. Enough with lamenting over the sagging upper arms, the ten extra pounds, the bags under the eyes. Deep breath: I am beautiful and I want my baby daughter to grow up seeing this.

    20 agree
  21. I just Cried… Thank you for this.. I am a single mother of a toddler Daughter. this meant the world to me…

    11 agree
  22. Love. Love. Love this. Should be required reading for beautiful mamas everywhere

    15 agree
  23. This is fantastic. I'm not a mother yet, but it sure hurts to hear my mom complain of not looking like she did at my age. I've always thought my mom was stunning because she's my mom. She's the strongest and most loving person I know, I certainly don't know what I'd do without her. Thanks for this, what great advice!

    18 agree
    • Brilliant post! Made me tear up.
      I remember those awful shows about women hating themselves about how they look and then they get transformed completely. You just have to take a look at their children how confused they look when they get reunited.
      They just want their mommy's back.
      I can remember one particular show were the mum had a breast implant and face lift and was styled like an 18 year old. Her 16 year old daughters face expressed what she felt: she was completely shocked, you could see how her self esteem went down completely.
      We shouldn't want to look like our younger self. We have to let our daughters express the joys of youth. Cause it is now their turn.

      2 agree
  24. What an amazing post. It brought tears to my eyes and it hit home…hard!

    16 agree
  25. Thanks for this. Beautifully written and eloquently expresses my thoughts perfectly. Our children have so many influences invading their thought processes about what beauty is that they NEED this from their mothers. Thank you for celebrating the beauty of age, change, and death.

    2 agree
  26. Wow. I love that you took a few hundred words and used it to blow a whole negative ideology to pieces. It's so true what you said, and your post has not only had an impact on how I will speak to my daughters when I have a family, but how I will talk to myself when I look in the mirror tomorrow morning. You just helped uncover the lies I believed about my future self/ womanhood in general, so thank you. Please keep writing! x

    4 agree
  27. This is such an amazing thing to do. But so hard. But I want my girls to grow up loving themselves in the way I don't. Thankyou so, so much for this, I really needed to read this. I am beautiful! As are you, you are as beautiful as your girls think you are!

  28. I have come to know that I'm beautiful because my dear Husband tells me so every day. If I believe anything else it's like I think he's a liar, and he isn't. I have three sons; I have to believe them as well when they say that I'm beautiful. Everyone has a different standard for beauty; we all fit at least one of them. Thank you for reminding me to thank them without implying that I don't believe them.

    3 agree
  29. Wow, that made me tear up (in the best way). At age 48, my mother still laments over her looks… but I am built exactly like her. We are the same weight, height, clothing and shoe size. Anytime she makes a comment about her body, it usually applies to mine. And on the few occasions when she says something about my body, I feel like she is really criticizing herself. I'll never forget the time in high school that I told her I was happy with my body and felt beautiful… and in response, she told me I ought to do something about the fat around my stomach.
    Paradoxically, my mother is the reason I'm one of the most body-confident people I know– I feel like I have to own loving how I look not just for myself but to set an example for her, my future kidlets, and anyone out there who might be watching.

    7 agree
    • My grandmother did the same thing to my mother, and I have always held a small amount of resentment toward her for it. 'Oh you poor child, you look like me' is, in my opinion, a form of abuse. Obviously not intended as such, but it is all the same. Well done you beautiful, beautiful woman for breaking the cycle. My beautiful mother still believes that she is ugly, despite years of the rest of her family telling her that she is not. Your daughters (and sons) will benefit from your self love. Thank you!

      6 agree
    • This gives me so much hope that I can break this cycle. I also think that my mother has been slowly starting to feel better in her own body due to my pushing a positive self-image on her (and telling her that we look enough alike that when she puts herself down, she puts me down too and she loves me way too much to want to do that!)

  30. You're lucky to have kids to model this to. Some of us have nothing, and it makes us feel ugly, even though we know we're not.

    2 agree
    • Modeling self love isn't just something you do for children. We all have the same opportunities to model this kind of thing to our sisters, our friends, and everyone else who we encounter in our lives.

      41 agree
      • Yes! I've never felt better about my body than when I lived with three confident ladies who loved the way they looked. Self-love is most important to model for children, but if you can manage it, it's pretty infectious for everyone.

