When I heard about the Dove Self-Esteem Movement I knew I wanted to get involved.
You see, I am a single mom raising six children. Four girls and two boys. Our typical suburban life became a whirlwind a few years ago when I suddenly found myself divorced, losing my home and facing the unfairness of losing someone we loved to cancer.
In the blink of an eye, I went from being a stay-at-home mom to hosting a morning radio show, filming a reality show and writing a syndicated column. Our quiet life quickly became an open book that we were sharing with the world. We have met some amazing people on our journey of healing and creating a new life, but there are times when I am reminded of how important it is to take a timeout from the chaos of life and to take some time to connect with each of my children. The Dove Self-Esteem Movement is doing just that.
I am so blessed to be raising four daughters. Loughlin is sixteen and very focused on school and keeping her grades up as she prepares for college. I can honestly say, and not just because I’m her mother, that she is one of the sweetest, kindest people I know. Aidan is fifteen and spreading her wings as she learns to drive and enters the dating world (I am still trying to stick to the “no dating until you are thirty rule”…but it’s starting to seem a bit unrealistic). She is finding her independence but she is still my little girl who climbs in bed with me in the middle of the night. Next in line is my daughter Moira, who is ten and just starting middle school. She is finding her passion by trying different things like dance and playing sports. Tomorrow she is joining the majorette squad at her school, regardless of the fact that she has never picked up a baton. I admire her willingness to get out there and try new things. Finally there is my youngest daughter, Elspeth, who is eight. With four older siblings, she is wise beyond her years and has a certain confidence about her. She is the funniest person that I know; her spunky spirit just makes you smile whenever she is around.
Raising children is joyful, wonderful, scary and challenging. As a parent, I am trying to instill good values and confidence in all of them, but I worry tremendously about the messages they are getting from all the media that surrounds them. How can I be sure that the message that they are beautiful and strong young girls will be heard over the constant barrage of things in the media telling them that they are not good enough?
Everywhere they turn, they hear someone say “I want to be thinner, taller, have red hair, have dark hair, etc.” Did you know that 92 percent of girls say they want to change one aspect of their physical appearance? This staggering statistic made me think about the way I talk about my own body in front of them. I am not exactly setting a good example when I talk about how much I wish I could lose my mommy muffin top or that if my thighs were thinner I wouldn’t feel like I had to wear a bathing suit with a skort attached to it. I wonder sometimes if I am doing everything I can to encourage my girls to embrace who they are. Am I taking the time to let them know about the beauty and gifts that I see in them and really listening to their hopes, dreams and fears?
The Dove Self-Esteem Movement is a wonderful reminder that we as women have the power to make a difference in the lives of young girls. I have started to make my plans for the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend (October 21st-23rd), when I will take a block of time to focus on each one of my girls. Just a few hours specifically devoted to each one of them individually with an activity that will be fun, open up the lines of communication and allow me an opportunity to see how they feel about themselves and let them know how I embrace each one of them in such a special way.
I can’t wait to share some of the activities that we are doing and would love to hear about yours. Can you imagine if each one of us took part in this special event and gave just a little bit of our time to a young girl what a difference we could make?
Want to take part in the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend? One hour of your life can make a huge difference in a young girl’s life! Visit the pledge map and show your support. And if you need ideas for self-esteem building activities, check out Dove’s Self-Esteem Toolkit.