Do you have daughters? Do you watch your words around them? As the mom of three girls, I am learning how to weigh my words before I speak!
We were sitting side-by-side on the oversized recliner, and I was listening to her read from Magic Treehouse.
I smiled on the outside and beamed with pride on the inside: The girl who was barely reading at the beginning of the school year was now pronouncing words like scrambled and whispered and Triceratops with ease.
As I snuggled her closer and looked down, something about her eyelashes struck me as being unusual: They were uneven.
“Sweetheart, did you cut your eyelashes?” I asked.
She closed her book around her face and started trembling. She didn’t have to tell me the answer. Now I knew, but I didn’t know why.
“Honey, it’s OK,” I tried to ease her. “But Mommy just wants to know why you cut your beautiful eyelashes.”
She pulled the book down and tears rolled down her cheeks. Choking on stifled sobs, she told me.
“Mommy, the other day at school…Mrs. Alexander*, Macy’s mommy…she said: ‘You sure have BIG eyelashes.”
I knew this was a compliment. Any adult would. But my 7-year-old didn’t.
So she came home and did the unthinkable: She snipped her eyelashes as short as the scissors would allow.
She only did one before she got scared enough to stop. And, really, they aren’t terribly short–just uneven. And they will grow back.
But she had internalized the words from this woman for weeks: “You sure have BIG eyelashes.”
I am not blaming this other mother. My goodness…I know I’ve made similar mistakes.
Just the other night, I told a mom her daughter was SO CUTE. Perhaps I should have refrained–at least while the child was in earshot.
As the mom of three girls, I’m striving to be more intentional with my words–especially when it comes to beauty and body image.
I’m learning that this won’t come naturally. In organic conversation, I will lament to my husband that I still have weight to lose.
My girls pick up on this. I don’t want them to look back in a few years and think: “Well if Mommy thought she was too fat, then I must need to lose weight as well.”
I tell my girls daily how beautiful they are, but I am seeking to make sure they know that the loveliest feature a woman can possess is a heart that is following hard after Jesus.
As we put my daughter to bed last night, my husband and I reiterated that her eyelashes are beautiful, even telling her that people pay BIG money for big eyelashes. We told her they would grow, that the woman who had hurt her has meant it as praise, and to always come to us when she felt hurt. We would talk it out and help her understand, help her to see the bigger picture.
How do you watch your words around little girls?
*I have changed names in this post.