    • Even when walking down the street a confident woman turns heads no matter what "society" says about her looks. Owning one's self is beautiful and attractive.

      9 agree
  31. As a mom of two girls, I am constantly trying to remind myself to watch what I say about my appearance in front of them. Thankfully, they are the voice in the mirror that makes me feel beautiful. On the days when I feel at my worst, they find something to compliment me on without me saying a negative word about myself first and they turn those negative thoughts into big, beautiful smiles!
    Beautiful words to remind all of us out there to not only find our beauty but to honor it.

    2 agree
  32. Beautiful!!! When my daughter was born, I thought back to my own childhood. I remember thinking how amazing my mother was, and all the times I heard her denigrate herself over her appearance. I thought about the years I wasted with struggling with an eating disorder, and the hours I had spent in front of the mirror consumed with anxiety over my appearance. When I saw my amazing baby girl I thought, "you deserve more." I can't say that I've told my girl that I'm beautiful, but I can say that I've never complained about my appearance anywhere near her. And, as time has gone by, it doesn't even occur to me to do so. By choosing to act beautiful for my daughter, I've started to believe it.

    I pray it will be the same for you Amanda. It's a game changer for sure! Thank you so much for sharing this. Tears are flowing.

    5 agree
  33. I am beautiful for my sons.
    When I am dressed up fancy, when I am half naked with not enough sleep, when i am hungry, when I am silly, boring, stressed, responsible, sparkling, sad, creative, hilarious, frustrated, quiet, nurturing, unreasonable, and loving. I am beautiful for my sons because I am an imperfect human and I am living life. And one day I hope that they can each fall in love with a human who is beautiful for being alive and living life. And when they feel down, I hope that they find inside of themselves a beautiful human worthy of love.

    11 agree
  34. This made me weep. Thank you for the important reminder that I must love myself if I want to teach my daughter to love herself.

    2 agree
  35. How beautifully expressed! As a 54 year old mom of a beautiful 14 year old daughter, sometimes I lament my aging body and middle aged looks. Your words help bring me back to what is here and now – my own daughter's emotional and mental health, which will be a mirror of my own. Thank you!

    6 agree
    • Oh Anne,
      The truth is you ARE beautiful. She's gonna be just fine with a mama like you.

      1 agrees
  36. After reading this I looked at my 6 year old daughter and siad "I feel really beautiful today" she smiled at me with sparkling eyes and said "you always look beautiful mama"
    Thank you for this, such a wonderful message for us mamas!

    21 agree
  37. I love love love it!!! Amanda you have quite a gift! I love how poetically you wrote this, beautiful words, inside and out 😉 This applies truly to everything in life. We are the example . . . I love to use the analogy commercial flying has given us! When you get on a plane, the flight attendants remind you that "In the event of cabin pressure change, the oxygen mask will drop, please place it on your face first and then help the people next to you. " Otherwise, if you place it on their faces first, there may not be enough oxygen left for you. Now what good are you to your children if you have no oxygen?? If we don't take care of our selves, how can we possibly take care of our children? Not just physically caring, but mentally and emotionally caring for ourselves. Showing ourselves love and compassion. We are SO worth it!!!! Perfect! Thank you!

    2 agree
  38. What a beautiful story and new found way to show your girls what it's like to love yourself, flaws and all:')

  39. stunning. poetry.

    thank you for writing this and sharing it with the world. know that this piece has had a profound impact on my life, and, hopefully, my daughters' as well.

    1 agrees
  40. As I sit here nursing my daughter this post and all your comments, it reminds me to accept that I am beautiful in my post baby body for her and me. Thank you offbeat mama for making this community and Amanda for your lovely post.

    3 agree
  41. This is beautiful and amazing and brought tears to my eyes. Amanda, you've gained a reader today.

    2 agree
  42. Brilliant post. As a survivor of an eating disorder and terrible acne, I don't think of myself as beautiful very often. I work out to keep in good shape, I wear minimal makeup, and I try to dress nicely. But when I see myself in the mirror, I don't always see what my kids see, what my husband sees. I see the leftovers of a mama who battled anorexia and the scars of teenage (and adult) acne. But I am inspired to try and see more, and to let my 22 month old daghter that it is OKAY to think I am beautiful without being vain or narcissistic.

