What Makes You Beautiful

by Alysia, Try Defying Gravity

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” – Stuart Smalley character, Saturday Night Live

Thanks to a fairly provocative Time Magazine article called “Are You Mom Enough”, the internet was abuzz with “The Mommy Wars” – the notion that mothers are in competition with each other over who has the “better” way of parenting.

But I’m involved in a different kind of “Mommy War”.  It’s not about me comparing myself to the mom down the street or across the country.

This is a war that rages inside my own head.  Not the battle of Am I Mom Enough.  But the battle of Am I A Good Enough Mother?

I know what you’re going to say.  Alysia, you are a great mom.  We leave you those messages all the time on your blog posts.

I am grateful for that, of course. I say it back to you and mean every word when I say it to you.

So why don’t I actually believe it when it’s said to me?

Last week, a friend was telling me a story about her ten year old daughter.  They were out together with another adult, and my friend was gushing about her daughter to this other woman.  She shared how smart and sensitive she was, and how she was an incredible young woman.  Her daughter’s face lit up with a huge smile.  Later, my friend asked her daughter why she had such a strong reaction to the comments. “I tell you all the time how special you are,” my friend said to her child.

“But you always say it TO me.  I’ve never heard you say it to someone else.”

It’s all well and good for people to tell you to your face that you’re great, because that’s the nice and polite thing to do.  It’s another thing to overhear someone else say it ABOUT you.

That’s when you can believe your own press.

Recently, a friend and I have embarked on a new project together.  It’s taking us way out of our comfort zone and we’ve had to reach out to friends and strangers to help us.

The response has been more than overwhelmingly positive. It has been more affirming than anything I could have imagined.  People believe in us, so they believe in our project.

And perhaps now I can start to believe in me too.

**********

I wondered if perhaps I wasn’t the only one who needed help believing her own press.

So I’m going to tell you about some friends of mine.  I’ve told them to their faces how incredible they are.  But maybe they need to hear me say it to someone else before they will believe it too.

I have to tell you about my amazing friend T.  She worked so hard to get the appropriate educational placement for her son.  Instead of fighting and arguing with the school district, she kept a level head and made the conversation about what her son needed, not about what she demanded he should have.  She didn’t burn any bridges but kept gently pushing for the right thing.  And got it.  She is my advocate hero.  I am so proud of her and I know her son will thrive in his new school setting.

Oh, and I have to tell you about my feisty friend N.  She’s a single mom with four kids.  She had no real income of her own when she left, but she quickly learned how to stand on her own two feet and then some.  She’s made an incredibly loving home for her children and is the one I turn to for parenting advice.  She doesn’t take any crap from anyone.  She is blunt, honest, and my hero for knowing that in order for her kids to be happy, she needed to be happy too.

And you must hear about my friend A.  She was my son’s one-to-one aide in preschool, but she’s always been a friend to the whole family.  This year, she was my lifeline.  She watched my boys so my husband and I could go to the movies for the first time since we had kids.  She takes my son without any hesitation whenever I needed help controlling the chaos around me.  She loves my kids like I love my kids and sees the specialness in them in ways that others don’t.  Knowing that she is just a simple text away has made this year survivable. 

Finally, I need to tell you about my own mom.  She took on the role of both parents when my father died 13 years ago.  She worked hard to stay strong for all of us, even while she worked through her own grief.  And have you seen her with her grandsons?  They sit by the window waiting for her to arrive and snuggle up with her when she’s here.  And my kids don’t snuggle with anyone! As a special educator, she’s a strong advocate for the kids she works with.  But she’s the strongest when fighting for her own family.

Now…it’s your turn. In the comments below, tell US about one of YOUR incredible friends.  Then forward the post to them.  Let them hear you tell us how absolutely amazing they are. 

Because you’re good enough, strong enough, and doggone it…this is what makes you beautiful.

You’re insecure
Don’t know what for
You’re turning heads when you walk through the door
Don’t need make up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough
Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you
Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
You don’t know
Oh Oh
You don’t know you’re beautiful” – What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

5 Comments

Filed under Remembering to Breathe

5 responses to “What Makes You Beautiful

  1. Pretend I’m talking to a real person–I know all the implications right there like I don’t have the time and nor do I have many friends in real life but just play along, would you? “OK, so I don’t have this one friend, I have this group of friends….a group of mom’s who have helped me realize I’m not one single batsh*t crazy mom dealing with all this Autism stuff on my own. There are other moms out there that have gotten me through the day. Each one in their own way, they have pulled me along. Made me realize I’m not alone and how incredibly lucky I am. If only I could repay the thanks I feel to each and every one of them.”

    That right there is how I feel about all my mom’s out here. Thank you.

  2. Nikki

    Let me tell you about my friend A. She is the only friend that I kept from my college years because, quite frankly, she was the only one worth keeping. She has never wanted to be the center of attention but stands out in other ways. Her dogged determination to do and to get what is best for her sons is inspiring. She is a whole lot of awesome packed into one small body. She is a beautiful person inside and out. I know that her husband believes that, her sons believe that, her family and friends believe that, and I believe that. Her ability to listen and actually *help* has saved my butt more times than I can count and I love her for it. While she is beautiful every day, she is most beautiful to me when she lets down her guard and lets out her true, unique laugh. Or when she’s eating orange food…

  3. When I was pregnant with my 2nd son, I happened upon a message board online. Our members have dwindled over the past 6+ years, but there is a core group of women who inspire me every day. They make me want to be a better mom. There are the few women who worked hard to get their health under control and lost weight to be more active parents. (D, H, R, A, B, in particular) There are the moms who have gone back to school to do what they love. (S, M) There are moms who started their own businesses (M, J, A) There is a mom who is so PRESENT for her kids…even while she is a human pin cushion who is battling all sorts of health ailments (J). There are the other moms who have overcome divorce and are so strong and amazing–put their kids first. (L, K, A) There are the moms who do so much for their kids and families and schools…and are well-rounded women. (K,K, J,S,A,A S, B) I am leaving some out, but I hope each and every one od these women know how beautiful and wonderful they are. They are TOTALLY mom enough!

  4. Pingback: What Makes You Beautiful « Try Defying Gravity

  5. Susan

    Oh, my…that’s all I can say.

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