With Mother’s Day around the corner, my journal quickly begins to fill up with ideas for new posts having to do with Mother’s Day. While brainstorming, I realized that a big part of Mother’s Day has to do with how you mother–parenting I mean. What makes a good mom? Is it simply providing for your child? Is it packing lunches, wiping tears, and showing up for different events?
To me, it is so much more than that. I’m raising a little girl.
My job is so important because not only am I raising a little girl and taking care of her, but I am molding a young lady for the future. What I do affects her- what I say, my attitude about practically everything in life teaches her. Believe me, kids know so much. From the moment that I felt her presence, I knew that I wasn’t just me anymore– I became a teacher, motivator, life coach, nurse, driver, chef, stylist, and that times a superhero who multi-tasks faster than the Flash and flies like Super Girl to get things done.
So, let’s get back to the life coach part- yes, a mom’s job is to motivate and instill confidence in their children. When they are down, we have to be the cheerleaders in the background cheering them on. When they look in the mirror and cry over a zit, we have to tell them it’s going to be ok and that it’s only temporary- and then help them find a solution.
Growing up, I received so much love and support from my mother and from the women in my life like my aunts and grandmothers.
However, there’s always that one person that speaks without thinking. I have to say that that was and still to this day is my grandmother (my mother’s mother). Sure, she was always there for me and still is thankfully. And she has a good side but one of her flaws is saying mean things without knowing how much they hurt.
This is a common thing for Latinas. They can be critical and make sure to point out your every flaw. The woman could surely say the wrong thing to a girl. I remember hearing comments from her like. “oh look at her hips, I used to be like that, you’ll change.” or “you’re not that pretty I don’t know why people say you are.” to me even in front of my friends. You can imagine how insecure this made me from a young age. (And she would wonder why I would catch an attitude with her or try to avoid her at times.)
Later on, when I became pregnant with my daughter, I was huge (for my small frame). I was swollen and gained a lot of water weight. No pregnant woman wants to hear that she has gained a ton of weight or that she looks too big. And these were the things I would hear from my dear grandmother. And even after that, she comments on everything about me and I patiently ignore her because she is simply older and well, ignorant at times. I never really told her how much the things that she said bothered me until after I became an adult.
It was on a day where is she and my aunt and I were out shopping with my cousin who was only 14 at the time.
My cousin was trying on dresses for a special occasion. She’s not a tiny girl but she isn’t huge either. She’s healthy and just fine but because the clothes weren’t quite fitting her as her mother wanted them to, between her and my grandmother- the comments started. My aunt began to comment about how she had such a great figure at that age and that it was a shame that her daughter did not take after her. My grandmother nodded her head and agreed. Meanwhile, my blood was boiling. I couldn’t believe that we were standing in a dressing room helping this child choose a dress and ripping apart her confidence. How is that right?!
Can you imagine being in your underwear and the people closest to you pointing out your flaws?
It’s like a nightmare. It was in that moment when I scolded both of them and said “Please don’t do that. Please do not say those things. She is perfect and healthy. She’s a growing girl and you are trying women’s dresses on her- of course, the fit will not be perfect.” Infuriated by what I just witnessed, I took my daughter’s hand and just walked away because I didn’t want to hear anymore. I saw what my grandmother taught my aunt to do and I saw my aunt doing the same thing to her daughter.
I swore to myself that I would never do the same things to my child.
It wasn’t until recently that I told my grandmother how mean she has been to me at times. To my surprise, instead of saying something witty like she always does, she brushed me off and said she would never do such a thing had no idea what I was talking about, and walked away. She quickly changed the subject, too. My mother knows how I feel about this. I asked her to never ever do that with my child. Unlike me, I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy, positive mind and know that we love her just as she is. I want her to become a confident young lady. The world we live in can be so cruel. Society has been known to steal a person’s confidence. This is why parents should build confidence at home so that later on, it’s not really an issue.
I don’t want to make this post too long, I just wanted to express how I feel about this topic because it’s something real. And I thought maybe I could help someone avoid making the same mistakes or maybe help someone relate. I feel that part of being a good mother to a daughter (or son), is instilling confidence and teaching our children to love themselves no matter what. People who criticize (or bully) are the ones who have been criticized themselves.
But because somebody did that to you doesn’t make it okay for you to repeat it. You have the power to teach love, kindness, and so much more.
If you’re reading this and it speaks to you in some way– maybe you are guilty of doing this or maybe someone did to you- remember, it’s never too late to start over and make things right.
To help get you started, I’ve created a list of 10 things you should tell your daughter (often).
And here’s an idea…print these out and post them on her mirror so she is reminded of all these positive messages daily.