This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Dove #YMCBeautifulYou program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
A couple of months, ago I discovered the first signs of aging on my skin – dark spots on my neck and fine lines around my eyes. Not going to lie, I wasn’t happy about it. In a few weeks I’ll be 34 years old, and I kept thinking; isn’t that too young for wrinkles? It doesn’t help my self-esteem that I’ve being dyeing my grey hair since I was 29. There’s something about these visible cues of aging that make me feel a little uncomfortable in my skin; like that’s all everyone will notice when they look at me.
My struggles with ‘exterior beauty’ began in high school when I got cystic acne. The way people looked at me changed – and more importantly the way I looked at myself changed. Pretty much from the 8th grade until my early 30’s I was always trying to cover up all the flaws on my skin. Even though my acne and my skin improved dramatically during my first pregnancy, it wasn’t until almost 8 years later that I decided to make a change in the way I talk to myself and about myself. The reason for the change was my daughter Zara. I don’t want her to grow up with the same painful self-talk I held onto for so many years.
Since my daughter was born in 2007, I’ve tried to look at myself differently. I started experimenting with fashion, learned more about make-up (and really started to enjoy it, not use it as a crutch), but perhaps most important; I started to write my truths and share my stories through this blog. The combination of inner and outer work has helped me feel better about myself most days, although some days I still relapse.
I view myself with pretty critical eyes some days, but I was intrigued to see how Zara views me, so I had her brother shoot this little video. I stayed far away from the area because I didn’t want to influence her answers in any way. Here’s how she answered the question “What do you think is beautiful about your mom?”
Honestly, I expected my wordy girl to go on forever, but these few words made all the difference to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it is to me that she thinks that my two most beautiful features are my hair and skin colour. My frizzy, crazy, over processed because I’ve been dyeing it forever hair is beautiful to her? And my skin colour, she notices that? When I was a kid, family and friends often called me out for my dark skin (nonsense, right? we are Indian), because my sisters are abnormally fair for Indians, so this was perhaps the most surprising compliment. When I asked her why she liked my skin colour she said ‘it’s bronzey and it glows.’
What I learned from this little experiment is this: mothers and daughters will always view each other in the best possible light. That is why we need to have these conversations about beauty in our homes with our daughters before the world tells them what ‘beautiful’ means. If you want to start a dialogue with your tween or teen and don’t know where to start, Dove is hosting free self-esteem workshops for mothers and daughters across the country this October with a focus on creating these conversations. You can get more information and dates here.
My hope as I age is that I’ll be able to view myself through Zara’s eyes more often, and that I’ll fill her up with enough love and confidence that she won’t need to view herself through anyone else’s eyes to feel beautiful.
What are your thoughts on beauty & aging? Do you talk to your daughter about it? I’d love to hear what type of conversations you are having at home about beauty.
Did you know YMC is hosting 25 free Dove Mom and Daughter Self-Esteem Workshops across Canada? Join us to start the conversation with your daughter about the real meaning of beauty.
We need you to be a part of the Dove mission to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million girls by 2015.