On Beauty

When I found out that we were expecting a daughter, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest, (though I'm certain it would have happened no matter the gender.) The girly girl that I am was elated at the chance to buy dresses and bows and lots of pink. Even though we'd have been just as thrilled for an adorable little boy, (and hope to have one someday), there was something inside me that was just giddy at the thought of raising a daughter. And a little scared.

It got me to thinking about the enormous job of raising a confident, self-assured daughter.

I recently read this beautifully written post by Erin about how she's teaching her boys the meaning of true beauty. (If you haven't read it, please, please do.)

It's no secret that there's an incredible amount of stress and responsibility that comes with raising any child, boy or girl. Teaching them right from wrong, guiding their moral compasses, making them feel loved and wanted, helping mold them into decent human beings and giving them confidence, while also keeping them grounded. It's more than any new parent can wrap her head around.

How will I instill in Caroline the meaning of real, genuine beauty? How will I help her to feel physically beautiful, while also teaching her the importance inward prettiness? How, in a world filled with such rigid standards of female attractiveness, will I teach her to accept and love her imperfections when I still struggle with the acceptance of my own? {You can read about my journey here.}

It hit me recently: I'm going to have to change the way I speak of myself if I'm going to give this baby girl the confidence she deserves.

How many of us have stood in front of a mirror this week and said something similar to the following?

"Gaw, I look so _______."
(Fill in your own blank. Fat, bloated, pasty, tired, frumpy, bony, frizzy, plain, etc.)

But I never, ever want her to hear those words. I never want her to think it's okay or normal or even expected for her to speak such harsh words to herself.

I also want her to be an example to her friends. An example of a young lady who is confident in her abilities, in her talents and content with her physical self. A person that others want to be around because, in feeling good about herself, she encourages others and elevates their self-esteem, too.

And I know that this all starts with me.

My prayers this week have been for God to help me speak kindly to myself; to give me the tools to teach Caroline that her beauty doesn't begin and end with the reflection in the mirror. I pray that He will help me raise a child that will love herself - every part of herself.

A child with a heart full of kindness and grace, who accepts herself fully and happily.

And that, friends, is always a beautiful thing.

Happy birthday to one of my favorite beauties, our niece Ava! Aunt Leslie and Uncle Stephen love you to the moon and back!


How do you teach your children the meaning of real beauty? Have you had to shift your thinking or the way in which you critique yourself?


  1. I read the post by Erin and loved it! It was especially relevant to me as a new mom to a little man. As he grows, it will be my responsibility to help him learn to see peoples' value for what lies on the inside - especially women, because for us, sadly, what's on the outside is how we are solely judged many times. You will be a great momma to little Caroline and she will see how gorgeous you are on both the inside and the outside. Love this post!

    PS: Random question, but I remember when you shared a Maybelline lip stick - which I think is the one you have on this pic - that was a berry shade. Do you remember the name of it? Our coloring is similar and if they still make it, I want to pick one up in that shade!!!

  2. This is so beautiful. Such words of wisdom and strength. This world is tough enough without all the self-doubt. I know you will be a great mom to Caroline and show her that beauty starts from within.

  3. This is such a beautiful post, and your baby girl is lucky to have a mom who cares about things like this! I think that it is challenging to raise a confident girl who radiates inner beauty in today's society but I think you're right on by understanding that the best thing you can really do for your daughter is to lead by example.

    Not sure if you've seen this article, but you should definitely check it out! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html?ref=fb&src=sp%22

  4. I am so glad you are asking yourself these questions and praying to be a good example. I think the best way is not to teach but to show and lead by example. If you think you're worthy your daughter will see that and know that it's normal. My parents didn't teach or tell me that we're all equal humans and that skin color, gender, or sexuality preference didn't matter they showed me by their actions towards other people and that's how I learned. It was a great lesson that I will pass on to my future children. You will be a great mom!

  5. Such a great post :) You will be wonderful parents !
    I love stopping by your blog , and again I can't wait to see pictures of your beautiful baby girl when she's born.

  6. It's SUCH a huge responsibility!!! You're going to do such an amazing job with your little girl.

  7. You are going to do an amazing job raising a gracious, loving daughter who knows how to be a friend and is respected. It is such a huge responsibility, and none of us are perfect in our parenting. But leading by example is the best we can do. I'm so excited for you, Leslie!

  8. This is such a sweet and amazing post, Leslie! I often think the same about raising my daughter, yet I continue the negative dialogue toward myself. Thank you so much, sweet girl for bringing this to my attention!

  9. Long time reader, first time commenter. This is such a lovely, thoughtful post! I had to share this article (it's been going around for a while) but a number of good friends that have little ladies have really been moved by its message: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html

    It encourages people to speak to little girls about things they are doing, things they care about, wonderful attributes of their character, instead of automatically defaulting to complimenting their appearance. Made me think! Best of luck with everything in the next few weeks, you are going to be a fabulous mum! x


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