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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inner & Outer Beauty

I promised myself that if I ever had daughters, I would do everything possible to make them believe that outer beauty doesn't matter, that it's only what's on the inside that counts. Ha! Like so many other parenting goals I've had, I think I've failed. Big A has watched me a hundred times in the morning applying my makeup. She often asks why I put it on and I really don't know how to answer. I'm not going to say, "Because I think I look ugly without it." Disparaging ourselves can be almost as harmful to our children as disparaging them. So I haven't quite figured that one out. The other issue is that, let's face it, the unfortunate reality of our world is that our outer appearance DOES matter and it matters a lot. We are judged by our appearance, and as parents, we feel we are judged on the basis of our childrens' appearance too. Big A could be the best dressed 4 year old on the planet due to the generosity of her grandparents, however, given her oppositional nature, I can rarely get her out the door without either food stains on her clothes (she loves to annoy me by wiping her dirty face and hands on her clean clothes), her buttons, snaps or zippers undone, or her hair unbrushed. She also tends to like to insist on wearing clothes that are too small for her (especially items of clothes she had no interest in when they fit her) or don't match. To my chagrin, her favorite clothes are ratty shorts and t-shirts.

I can't help but worry what other people are thinking at these moments and so I can't resist trying to get her to let me brush her hair, or wipe the stains off her clothes or find socks or shoes that match her outfit better. It's like an impulse I can't control and, yet, what message am I sending her? Certainly not the message that appearances don't matter. I think I'm also worried she'll get teased because kids can be really mean. A few months ago a girl at daycare criticized her hair because it was messy and unbrushed. Big A seemed upset about it so I spoke to one of the teachers and she spoke to the girl. It did encourage Big A to occasionally let me do her hair in pigtails, etc., but most days she is still happy going out with a rats-nest (she goes to sleep most nights with wet hair after her bath). Perhaps that's a good sign indicating that she really doesn't care that much what other people think. If so, I hope it stays that way.

I decided to stay for a yoga class at TAC today after teaching my Brazilian Butt Lift class. I have been pretty sore the last few weeks after teaching it and I'm really trying to fit in a yoga class weekly, so this was perfect. It was called "Yin Yoga" and it was basically hatha yoga poses held for a very long time (so in an hour class we only did about 8 poses). It was just what I needed and the instructor did the pigeon pose, which is one of my favorites. The room also has huge windows (38 stories up in this highrise) with a fantastic view of the CN Tower and the Toronto waterfront. Even with the rain today, it was spectacular and such a nice space to do yoga. I think every workplace should offer lunchtime yoga, it's so therapeutic.