Parenting and raising children is by far the hardest job! Add to that girls, to be exact, and you have a whole different job on your hands. There is no manual or rule book on raising The Red Dress Girl. And the fact that society floods every inch of life with what is “accepted and what is not” intensifies the pressures. It makes it very hard to raise girls without a distorted image of themselves.
Let me begin by saying that I am only 4 years into this adventure so what I put before you now is in no way answers. Like I said before, there aren’t too many. But what I do have to share is my process of daily prioritizing my family, modeling a healthy self-image, and making sure my faith is always evident to them.
We have to make choices daily as far as career, work hours, and child care. Even with this lifestyle, there is still room for making family a priority. It has been difficult for us to maintain a family dinner time with our hectic schedule. But every weekday we make time to sit down with the girls while they eat. Sometimes I will sit with them at their little table and just have talk time. These are some of the most precious times as they engage me in a conversation about what is most important to them. The big “take-away” here is that they know I listen to them. They know they have a voice and a safe place to talk. And ultimately, they know that mommy will always be a “listener” for them.
Modeling a Healthy Self-Image
Modeling a healthy self-image is a step that can be more challenging some days than others. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t walk around in a state of “ecstasy confidence.” Some days I have to be a true warrior to get through the self-talk in my head. It’s so easy to submit to every advertisement or branding of a woman that social media shares. But even on those tough days, I am guarded as to what I expose my girls to.
My husband and I truly believe that I am the model of a woman that will have the biggest impact on their self-image. I make it a point to refrain from talking about weight and any negative body image when I am with them. What I do talk about is the beauty that surrounds us. When we are out, I point out women to the girls and highlight their beauty. The beauty in their smile, their personality, their strength. Yes, the girls see me put on make-up and know I love fashion, but we often talk about how this is just the outer layer. Everything inside mommy is what is truly beautiful and so goes the same for them.
Lifestyle of Faith
Finally, but most importantly to me, is the evidence of our faith. While we live in a “Christian bubble” in our town, it can be easy to put off the excuse that they will get “Jesus” at church or even pre-school. But it is a priority for us, that they understand our faith beginning within our home.
The belief in prayer and the existence of something greater than ourselves goes hand in hand with the priority of teaching our girls to serve, give, and love others. We begin by building this foundation in them simply by modeling. They often see mommy and daddy pray together. We talk about helping other people and giving things to families and kids that don’t have much. They go with us to volunteer time at our non-profit ministry. So what does all of this add up to? Little by little we are building a foundation of trust in God and a lifestyle of service. This is the ultimate goal.
Each of these steps I’ve described to you are not easy. Actually, it’s ridiculously difficult. Some days put me over the edge in tears. But some days, it seems these actions come easy. Simply put, it’s life. There is so much more that goes into raising The Red Dress girl, but these steps are key for me. My hope within my girls is that they grow in their own faith, believe in themselves, and develop a genuine love for family. Being a Red Dress woman isn’t easy, but take time to reflect on yourself and your own beliefs. Confidence comes from within and we all have it inside of us…even if it’s buried deep.