Sometimes we overlook the obvious as mothers. That same pile of papers that need to be filed is tuned out of our peripheral vision every time we walk by it. Sometimes this same overlooking can happen with our children. I always love reading and rereading Psalm 139 and marvel about how God had this all planned out before we even entered the womb. As a mother it is by far one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. But do I really take time to slow down and know my children? Do I see what He planted innately in them, tucking it deep in freshly folded DNA?
I’ve been noticing this in Lily lately. Between her constant fashion pairings of Sarah Jessica Parker-ish skirts paired with urban tops, her interest in more adultish dolls (Monster High), her gothic passion mixed with contempary prettyness…sort of a vintage mod look…this is a girl who is longing for a fashion outlet.
MOM, WHY DON’T YOU LIKE TO BE PRETTY?” she asked me tonight.
What??? That’s what I portray? She’s been wanting me to color my hair back to brown because the red has become passe for her. She refuses…REFUSES…to wear jeans unless dragged in her bedroom and forced to put them on (only because of weather, not because I care if she wears jeans). She desperately wants to dye her own hair and wear makeup. And tonight while pinning some new hair styles to try, she begged me to print out some pictures of pretty girls that she could cut out. She looked through this Beautiful Mess blog and stood there absolutely mesmerized. I can’t blame her. I was too. I printed some thumbnails for her and watched her scrapbook tonight.
Instantly I was transported back to my own childhood. Pouring over Allure, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar magazines and cutting out models. I had no idea what made me act on this. I didn’t know I wanted to dress a certain way or wear my hair a certain way or do my makeup a certain way. All I knew was what I was attracted to and the magnetic urge compelling me to scrapbook these beautiful findings. For me it wasn’t just fashion, it was style…my style. I also poured over (even more than the fashion mags) Victoria and dreamed of my “some day” house.
As we’ve been house hunting and that is turning into a reality I am reminded of how much a part of my soul that is. He created me exactly this way. Kids and finances forced a season of putting this on hold and, until I saw my house, I didn’t even realize it was on hold in me.
As Christian moms we often shield our children from culture and trendy fads. We, as adults who’ve learned the hard way, know that fads are fleeting and there are deeper things we want to pass down to our kids. But too often this turns into us playing the mom “no” card or the Christian “no” card and not taking the time to think about what or why we are shielding certain things.
One of the best parenting books I’ve read this year was Grace Based Parenting by Ted Kimmel. It wasn’t a book so much about how to discipline as it was a book on how to let go of things that don’t matter. Who cares if your daughter wants to dye her hair? Does that have anything to do with her character? Does it have anything to do with Jesus? More importantly, does it detract from Him? Yes, people judge…usually wrong. But God judges our hearts. He knows our character. And we, as mothers, are called to train hearts, not to worry about appearances as the Pharisees did.
I explained to my daughter how hard it would be for mommy to wash dishes in heels…the slipping, you know. And how taking an hour daily to curl and braid my hair wasn’t in the cards since I have many other responsibilities on my plate in a day. But the excuses sounded hollow, even to my ears. My daughter is sobering for me. She is a good dose of exactly all that is beautiful and pure and fresh. How lovely!