A few days ago, I was attempting to get back into one of my favorite pre-pregnancy dresses (this one, if you're interested) and right as I was zipping it up, the seam burst and just like that, I was recreating a scene from The Hulk. My pride was momentarily shattered, but instead of adding the dress to my pile of things to bring to the tailor, I really let it get to me. I walked back into the room where G and Sloan were hanging out and started criticizing my body. After a few seconds, G stopped me and reminded me of a discussion we'd had before Sloan was born. We had wished for a lot of things for our daughter - G's patient disposition, my enthusiasm - but more than anything, we stressed the importance of the way she treats both herself and others.
My mom taught me that almost every quality in a person is subjective. Whether someone is perceived as attractive, witty or funny, these are all things based on opinions rather than facts. But if you're genuinely nice, in the way that you interact with those around you and how you treat yourself, that's something that can't be debated. And so when I stood in front of Sloan, belittling myself and picking apart my flaws, I was doing exactly the opposite of what we'd set out to do. At three months old, she didn't understand what I was saying, but it made me realize how big of an impact my behavior will have on her.
As a mother, I feel a responsibility to act confidently so that Sloan can learn from watching me. If she sees me criticizing myself, chances are, she'll mirror that behavior when she's older. I look forward to passing on plenty of advice to her over the years, from how to not overly pluck her eyebrows to tricks for applying lipstick, but I also acknowledge that those tips pale in comparison to how she will feel about herself. I hope she understands that how you look and feel is much more than a fresh coat of nail polish or a great blowout, but more about living kindly. If I can teach her anything about beauty, it's that it comes from your own perception of yourself and how you lead your life.