    4 agree
    • Thank you. And just so you know, you're one of my favorite writers, ever. You blow my mind all the time. <3

  43. You ARE beautiful and so I am. Thank you for your words that have validated a change in perspective for all those beautiful Mamas out there!

  44. See I can tell that you ARE beautiful by the way you write and how you put a smile on my face as I read (and no doubt on others' as well). In my mind's eye, you had a smile on too as you wrote and that is truly beautiful. Sometimes the saccharine expression "beauty is on the inside" sheds it's cliche and speaks the truth.

  45. My grandfather always said that a woman should have a few lines on her face, especially crow's feet. If she doesn't, she isn't smiling enough.

    18 agree
  46. I'll be what they see. They see me through eyes of love. I'd do anything for them, even this.

    So beautiful. I'd like to quote you

  47. Wow… Thank you so much for your beautiful inspiring words. I'm a mum of five and I know exactly what you're saying… You are so true <3
    I have three girls and two boys. To me it is as much important my boys see what true beauty is, for they will treat their partner and kids knowing the difference between pretty and beauty.
    So, again, thank you for shining your beauty. It will help me and a lot of "us" to remember doing the same.
    I'll share this post on my Facebook, is it okay if I translate it in Dutch?
    Shine on! <3

    1 agrees
    • It sure is okay if you translate it. :) I think you are so right. It is SO important to model this to our sons, too. I only have girls, so I tend to leave that part out. Thank you for your beautiful words. <3

  48. I've done the opposite to my daughter, like my mother did with me, now she's thirteen and when I tell her she's beautiful she says you're my mom so you don't know. It breaks my heart but I can start today and please don't do what I did. We need to love ourselves. Thanks for this beautiful post, I can't stop crying.

    1 agrees
    • Erin, print this and save it so when your daughter has her own children you can get it out and give it to her and tell her that you know you didn't parent perfectly, but she can read this and not make your mistakes!

  49. I cried at this. Thank you. Brilliant post, very powerful.

  50. THis is so very true. My daughter is now 18. Teaching her to eat heathy, and have a heathy lifestyle by living that way has been a radical change from about 7 years ago when I heard her mimicking me in front of the mirror, saying, "My jeans are too tight", "my tummy is too flabby for a bikini." She was 11 – and beautiful. That was the day I became committed to only saying positive things about my aging, imperfect, healthy body – because I am beautiful!

    2 agree
  51. My mother and I are opposites in nearly every way. Where her hair is dark and curly, mine is fair and straight and where she is slender, I am curvy. Her mother often degredated herself and even said 'oh you poor child, you look like me' and other awful things to her. My mother never put me down, but she put herself down frequently. Often a compliment to me would double as a backhand to herself. We learn that negative body image is a part of being a woman, that its normal and even healthy! My own daughter is just 4 months old, but already is remarkably like me. Thank you so much for the kick up the bum to stop fretting about the small things and start embracing my post-baby body. I need to be beautiful for her!

    2 agree
  52. Poignant post, Amanda. A Facebook friend posted this today and I think it speaks to so many of us! How brave to have put words to such visceral feelings. Kudos.

    So, yes, own your beauty… or FAKE it until you MAKE it–we teach people how to treat us with every thing we say and do. One of the most powerful tools I've discovered in my own personal struggles is the power of the QUESTION… small questions that need not have an answer. Like this one, "What if I believed that I was beautiful, how would that feel?" Let a question like this tumble in your brain during your days… our brains love questions and begin to work on them subconsciously the moment they appear.

    And, I wonder how it might feel for you to trade this: "I am slow and I am tired. I am round and sagging. I am harried. I am sexless. I am getting older."

    For this: "I am deliberate and hard working. I am mature of mind and body. I am curious about the future. I am excited by the desires of my body. I am older and wiser today than I have ever been and younger than I will ever be. This moment is mine."


    8 agree
  53. Thank you for the inspiring post. You are a beautiful writer.

