She smiles at me as I walk down the stairs with my hair disheveled and in my pajamas having just woke up. Avery greets me this way nearly every morning. It’s become her thing and she makes sure to tell me as many chances as she gets throughout the day.
I’ve been the first to admit that loving myself has become much harder as I’ve had children and have gotten older. Looking in the mirror, I was dying to see the real person staring back at me and not what the negativity inside of my mind had created. Slowly, I’ve gotten there. I’ve learned to love myself again.
And it was with the help of my daughters that I found my own beauty. In their eyes, I am the most beautiful person. They make it a point to tell me nearly every single day. It doesn’t matter what my hair looks like, what I’m wearing, if my face is breaking out, or if I’ve gained a few pounds. None of that matters. What matters to them is on the inside. It’s whether I snuggle up with them, or if I let them give me unlimited kisses. It’s telling them they did an amazing job at soccer or drawing a person on a piece of paper. It’s the beauty and confidence we have within that matters most. And it took a three and five year-old to show me that.
With all of this positivity, I wish I could just bottle it up and keep it for those moments when we really need. The reality is that it won’t always be this way. They won’t always see themselves (or me) with these rose colored glasses. Today’s society is just getting harder and harder for us to love ourselves. And I mean really and truly love ourselves. Between the filters for photos, apps that allow you to make yourself look thinner, body shaming in the tabloids, it’s maddening. It’s disheartening to know that my girls will grow up being exposed to it no matter how much I try to shield them from it.
But I do have faith knowing that it will all come full circle. It’s through the confidence that my daughters have given me that I will soon need to pass along to them again. As they get older and those doubts start to enter into their mind, it’s up to me to remain confident within myself so that they know to do the same. When I falter (because it’s only natural to do so,) it’s my job not to do it in front of them. Complaining about the shape of my body or the cellulite on my legs will only inginte the flame inside of them to do much of the same.
A couple of weeks ago while I was attending the Mom 2.0 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, I had the chance to sit down and speak one-on-one with actress Molly Ringwald. Ringwald has partnered with Dove to share her #beautystory, Dove’s newest campaign that encourages women to use the #beautystory hashtag and share the story of the women in your life that helped shape you.
Rongwald was the keynote speaker at the conference and shared with us how she remained confident during her teen years and continues to do so into her adult years and with her children. She was such an inspiration to me growing up and continues to be and I was honored to be able to chat with her and get to know her.
I must disclose that nearly half of our conversation was about the shoes that I was wearing during the interview. They were J. Crew flats that I had to track down by calling nearly every store in Manhattan store because they were sold out online. That sparked a conversation about her looking for J.Crew pants that were sold out online as well and she was trying to track down herself. This is how down-to-earth Ringwald is. I couldn’t get half of the questions in because we were chatting like two girlfriends would. And that is why I love her.
Our formal interview was just as exciting, but so much more inspirational.
What advice to you give to your children and the younger generation on how to love themselves?
“The best thing that you can do is the importance of story telling. And the importance of passing on information through generation after generation. I was bombarded like any other kid growing up on what was beautiful. I came from a family of blue-eyed blondes. And as you know, I had red hair. I felt like I really wasn’t that thing. I shared a room with my sister and because she was my older sister she was in control of what would be on the wall and what she put on the wall was all of those perfect images of girls like Christy Brinkly and for me it was torture I felt like then I guess I’m not beautiful. I think that for me where I got strength was from my mother and father telling me that that was only part of it and it was really about my brain and talent and my creativity. And that gave me the strength to be different and that’s how I ended up who I was. It’s all about not getting caught up in the trend so much and being true to who you are.”
As a mom, I’ve noticed that my body has changed a lot. How did you embrace those changes?
“Your body changes for sure. And there are certain things where you know you won’t look good in that you could when you were younger. I’ve put those clothes away and in a box with acid free tissue to save for my daughters when they get older. I think it’s just a matter of being the strongest and best you can be right now. For me I love to practice yoga. That’s what works best because it works my mind and body. I’m bringing my daughter with me to yoga class and she was like “wow mom you’re really strong.” beacuse she doesn’t know about those muscles. I look at old movies that I’ve done and I look at myself and say “wow you really didn’t know how to stand then, you didn’t have that confidence. And I think that’s the biggest difference between grown-up me and teenage me is that it’s reflected in my body in the way that I stand. And I think that’s a really good thing.”
If you could go back and do one of your projects again, what would it be?
“I think I really really enjoyed doing the breakfast club. I think the breakfast club is probably my favorite and I would love to experience it again and I’d like to remember even more. I did keep journals during that time. ”