I wear makeup every day. Every. Single. Day. Without fail. I started when I was about 13 with lip gloss and mascara and now, at age 32, it makes me entirely uncomfortable to leave the house without foundation, blush, eye shadow, eye liner and mascara. Why is this? And what sort of message am I sending to my sweet, 2 ½ year old daughter, Charlotte, when she watches me apply my mask of makeup every morning and I can’t even take her to the grocery store or the neighborhood pool (THE POOL!) without it? The conversation usually goes like this:
Charlotte: “Mommy, what you doing?”
Me: “I’m putting on my makeup.”
Charlotte (with much enthusiasm): “I put on makeup, too!”
Me: “No, sweetie, you don’t need makeup. You’re perfect just the way you are.”
Obviously, my intentions are good, but what am I really telling her? That she’s perfect and that mommy isn’t? That when she’s older (and looks exactly like me, by the way), then she’s no longer perfect? Then she, too, will need to spend 20 minutes every morning applying makeup to cover up her imperfections and enhance her features? That women have to wear makeup to feel good about themselves?
Those are certainly not the beliefs I want to instill in my daughter. I don’t have all the answers, but I do recognize that I need to make some changes in order to show my daughter what true beauty is and what (if anything) is important when it comes to outward appearances.
These are the beliefs and values regarding beauty that I want to instill in my daughter:
1) It’s not about looks. True beauty is on the inside.
2) I love you just the way you are.
3) No matter how many pimples, spots, scars or wrinkles you have, you are amazing and beautiful. (The same theory applies regarding extra pounds, cellulite, small boobs, pale skin, frizzy hair, etc.)
4) Freckles are cool. They make us unique.
5) Perfection doesn’t exist. Even supermodels have flaws.
6) Flaws are cool. They make us unique.
7) It’s fine to wear makeup (in moderation and when you’re MUCH older), but know that you’re beautiful without it. I am, too.
I doubt I’ll make any huge changes in my makeup routine. I really do think it’s fun to wear makeup and there are obviously much worse vices. But, in an effort to instill the above beliefs and values in my daughter, I will make a concerted effort to a) talk to her about real beauty, b) go without makeup every once in awhile, and c) change my response from “you don’t need makeup…” to “makeup is for grown-ups and when you’re older we can talk about it again.” Maybe I’ll even skip the eyeliner the next time we go to the pool. Baby steps, people.