The other day, I was shopping with my mom (who knew that you couldn’t wear your Catholic school uniform in college?!) and it dawned on me that whether intentional or unintentional, she was raising me to be a confident young woman. I stood in front of the three-way mirror, trying on some jeans that were, shall we say, less than flattering. She didn’t tell me they looked great or that they looked horrible (which they did). Instead, she suggested we find a new pair that would work on my body. She could have gone about that in a million different ways but she decided to suggest a positive outcome for the situation. She didn’t body shame me. She didn’t pretend that they looked great or sugar coat the fact that they didn’t. She wanted me to feel great in the pair of jeans I decided to purchase instead of constantly feeling crappy that I didn’t fit into the first pair.
For as long as I can remember, she always emphasized my intelligence and very rarely commented on my physical appearance. When I was in grade school, I genuinely thought I was the smartest kid in the class. Who knows if I was or wasn’t, but the way my mom praised me for my successes and encouraged me to try harder only made me confident in my school skills. When I got to high school, most girls were really concerned with their appearance. I never really cared. I mean yeah, I really wanted to be pretty and definitely spent time on my appearance, but I knew that wasn’t the most important thing. I believe that a beautiful brain is so much better than a beautiful body.
Watching her was a confidence builder as well. She takes such great care of herself. She exercises almost every day and eats healthy. She dresses up just because she feels like it and doesn’t really give a shit what anyone thinks of it. Having a female figure in my life that loved her body and took care of herself was huge for me. I look to her as an example of how I should take care of myself. Because she feels good about herself, I feel good about myself.
I ended up finding a pair of really cute jeans and my mom made sure I knew that. When she told me they looked great, I knew she wasn’t just BS-ing me. And she was part of the reason I could look in the mirror and feel great about myself. So thank you, Mom. You have no idea how the smallest of your choices make the biggest impact on me.