The other day I walked past my daughter’s bedroom and overheard her playing dolls. I paused at the door to listen to her sweet voice talk to her babies. She had her first cabbage patch baby, Julie Angeline, wrapped snuggly in a blanket and was rocking her in my wooden rocker that was mine when I was a child. She was softly saying as she rocked,
“You are smart, you are strong, you are funny, you are brave. I am smart too, and I am beautiful, and I am brave.”
My breath caught in my throat. My little three-year-old who thinks she knows more than I do and rarely listens to me was doing affirmations with her cabbage patch baby. Not only was she repeating her affirmations to her doll about her doll but also about herself. It was priceless, and I was beaming with pride. I was proud of her, and I have to say it, I was proud of me. I get a lot wrong in this motherhood gig, but this I decided right then and there, I was doing right.
Last fall when I started tossing the idea of doing affirmations with my children around with my girlfriends, I had some surprising responses. Some of my friends do affirmations with their kids, but one of my friends had told a group of women about the affirmations she did with her daughter, and she got a bunch of negative feedback. So much negativity in fact that she had stopped doing the affirmations altogether.
She explained that these mothers thought she was making her daughter prideful and arrogant. They thought her children wouldn’t have humility and might be offensive to other kids. I hadn’t even considered that. So although I did affirmations every day on the way to school for both of my children last year, I always had that conversation in the back of my mind.
After hearing my sweet girl speak to her doll with such kindness and confidence about herself, I know I have been doing the right thing to build up my children, especially before I send them out into the world each day.
I have struggled with confidence my whole life. Most people wouldn’t know that about me, as I am loud and crack jokes and can speak in front of any crowd. But the truth is, words have power and the world will say ugly words to your children, as it did to me and they might believe them as I did. I had people close to me that said mean, hateful things. People who told me I wasn’t smart, I wasn’t pretty, I wasn’t gentle enough, I wasn’t ladylike, I was too hyper, I was too loud, too skinny, too fat, too much. I had people tear me down, and I believed them. It didn’t help that in school I struggled with math and had to overcome dyslexia. So I still battle with the voice inside my head that tells me that I’m not enough and confidence is still not something that comes naturally for me.
Nowadays there’s, even more, bulling, hatefulness and social media for our children to struggle with. Kids are killing themselves every day, and it terrifies me. Kids are mean, I’m not proud to say that I know I was at times. Teachers, unfortunately, can be cruel and life is hard. Even well-intentioned family members can be hurtful without realizing it. If I can help to create in my children a positive self-esteem, build up their confidence, so they are better equipped to face the world, then I will, every single day.
Children are vulnerable and immature; their brains are not fully developed when they are being influenced by people, marketing tactics, and social media. They need their parents to speak words of truth into their lives every chance we get. There is no shame in being smart, your looks should not define you, and there is nothing wrong with a confident child. I would venture to say that your child’s confidence might make or break them one day or on many days.
I am proud to say I am encouraging my kids to be proud of themselves, proud of their God given gifts and to see positives in all their qualities. I am going to lift them up to appreciate who they are and not get hung up on what they are not. I am loud and spicy, some might call that obnoxious but I call it assertive, passionate and convicted and that’s what my daughter will believe about how loud she is too.
My hope for her and my son is that maybe my daily affirmations will shape their character so strongly that they never must wonder if they are good enough, that they don’t waste one minute of their lives worrying about what other people think and that they never let anyone break their spirit or make them smaller.
At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. You’re not pizza.
Here’s our daily affirmations I do with each of my children on our way to school, every day. I highly recommend it. These are the basics, and although there are a lot, it takes just a few minutes. You can also do them while they brush their teeth and hair in the morning or over breakfast. If one of my children are struggling, I add personalized affirmations to the list. Right now, my son is also saying “I am an excellent reader and amazing writer.” When the affirmations are complete, we all clap and cheer for one another! It’s an added little bonus I stole from a friend, and it lights up my babes!
You can see my little lady doing her affirmations over on Instagram this week, three-year-olds are a hoot. I hope all of you mamas are surviving back to school and waking up at the crack of dawn! We are in week two and still adjusting over here!