27 July 2015

Mummy, do I look pretty? {Parenting Girls}

Mummy, do I look pretty? {Parenting Girls} // 76sunflowers

Earlier today I was sat in my conservatory listening to the chatter and giggles of my 9 year old daughter, her friend and my boy as they played 'schools' upstairs.
I love these moments and it proves to me that they are still very much children throwing themselves into the world of imaginary play with no worries or concerns interrupting them.
However, I want to go back a few days to when my daughter came skipping into my room in a summer dress, hair tied up in a side pony with a questioning look on her face and she asks,

"Mummy, do I look pretty?"
Part of me wanted to respond with this; 
"Why does it matter? You're 9, you shouldn't have to worry about how 'pretty' you look, that word shouldn't be in your vocabulary. Why aren't you pulling on grey joggers and beat up trainers and throwing yourself around on the floor playing goalkeeper like I did at your age? Who do you think you need to be 'pretty' for? What crap have you watched on the television that makes you think you have to look 'pretty'? Now stop being so silly."
But I didn't.
I simply replied;
"Of course you do. But being pretty isn't everything in life."
And off she went.
Did I screw up there?
Should I have sat her down and explained her future role in life as a strong independent female who shouldn't feel the need to be led by society's expectation of her to look preened and 'pretty'?
Am I a hypocrite and sending out the wrong message whilst I put my make up on every day but can't actually explain to her that I do this as I lack in self confidence to go out bare faced?
Have I actually 'learnt' from my own mum who would have laughed off such a question and made me feel tiny for daring to ask?
Should I have wrapped her up in my arms and told her she is the prettiest girl to have ever walked the earth, because that is what I always wanted my mum to do and say to me?

I feel caught.
Caught between the realisation that she is feeling exactly how I felt - albeit much later in life for me at the age of 12 onwards - and the pull of my desire to tell her to stick two fingers up to the norms and 'expectations' and pressures in life.

So, which way do I go?
Where is the balance?!
What would you have responded with?

x x x

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