  54. You are so right, all kids think their Mums are beautiful so we should shout about it and pass on our confidence.

  55. Wow..that was beautiful to read. Thank you

    When my son was around 2 yr.( 20 yrs. old now) I came out
    dressed up to go out and he said "mommy you look like a Fashion Grill" in his little voice..I laughed
    Two years ago my then 10 yr. old son did a Mothers Day project at school where they described their mother..he put I was "Real Fancy" I laughed..
    Im not Real Fancy and Im defiantly not a Fashion Grill but in their little eyes I was everything beautiful. Thank you for reminding me and making me think of how my actions, words and negative comments affect my boys and now my daughter..I am Beautiful!

    2 agree
  56. You pull beautiful words out of the atmosphere and leave me inspired and in tears.

    1 agrees
  57. ..aaannnnd I'm crying. Thank you so much for this beautifully written post. It reminded me of how important it is to model behaviors for my daughters that I want them to follow, not "do as I say, not as I do." Amazing <3

  58. What a moving and beautiful post. So glad I read this today! Thank you for your amazing way of expression! :)

  59. thank you so much for posting this. i realize how true this is for me and in my life. I think this is a necessary message to send to girls for sure but i also want to add – as a mom of a boy – that it's an important message to send to boys too. Raising their standards, guiding their impressions of women, and teaching them to value confident women and see beauty there will also better our society and encourage them to have more genuine and deep connections with women – whether they're gay or straight. A rising tide lifts all boats. Now, i'm going to attempt to stop crying and get back to work! THANK YOU AMANDA (for your sentiments, your message, and your courage)!!!

    2 agree
  60. I loved this post, so beautifully written, and so true. Thanks for the reminder that our children's reality and attitudes are so clearly shaped by our outlook and actions. I heard someone once say, "be careful how you speak to your children, it becomes their inner dialog". Those words really hit home and have made me ever more conscious of the messages I am sending my son every day.

    I think it's just as important to tell your sons you are beautiful as your daughters.

    2 agree
  61. Oh my gosh, can I just say that you all are breaking my heart in the best way. Thank you for all of your stories and for sharing your thoughts and struggles with me. I wish I could reply to every comment. I am reading them all with tears in my eyes. Thank you for being in this with me. <3

    1 agrees
  62. My guess is you are, in-fact, a beautiful woman. There is a fine line between self-confidence and vanity though. Beauty is nice, but being a good person, who loves herself — physically beautiful or not — is far, far more important than looks, wouldn't you say?

  63. Beautifully, powerfully written…and spot on. Thank you for digging deep, being brave and sharing. Your girls are lucky to have such a wonderful role model.

  64. Kudos — this is exceptional. You will be teaching your daughters that beauty, inside and out, is something we bottle in our youth and keep forever, not something we lose when the world decides that we aren't what it wants us to be.

  65. Love, love, love, love this! I know that I am hard on myself, and I feel like I am just a shadow of how I used to be. I look back at pictures from ten years ago and want to cry because of how young and thin and happy I look. Because now all I can see is the fat and the stress of the years written all over my face. But I am trying. I am learning to just love me, for how I am, because I want my girls (and boys) to love themselves to. My kids are all different shapes and sizes and I tell them how beautiful they all are because they are different. It saddens me to hear my 5 year old talk about being fat when she gets dressed. I hate to think she learned it from me, but I'm pretty sure she did. I make jokes about my weight and appearance all the time, but not really in jest. Thankfully, my kids have a better example in their father, who always tells me how beautiful I am, even though I may brush off his remarks.

    2 agree
  66. Thank you for writing this. My own mother was the hardened woman with cracks and bitterness. At 33 I still struggle with this feeling of 'not enough.' I'm not beautiful enough, brave enough, strong enough. It's changing though. I'm pregnant. My dear husband saw something in me that is enough, enough to love me and marry me. Now, I'm striving to be healthy enough to bring a new life into the world, so I can show it I AM enough. I AM beautiful, and strong, and brave. How could I have made it this far in life to not be?? I'm awaiting my birth this summer so that I can be different from my mother. I want to show my child that i am beautiful and that he/she can be too.

    1 agrees
  67. Such a beautiful post! I internalized my mom's "I'm too fat, I'm not pretty" far too much. I don't have kids, but I think your post is applicable far beyond just the relationship women have with their children. What if we did this with our friends and colleagues, too. What if we said "I'm pretty today!" and not "ugh, I fat today…" to our friends? (And not in a snarky "I'm pretty and saying it to make you feel not pretty" way). How much could we reflect other women's beauty back to them, and have ours reflected back to ourselves? Again, really great post and it gave me so much to think about in the way I think about myself and the way I put myself out in the world.

