The Delicate Art of Raising a Daughter

When Princess was 3 she asked me why I wear make-up. My response, “Because it makes me look pretty.” I obviously didn’t think this response through. A few minutes later she told me that she wanted to wear make up, so she could be pretty too. DING, DING, DING!! Hello this is your brain. We would  like to inform you that you have crushed your daughter’s self-esteem forever. Please correct immediately or we will send soul searing guilt levels to you in 5, 4, 3, 2……

I attempted to rectify my mistake by telling her that she is perfect and so lovely that she didn’t need make-up. She is beautiful, precious and all things wise. Mommy wears make-up so she won’t frighten her public.

But, as the years roll forward she continues to beg me to wear make-up and perfume. Since she is only 5 there is no way she’s wearing either. Make up is for Halloween kiddo.

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for church, she said, “Are you putting on make-up so you won’t scare people Mom?”

Then last night, at bedtime, she came downstairs with bright cheeks and she smelled very strongly of my designer perfume. She had used some of her pajama/teeth brushing time to “freshen up”. So to speak.

As I ponder this situation I can’t help but think I’ve caved to “the man.” I spend hundreds of dollars a year on products that will beautify me. Society tell us that you will be confident and more happy on the days you wear make-up. And I bought it! Hook, line and sinker.

What kind of message does that send to my Princess?

I personnaly think it says, “Do as I say, Not as I do.” And everyone has benefited greatly from that lesson. Right? Right?!

So where do I find balance? How do I show her and tell her that make-up is simply a tool. It can be used for good or evil. That make-up doesn’t enhance your self-esteem. Only you control that. How do I lead by example? How can I build up her self-worth?

This could be her future if I don’t find a way to help her realize her full potential.

Then again I don’t want her to grow up like this either.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Rants? Make-up Strike? Help me Obi-Wan. Your my only hope.

12 thoughts on “The Delicate Art of Raising a Daughter

  1. I’d start by telling her the plain truth – she’s too young to wear makeup. Then when she can understand more, I’d go the route of “makeup can help us enhance the beauty that God gave us. But it we wear too much of it, it can hide the beauty God gave us.” Next, I would not be ashamed to go without make up some days. I do it at least one or two days a week. I’m not going to win any beauty awards on those days, but I’m also letting my kids, and especially daughter see that I’m just a regular old face with freckles like her. 🙂

  2. I found it best not to outlaw make-up and perfume. It only makes her want to wear it more. Make up is for special occasions like, taking pictures. And then I only let her wear the lightest shade of pinks and clear lip gloss. And I very rarely ever let her wear perfume. She is more than welcome to wear my body sprays, which I call perfume to her, with parental supervision.

    I too once told her that make-up makes you pretty, and like you I had to use my crazy mom skillz to quickly recover from that gaff. Now I tell her that I wear make-up to make me feel prettier, because when you get older, sometimes you need a little help in that area. What she needs to hear? Probably not 100%, but it is the truth.

  3. Don’t know why my whole comment didn’t make it on there. So here is the rest…

    I don’t wear make up that often. Only for work, church, and occasionally when we go out. I don’t do it because it sets an example, but because that is how I live. But as Samantha said, it shows our daughters that life isn’t all about getting dolled up in front of a mirror everyday. We are perfect the way our Heavenly Father made us. We just need a little pick me up every now and then.

  4. I can’t really relate since even when I turned 12 and was allowed to wear makeup, I didn’t all the time. And I still think it is a ridiculous hassle, time I could spend much better perusing the internet, or thinking about ponies or something.

  5. I think this is a hard issue, as you obviously don’t want to give up make-up but it’s hard to explain without fostering subjugation to society’s views of beauty!

    That said – I danced as a child, which meant I was in recital after recital. And if you’ve ever been to a child’s dance recital, you know that only child beauty pageants have little kids look more like streetwalkers. And now I’m grown-up and almost never wear make-up, due to my innate laziness. So apparently it didn’t scar me that much. (My point? Whatever you do will work out just fine!)

  6. I’ve given Lucy an age to look forward to. When she’s 12, she can wear makeup. Our dialog is similar to the one Samantha describes. I tell her that makeup can enhance her beauty, but that she has no need to do that right now when she’s seven. She whines about it a little bit, but overall, she’s so used to hearing the same answers over and over, it’s never a big battle.

    I think if you are confidant and happy with who you are, regardless of whether or not you are wearing makeup or not, that confidence will affect your daughter the most. For her I imagine right now, makeup is about playing dress up… about wanting to be like her Mommy, not necessarily about “adorning” herself for the world to see. I think that’s pretty harmless. (Wanting to wear makeup to be like Mommy is way different than wanting to wear makeup to be like the cast of a teeny bopper Disney show, know what I mean?) That doesn’t mean she should get to wear makeup, though. Sheesh! This parenting stuff is complicated!

    Raising girls is so very scary. I just hope in our house we can maintain enough positive energy, love and communication that Lucy always knows who she is, and realizes all she can accomplish. You’ve made me think with this post… that’s for sure.

  7. I just said NO once I could not see well enough to put it on without the aid of a seeing eye dog.
    I look like the walking dead.
    I started out just doing it at Church because these people have to be able to recognize you in the next life to testify you were there and fulfilling your calling and stuff. The difference is Horribly obvious. People stare, and I mean stare at you. And don’t seem to realize who you are. The missionaries hit me up as a “visitor”.
    Makeup is the sugar we put on the cereal so our husbands will eat it. Otherwise it is just plain cereal and not as sweet.

  8. I’m liking Samantha’s response 🙂 Cuz, you know, my daughter isn’t old enough to ask to wear make-up, or even what I am doing. So this is what I get to look forward to, huh?
    Has she had pretend make-up? Would that even suffice? Or how about yummy chapstick? Even though he is a boy, Max loves to play with my make-up brushes and pretend he is putting it on too…and is happy to not have any product on the brushes (for now). Is that also too juvenile for her mature self?
    Please let us know how this turns out! Mother’s of future princesses need to know!!

    • Amanda- She does have pretend make-up but I took it away because she decorated her walls with it. I do let her wear chapstick. It’s almost a necessity since it’s so dry here.

      I have told her she can’t wear make-up until she’s older numerous times. But that doesn’t stop her from asking to wear make-up.

  9. Hmm, I don’t say it’s for beauty, I say it’s for fun. Minimal make-up is a fun part of being a girl 😉 We like sparkles and pretty colors.

    {And I guess you’ll have to take my advice with a grain of salt since every time my 2 year old sees me putting on my make-up, she wants some too… and I let her have some! GASP. Yep, I dab a bit of eyeshadow and lip gloss on her and she prances around like the happiest princess on the planet.}

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