My daughter was proudly wearing a new (hand me down) outfit to school the other day. As we walked down the hall, one of her friends exclaims to her, “I love your outfit! You’re so pretty!”
In true confident-four-year-old fashion, my daughter looked at her friend, nodded and loudly responded, “mmmm hmmmm”.
Without even thinking, I piped up telling my daughter to say thank you. She gladly did and then went along practically strutting into her classroom.
It got me thinking though, why did a small part of me cringe initially when my daughter verbalized agreement with her friend that she had on a great outfit and that she is pretty?
And then it hit me.
It was because I know this is not the response I would give.
If someone had looked at me that morning and said they loved my outfit and I was pretty I honestly would have laughed thinking they were kidding. Or I would have responded in some self-degrading way about how I hadn’t washed my hair in days (ok, that is true) or that they shouldn’t look at me too close.
And then I thought- why is it so hard for me to just take a compliment? Why couldn’t I be as confident as my preschooler as I walked down the halls of school?
I guess if I walked around that confident, it would likely be seen as overly self-absorbed, cocky or vain.
Can you imagine yourself or another mom saying, “don’t I know it!” if someone simply said they liked their purse or shoes?
But what is the balance for us moms when it comes to our self-esteem and putting it out there to be a good example for our kids?
What does it mean to have positive mom esteem?
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
Is it just me or is this one hard to believe on most days? No flaws? Just even thinking about that, my mind spits out a few things I definitely see as flaws. Are my spider veins a work of God? Actually yes, yes they are.
I can say I know what it means to have positive mom esteem. To feel good in your skin, to be humble, to not put yourself down, to take a compliment politely, maybe even without cringing.
I cannot say I live every day with positive mom esteem. In fact, most days I would say I am not exhibiting it.
I love the innocence and confidence that my four year old daughter has. It pains me to know that it will start to diminish as she gets older. What makes me cringe is knowing one day she will find something she doesn’t like about herself. She is perfect to God and perfect to me but I know she will not always see herself that way.
I work hard to keep my body healthy and strong but it’s almost like it’s become routine for me to also find the things I either cannot change or that I don’t quite have the motivation to change. There are days I don’t feel smart enough at work or at parenting and I am convinced I am failing. It is a constant push and pull in this life of being a woman and a parent.
I have challenged myself before to graciously take a compliment, to pay it forward and to move on without putting myself down. I try to do this in front of my kids so they can’t hear the real truth in how I want to respond. Now, again, I am going to re-activate this challenge for myself.
I am going to be aware of my Mom Esteem and attempt to build myself up…at least for today.