  68. After I had my daugther–and saw myself in her beautiful perfection–I didn't have to pretend to believe I was beautiful anymore. I was amazed to see in her tiny features reflections of myself…and learned to love my own body and face, flaws and all, in a way I never had before. I finally believed what my parents had always told me when I was a little girl, when I saw her the way they saw me. I just hope it doesn't take her this long to believe it herself.

    2 agree
  69. Still sitting here sobbing after reading your post. I can't tell you how much it meant to read this now. My mother is a stunning woman who has never been able to really feel that she is beautiful, even though my father, my brother and I have thought so and told her so for years and years. It is a deeply powerful thing for a woman to claim her own beauty, and even more so to share that with her children and with those she influences most. Thank you so much.

    1 agrees
  70. A friend posted this on her FB page and i am so glad she did. What a well written post with a much needed message… one I should take to heart. I have fallen into the trap of being super mom, especially to my son with autism. I do a great job as MOM but along the way I have lost me, the woman. I no longer feel pretty and happy with whom I am… who has time to worry about those things? Oh I can go on and think i will on my blog. Thank you for this reminder! You are beautiful and SO I AM I!!!

  71. I love this!!!! I like to whisper in my daughter's ear that she is beautiful. She ALWAYS whispers back that I am beautiful. It fills my heart!

    1 agrees
    • don't forget the whispers that she is smart, and funny and strong and a million other things. It's important to feel beautiful, but the true armor that we as women can wear to protect us against the harsh blows that the media deals us is to feel like we are so much MORE than how we look!

      My husband asked me a while back about how women who have always been attractive deal with their fading looks. He commented that it must be really hard. I told him that at some point those women either realize they have a lot more to offer the world than how they look, or they don't. The ones that don't go crazy with plastic surgery or wallow in the depths of despair. It's much easier to be a woman who's never relied on her beauty, so that as what little you have fails, you have a lot to lean on.

      7 agree
  72. This is so powerful, beautiful and filled with love. Thank you for writing and sharing these words. SO very much.

  73. This had me break down bawling at work. It is so beautifully written and poetic. Thank you so much for sharing and for being an inspiration.
    As the mom of a son, I have always been careful to tell him at least once a day that he is beautiful and amazing. I never really considered how I also needed to model what it means to be a beautiful woman to him. One day recently, as I was getting dressed, he came over and rubbed my belly and asked why it had so many lines on it and if I was okay. I realized that however I may feel about the changes my body made after I had him, I need to show him that those lines, and rolls, and sags make me even more beautiful because I gained them creating him. It's so easy to see the beauty our children reflect. Still, the body that evolved in creating them is usually met with angst and disdain. I want my son to be the kind of man that finds beauty in life and every aspect of its creation. Not the kind of man who grows up to feel like beauty is fleeting and change is an ugly part of life. I'm going to go home tonight and share with him all the things we love about ourselves and our evolving bodies!

    3 agree
  74. Amanda, this was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. As the mother of a young daughter myself, I've been struggling with keeping my self-deprecating thoughts far from her ear's reach. But to actually tell her I'm beautiful? Now that is a a challenge, and one, I too, will do for her. You are completely right; our children see ourselves through their eyes, and we'd all be more beautiful if we did too. Thank you!!!

    1 agrees
  75. this is so utterly beautiful. i am a momma with picc line scars on both arms, a giant backwards j scar on my stomach from a kidney transplant when i was 11, bony fingers from muscle wasting…and it is ALL stunning because without all of it, my girl wouldn't be here, because i wouldn't be here.

    thank you so so much for this!
    much love and many blessings.

    1 agrees
  76. Good gods, woman. How you just got to me. Right where I live.

    You are most beautiful, indeed. I hope everyone can learn to be as beautiful as you.

    1 agrees
  77. I've always been told I'm unattractive but my daughter looks like me and she is beautiful so how can I be ugly? I don't want her to have the same self-esteem issues I do so I pretend to like myself and I tell her how perfect she is. One day, if I pretend hard enough, I may believe I'm worth something.

