Copy cat

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I was heading off to speak at a morning tea down the coast, so I snuck in to my bedroom to get ready without the resident little people competing for my attention.

I don’t take long to get ready. I quickly do my hair, my make-up and get dressed. As always, Lacey came looking for me and sat on the bed as I did my hair.

“Can you straighten my hair today mama?”

“Not today. I don’t have time.”

“What’s that you’re putting on your face?”

“It’s foundation, to make my skin look smoother.”

She crept back out of the room and left me to my routine. I finished my make-up and started getting dressed into stockings and a dress. She came back in and started chatting again, “Why are you wearing those?”

“Because it’s winter and I don’t want to be cold.”

I looked at her and noticed that she had found some make-up herself and applied purple eyeshadow haphazardly over her eyelids and onto her cheeks.

She crept back out of the bedroom and returned a moment later wearing stockings herself.

“Don’t I look beautiful?” she asked as she paraded around my bedroom.

“Of course you do, but you don’t need make-up to be beautiful,” I explained, which was all lost on her as she checked herself out in the mirror.

I’ve always thought the newborn days and nights are the hardest part of raising a child, but I’m quickly learning that while they’re challenging physically, it’s the years beyond which are most confronting.

Lacey is at the age where she’ll copy anything that I do. I don’t realise it at the time that she’s absorbing my every word and action, until it comes out later in another situation. It’s almost frightening to think that our kids are such sponges and we’re such role models in their life.

It would be OK, of course, if I was a perfect role model, but I’m not. I haven’t cared for my body as well as I should have, and I swear more than I should. I don’t exercise everyday, and I like to eat sweets more than a good role model should. I drop my clothes on the floor, and I leave a trail of empty glasses around the house as reminders of where I’ve been. I’m just not role model material.

Weeks later we were heading out to see friends and I swiped bronzer over my cheeks and mascara over my eyelashes. Unaware she was even in the room Lacey piped up, “You don’t need to be beautiful to have lunch, you know.”

“I know, I don’t use make-up to make me more beautiful,” I shared, “I do it because I…”

I had nothing. I did wear make-up to make me feel more beautiful, and I couldn’t sell it any other way. I want to teach her that she’s enough as she is, without the purple eyeshadow and cheek blush, but I don’t want to stop doing what I do to make myself feel good. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it’s OK not to have the right answers, or be a perfect role model. I’m still navigating mothering a child this age.

I was presented with yet another challenge that night as we watched a movie we’d recorded earlier. A group of kids, including two boys were the stars of the movie. We were snuggled up on the lounge watching when Lacey asked, “Which boy do you think is hot?”

I tried not to laugh, and answered in all seriousness… “I guess that guy there,” pointing to one of the boys on the TV.

She’s growing up and I’m not sure I’m ready for it. Not one bit at all.

photo credit: Helga Weber

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my… This is all ahead of me. I am absolutely seeing already with Master 3 that the newborn isn’t the trickiest stage to come.
    You sound like you’re doing a lovely job and just being yourself is the best role model you can be for your children. Jx

  2. says

    Oh wow things are going to be very different in your household over the next few years lol! I teach Grade 2 and the other day one of the boys in my class was telling me that he was going out with one of the girls. I asked what it meant to be ‘going out’ and he just shrugged his shoulders. I asked him if it means they play in the playground together and he said ‘no way!!!!’. Hahaha so cute!!

  3. says

    I have a nearly 13yr old boy plus twin girls and the other day I had to discuss with my son why a certain search term wouldn’t be a great idea (at least he asked first!) anyway he accepted my explanation I probed and said you haven’t looked up naked girls have you … His reply in disgust no way … And followed up with anyway why would I I can see you nude lol … Me nude those nude pictures very different but so glad he’s not looking and that for now he’s benchmarking nude women by me …. For now at least …

  4. says

    a few years ago I was getting dressed up to go out. I had just put on black nylons when my granddaughter walked in the room. She said “oh, nana. You look just like Mr. Incredible!” {yes I said Mr.} in her mind that was a good thing since that was her favorite movie at the time. I just smiled and said “thank-you baby”

  5. says

    As my children get older I am worried more by not being their role model anymore not because I am perfect far from it but I know no matter my faults I aways have their best interests at heart but not all who enter their lives will I can only guide and then sit in the passenger seat hoping they’ll make the right decisions but knowing they need to make their own mistakes as did each of us before them

  6. Elita says

    Love how we can learn so much from our little people….my boys told me the other day I looked beautiful with my boobs hanging out…..after I jumped out of the shower to stop an argument they were having.

