Social Media has its pros and cons no doubt. One of the best things about it though is what it manages to teach when you are least expecting. Why just a couple of days back it taught me, rather reminded me about how as a mother I should never obsess about ‘beauty’. Yes, beauty as is preached through the glossy magazines and the silver screen. The obsession with beauty so to speak.
Here’s what happened.
I chanced upon a conversation between two rather young mothers about the appearance and dressing sense of their kids. They chatted about how it’s important to dress their children according to the changing trends. Then moved onto how worried they were about their girls not having the perfect smiles. How it is difficult to find fashionable clothes for their kids.
The conversation wasn’t about the mental and physical well-being, reading habits or education. It wasn’t about teaching them empathy or love. It was about something which on the surface seemed like a harmless conversation. After all what could possibly be wrong about two mothers discussing how their kids dress or look? But somehow it wasn’t or at least it didn’t sound right to me. Hear me out and you’ll probably see what scared me.
It might sound like I’m judging those women for a harmless conversation. And you know what, maybe I am. But their conversation reminded me of self-image issues in girls. And it wasn’t a comforting thought. Why do girls have to inherit this legacy of having to look good, this insecurity?
Now, it’s no secret that I have gapped teeth. Yes, teeth which don’t conform to the traditional beauty myth. But never in my life have I felt inadequate because of this. Do you know the reason why? Because I don’t recall even one instance when my mother or my parents made a fuss about my teeth. They were probably never worried that not having the perfect smile would hold me back or stop me from doing what I want to do or being who I want to be.
We should aim to make our kids well-rounded individuals not just well-dressed. #Parenting #Motherhood Click To Tweet
But had this been a cause for concern to my mother or if she had made it known to me, knowingly or unknowingly, I would have always been uncomfortable with my teeth, with myself. She didn’t and perhaps that’s why even now I don’t obsess on how I look.
The real challenge of being a mother, a parent to a girl is not in picking the right dress for her but in ensuring she is safe and has the freedom to be who she wants to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love to dress well when I have the energy. But I know there are far more important things in life than how I look or what I wear. Knowledge, compassion, books, what kind of a person I am and what I’m doing with my life are things that worry me. So, when I read the conversation between those two mothers, I promised myself to be the sort of mother that my mom has been to me.
I need to teach M that while dressing well is a good quality to have or while looking beautiful feels good, there are far more important things in life than that. And most importantly beauty has nothing to do with a perfect set of teeth or fashionable clothes. If I can do just that then perhaps I’ll be at least a fraction of the kind of mother my mom is. And I’ll be able to give M a solid foundation for life. After all, we should aim to make our kids well-rounded individuals not just well-dressed. That’s the real challenge of being a mother, a parent.
What do you think?