    1 agrees
  78. Thank you for this lovely post :)
    My daughter will be 4 months old on Sunday and not a day has gone by when my husband and I haven't told her that she is beautiful. But we don't want her to think 'Beauty' is everything so we also remind her that she is 'Brave' and 'Smart' and 'Strong'.
    We also try to remind each other of the good qualities we also have (including being beautiful). Who knew being a parent would be *this* hard? 😛

    2 agree
  79. Truth, pure and simple. I had a "stealth ninja cry" at my desk, reading this after a friend posted it to FB.

    This is so important . . . my girls need me this way, just as much as they need me to cook and drive and read them stories and kiss boo-boos. I tell them about their own good qualities all the time; it's time I learned to tell them about mine as well.

    Thank you so much for this.

    1 agrees
  80. I will read this every day to remind me of how you wrote exactly what I think…thank you…

  81. I am not a mom but I did love reading this. My mother is the most beautiful person. She truly is a very attractive woman. She always taught me to try to stay fit, eat health, get dolled up but that ultimately true beauty comes from within. She got in a accident two years ago and has a scar on her forehead. She cut her hair differently until it healed but the first Time I saw her after her accident my stomach sank. She told me in tears that it was not her time be vain but to be thankful that she was okay even though i knew she must be morifed inside. I adore my mother and she has symbolized true beauty comes from confidence and within first. I hope I'm half as confident as she has alway been to me when I am a mother.

    3 agree
  82. I really wish I could do this. I know in failing my daughter by not embracing myself flaws and all. It's hard to change the way you have been brought up. I'm hoping if I don't say these things around her she won't ever end up like me. Truly beautiful post and well meaning.

  83. Wow. My girls are adults now, and one of them looks like me. She struggles with insecurities the same way I always did and still do. I wish I had read this 20 years ago. So, for now, I will change my attitude and hope that she will see and be encouraged. And I will put your words to practice with my grandchildren. Thank you for this.

    2 agree
  84. Magnificent prose. What beauty to find confidence in the light of your daughters. What confidence to use their light to help yours shine brighter.

  85. OMG did I love this post! I am slow and tired, too and I have recently started a blog reflecting on health and motherhood. I have had chronic health issues for a long time and I don't feel beautiful when I am sick. This post really hit a nerve with me because I think that emit looking ugly vibes and I can change that– I have the power. Thank you so much for writing this!! Many blessings to you and yours.

    1 agrees
  86. Thank you for this. I have been telling my mom that if she wants me and my sisters to believe we are beautiful, then she needs to believe that she is beautiful, because she is! I don't think she really got it until she saw this post. She actually sent me the link so I could see it. So thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    2 agree
  87. This post made me think about my son and what I am teaching him by feeling bad about myself. If he grows up with me making comments about myself being fat and ugly he is going to grow up looking at women like me and believing they are fat and ugly- after all his mother told him so. Just gives me even more reason to work on my self-esteem.

    3 agree
    • YES! As the mother of a boy, I totally see the ways in which the lessons in this post apply to those of us raising little dudes.

      2 agree
  88. As a single custodial dad, I try to show this same sentiment when my kids see me with my current girlfriend. She is beautiful to me (she has a hard time admitting that fact)… They get such a bad example other places, whether that is magazine covers, music videos, or their mom's boyfriend saying she needs to lose more weight (she has dropped an unhealthy amount in the last year and a half)… Thanks for this.

    4 agree
  89. I actually find it MORE believable when a child tells me I'm pretty. One day, I dressed up in my favorite flowy skirt and blouse and put my hair in spiral curls. Some people at work didn't even recognize me. But the best part was while at a store, I little girl walking with her dad stopped and stared, saying "wow, daddy, she's PWETTY! She looks like a faiwy pwincess!" Children can be counted on to say what they think. Why should it be any less believable, or meaningful because it's a child? Loved your post. I will definitely keep this in mind for when I have children

    3 agree
  90. I used to be the kind of woman who would make heads turn when I entered a room, I was that stunning. These days I can barely remember to get out of my sweats. My daughter is the one who constantly reminds me to dress up, choose shoes that are not flip flops, find the lipstick and mascara. I love that girl; at nine she has more than I had at that age. I know that I am not yet really hideous but I feel so and that my glory is now reflected glory, that my daughter is the shining star of loveliness in this house now.

    1 agrees
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