Hey there, mama. You might not see it yet, but you are beautiful.
Even when you can’t remember the last time you washed your hair or when your shirt is covered in spit up.
You were beautiful before you became a mom, and you are just as beautiful now.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel that truth, though. I get it. There are days when I dodge the mirror completely because I know the reflection looking back at me will be someone I don’t recognize: hair in all directions, tired droopy eyes, hormonal acne. (Ugh. Getting breakouts after your teenage years shouldn’t even be allowed. NOT COOL, SKIN.)
Between daily to-dos, I try to squeeze in a little bit of “self-care” and get somewhat ready for the day. I start with my standard skincare routine, the one I’ve used for years. I apply makeup with the same brushes and techniques I always have. And I style my hair with the same oils and creams. I pull an outfit from the same closet (often wondering when “oh, this old thing?” became less facetious and more literal while doing a mental tally of when laundry day is or, more realistically, how much longer I can push it). Nothing has changed . . . yet, somehow everything has. I feel like me . . . but I don’t look like me.
Long before I became a mom, I made a very important goal.
I promised myself I’d never say anything negative about myself in front of my children. However, even though they aren’t said out loud, the critiques from my “inner mean girl” aren’t always easy to block out. She’s still there, and she’s vicious.
Do you relate to this? I know I’m not the only mama who can so easily find the goodness and beauty all around yet sometimes struggle to see it in my own reflection.
One morning I was feeling particularly irritable. I had just given birth to my second baby one short week before and was having a hard time finding an outfit in which I felt confident. Nothing was fitting as I thought it should and even my go-to outfits just felt . . . “meh.” I was on the brink of tears. This body of mine experienced the most beautiful transformation that brought life into this world, so why didn’t I feel beautiful?
Once more, I dodged the mirror as I threw on a loose, floral-print top with some leggings in an attempt to hush the whispers of insecurity. As I walked out of my bedroom, my kind and beautiful two-year-old daughter met me in the hallway with a gasp.
“Mama! You look ADORABLE today!” She said. My heart skipped a beat.
“Aww . . . really? You think mama looks adorable?” I asked while reaching for a much-needed hug.
“YES. I love your pretty outfit. You are SO adorable, mama!”
My daughter really is my biggest “hype girl,” and I am so grateful because, just like that, my confidence was lifted. The most wonderful girl I know thinks I’m adorable, and that feels pretty dang special.
Our children have such a beautiful way of finding simple joys in daily life and sharing that happiness wherever they go.
That’s something I wish we kept with us as we grew into adulthood. I wish we could surround ourselves with so much excitement about the day ahead that it didn’t matter what we looked like on the outside. None of our silly insecurities would hold us back from our bliss.
I see the way my daughter looks at the world. And I admire the beauty she finds in everyday life and the magic she creates around her. I see the glow she wears from her happy, confident soul. I want her to stay that way forever– I want to go back to that myself. And so, I decided to revise my previous goal. I never want to voice negative things about myself, but that isn’t quite good enough. I don’t want to think them, either.
From now on, I am choosing to see myself through the eyes of my children.
Through their eyes, I am everything they need and more– and that makes me feel like a million bucks! Seeing myself in their light is one simple thing I can do each day to feel more self-confident as I navigate through this new journey of motherhood.
On those busy days where time seems to get away from me and I never have a chance to put on a stitch of makeup, my sweet babies don’t see me any differently. They could care less! They still smile up at me as they snuggle in close whether I’m dolled up or wearing my husband’s t-shirt with yesterday’s mom-bun. When I get ready, I do it to feel good about myself. But holding these precious little ones I created sure makes me feel better than good about myself. It makes me feel AMAZING!
On those days when we’re out and about and I didn’t get a chance to finish that laundry pile or organize all the toys, I will give myself grace. I won’t look around with thoughts of all the things I “failed” at that day. I’ll listen as my daughter tells me what a fun day we had together as she rests her head on my lap and laughs her beautiful laugh. I’ll choose to see it her way because she’s right. How can I feel like a failure after experiencing all the happy little memories my family created today?
On those days where I just don’t feel like I’m doing enough, I’ll pride myself on the progress I’ve made and remind myself that I am everything my children need me to be. Day after day, I will choose to see myself the way my children see me. The way I want them to forever see themselves.
I want you to do the same, sweet mama. I want you to have this same simple, yet empowering, daily goal. No more dodging mirrors.
You deserve to see how great you are. You deserve to love how great you are!
Wear your children’s eyes and see the beautiful, strong, kind, incredible, and (lest we forget) ADORABLE mom who’s looking back at you. Isn’t she amazing?
Photos by: Hey Ashley Shaw