Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mommy, the Hypocrite

Bella has turned 3 and immediately following became very interested in makeup. She loves going through the top drawer in our bathroom that hold all of my every day necessities - being my contacts, chapstick, lotion and of course, my makeup.

Watching her put makeup on is adorable, entertaining and a little precarious. 

She dips her finger into one slot of the eye shadow color wheel and lightly dabs it onto one eye. She'll get a touch more onto the same finger and this time press and smear the color across her eyelid and down almost to her temple.
Then she'll use a brush I had given her (that belongs to some powdered eyeliner) to squish into some lip gloss that she'll then smear over the other eye. She studies herself in the mirror and I'll usually see little sparks of a smile flash onto her face for a split moment. Just like a little spark. I take that to mean she's pleased with her work.

She turns to me and says, "Me pwetty, Mama." She turns more shoulder towards me and bats her eyes. It's heartbreaking to see the depth of this little lady unveil itself even more and to think about the baby she was just yesterday. But it's also so hard not to laugh at the mess of makeup on that sweet girl's face.

"Me pwetty, Mama."
"You are so beautiful, baby." 

We're very intentional about communicating that she is much more than her looks. I know I'm her mom but you have to take my word when I say this. She really is a beautiful little girl with big, expressive blue eyes, platinum hair, pink lips and a love of all things girly. Her intelligence, though, surpasses even her beauty. And I hope she lets that take her far in life.

So we take all of these moments with the makeup and dress up and nail polish to level out the compliments on her appearance with compliments on her intelligence, kindness and good nature.

That being said, every time she plays with my makeup I make sure to explain to her that the makeup isn't what makes her pretty; that she's beautiful first without the makeup but it's fun to put on and play with.

Well. I say that. 

The other day we were getting ready for who knows what and I was anxiously jetting around getting everyone ready, lastly myself. I was mentally making a long and deflating list of everything I needed to tend to for myself to be ready to go.

I stood in front of the mirror as a way to double check this list. My hair was in a frizzy bun that hadn't been washed in 2 days and was hardly doing it's job because I had slept in it the night before. All the makeup I had on the 2 days before had worn off. I was in pajamas that were too big. And not in a cute, 'I'm wearing my lover's clothes' kind of way or a 'carelessly comfortable but could still pose in the 'lounge' portion of a catalog' too big. It was a 'I haven't actually observed what I'm passing as attire' sort of way. The options of things I could change into made me even more exasperated because, 2 months postnatal, I'm in between a range of weird sizes. Beyond that I saw all of the typical flaws I loathe about myself and I met what I saw with a furrowed brow and a stare full of disgust and hate.

Palmer yelled from the next room, possibly asking what I was doing, I don't remember but I was mad that he said anything to my frumpy and unkempt self. I snatched up my mascara and fired back with, "I'M TRYING TO MAKE MYSELF NOT LOOK SO HORRIBLE!" 
(Real nice, Amanda.)

It's then my gaze immediately fell onto Bella, who was standing next to me at the second adjoining sink putting on my makeup. The makeup I told her was 'just for fun' because she's beautiful even without it.

Well, well, well. So I say that. 

I helplessly watched my expression of fuming disgust melt into a face void of emotion. I pursed my lips and it almost felt like I had literally punched myself as my heart sank and disappointment rose.

In my more helpless moments in the recurring darkness that visits me, I tell Palmer that I have no business raising these two precious, amazing little girls.
How is a broken, self doubting, loathing and deprecating woman of completely average intelligence supposed to raise little women that are everything that I am not? 

And in the mirror I felt like I had just blown it.

Those little toddlers are so sneaky. They listen to and remember so many things that will surprise you. I'm so afraid this is one of those things.

Luckily, I left that moment with a sound determination to never let what I think of myself reveal itself to my daughters. I'm working on me. And I can't let the parts of me that are getting severely worked over grab a foothold into the hearts of my little girls.

So I say that. We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Oh goodness. Amen to that. I'm constantly struggling to be a strong, confident model to MY smart, beautiful, weird, insightful little 3 year old. It's not easy to keep my mouth shut when I see a fat, sad sack in the mirror. She doesn't need to hear that. Sure, I had some body issues growing up, but was pretty confident thanks to 2 very good role models in my parents.

    I teach Cecilia to do what she loves and to be smart and kind and to love herself. Why, oh why can't I do the same? She, like your Bella, picks up on everything.

    This is long, sorry, but I've read bits of your blog and kinda stalk you on Facebook and just want to let you know that I pray for you and that gorgeous family. Know that your words are encouraging and that someone else is struggling with the same things. Taking care of a home and all who are inside. Wanting them to just be ok and for you to be ok too.

    Much love,