  7. Sharee says

    Hi Chantelle I love reading your blog as you always keep it so real.
    I have three kids,the oldest is 24, then 21 and the baby at 16.
    I wasn’t the perfect role model either but I did my best . As the years have gone on I have realized that NOT being the perfect role model is okay . It teaches them that nobody is perfect ,we all have our faults and they are part of who we are.
    My two oldest are girls and I am proud to say they are strong and independent and do not try to be what they aren’t inside . They don’t try to fit into the stereotype of being perfect but are still beautiful inside and out .
    My advice to you is keep being that not so perfect role model and your girls will turn out to be well adjusted, smart adults .

  8. says

    I taught elementary school for over 20 years and I think I learnt as much as the kids! They really are like sponges and they constantly challenge us grown ups in the way we think and do. As for being a role model, you don’t have to be perfect, the old saying is true… nobody’s perfect! But the truth of it is, no matter what you think or do, to Lacey, you will always be perfect, because you’re her mom!

  9. says

    It’s quite confronting how much our little people look up to us and model our behaviours. Yesterday morning I was talking to a friend about my frustrations our 2 1/2 year old isn’t interested in toilet training. We’d only been home for an hour when he asked to use the potty and wear jocks. Skeptical I agreed and for the rest of the day he used the potty. I’m thrilled, but also a little sad as he obviously knew I was talking about him. Great post and I love the look of your new site too :)

  10. says

    We are going through the same thing here with my 6yo! She wants to wear makeup, nail polish and won’t be seen in a black cardigan because it’s not ‘her colour! I’m a shocking role model too, getting cranky a lot, working too much, on my computer a lot and hate cooking. But I suppose we make up for it in love and as they grow they will come to see it’s our imperfections that make us perfect. xxx

  11. Bec Fox says

    My two girls are 9 and 6 and a few months ago they started putting on blush and lip gloss to go play outside…. So I stopped with the mascara bb and blush…. And they stopped too without a word spoken. I couldn’t teach them they were beautiful the way they were unless I also believed that about myself. It’s now been 3 months…. Who is teaching who??

  12. says

    Kids have a way of stating the world in an oh-so obvious “why didn’t you already know that?” kind of way….Their pure thoughts and genuine opinions can really wake us up and bring us back to the real world. You are a perfect role model because she has grown up with you and loves you. Imperfect role models wouldn’t dream of reflecting about themselves like this – but the perfect ones are so paranoid about their own mistakes that they are sure to not ever make any…there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT! – Ever! But there is second to – and that’s a mom :)

  13. says

    Get ready for the bumpy road that is called teenage years! That is when you wish you had set a better example. Well in my case I did

  14. Christine says

    Sponge indeed.You could have written this about my 6 y.o. daughter and myself. I got my haircut above my shoulders last week and it took me 2 whole days to convince my daughter she is wonderful the way she is and she didn’t need to go to the hairdresser and get Mummy’s haircut.
    It really is incredible how fast little people grow.

  15. says

    Eek! I’m already lost for words sometimes and I only have a 2 year old boy! My mum used to say that make up shouldn’t be worn to make us beautiful, because we’re already beautiful but it can be a nice touch to enhance and highlight our best parts. I don’t know if either of us truly believe it sometimes (I know I do use make up to hide some things by playing up other things) but it is a nice way to put it and a great ideal to think about and remember. Even with a boy, I try really hard not to call myself fat or ugly around him now that he’s soaking up so much of what I say. I know with a daughter I’d feel that responsibility even more.

  16. sissy manissy says

    makes my heart melt that she repeated the “you don’t need to wear make up to be beautiful” bless you and bless your little shadows xxxx love you sis xxxxx

  17. says

    I’m a big believer that our children are here so that we can learn. It’s scary, I think, because we’re not quite ready or willing to learn, or are afraid of what we might learn. What’s got me most worried is that I have five children!!! I must have heaps to learn!

  18. says

    My daughter won’t know how to do make up as I don’t bother so lordy she better be beautiful inside and out.. we are all the perfect role models for our kids as they only see and remember what we do often and no one is perfect but by golly me are perfect for them x

  19. Deb says

    My daughter is now 30 and I remember all those years like they were yesterday. Your measure as a role model is not whether you leave crockery or clothes lying around, these are measures of living your life. The real measure is in the unconditional love you give them, the time, the nurturing and the values you live. xo

  20. planet8crafter says

    A while back my daughter asked what I was doing when I was putting mascara on & I said ‘making myself more beautiful’. She considered me then said ‘you need more’ :-D Gotta love em!

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