Saturday, December 30, 2006

Moved in...

Okay, it's been 8 months since I last blogged. We've since moved to another state, gotten a puppy, been to our first parent/teacher conference, and lost about 6 hotwheels in our heating vents (a la Zack). But I've gotten the blog back out to help myself laugh through the insanity that is motherhood. Hopefully there will be a few of you out there laughing with me...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mary Kay Saves the Day

Through something called the Big Fix Tour, the Utah Humane Society will spay or neuter pets for cheap. That’s why I was standing in a line of disgruntled animals and owners with my own three kids, and two kitties in a cardboard box. It was 7:30 in the morning and cold, but I was happy to be there after combat-crawling through happy meal boxes and sippy cups under the back seat of our van to wrestle two kitties into a box. Admittedly, this event was poorly planned on my part. But we were in line and on the docket.

After 30 minutes, my youngest was poking the dogs around us into a canine frenzy. I decided car seats were a good solution to my problem, so someone held my spot while I buckled my kids in. At this point I was feeling like a despicable person. 1. I had two kitties in a box. 2. My kids would soon be locked in a van. It was a slippery slope at that point. So I, 3, placated my children with sour gummy worms. Having thus sugared my children into submission, I resumed my place in line.

Now imagine how I must have looked. I barely had time to get my kids dressed, much less doll myself up, and on good days I'm lucky to brush my teeth before leaving the house. It was then the cat owner two animals back “pinked” me. “Hi!” She smiled. “I'm a Mary Kay consultant and I think you need to be 'pinked'.” She explained that she was gifting me thirteen dollars worth of free Mary Kay products. I wasn't sure whether to be grateful or insulted.

With the pink card in my back pocket, I was two animals away from the Big Fix Tour van. It was then my daughter escaped, tripping the car alarm and all the animals with it. Minutes later she roused them again with her scream, “We can't leave our kitties here!”

Finally the chaos was over. And when I got back into the van to drive home? It wouldn’t start. I had to ask the Mary-Kay lady to jump start my car. She was happy to help, and I was relieved to see her drive up, not in a Mary-Kay pink Cadillac, but in a white van like mine. “A typical day in the life of a mother…” she said, forever smiling, and reminded me that if I used the card, she'd give me a free facial.

4. Caught frumpy at the Big Fix Tour. All this by 8:45 in the morning.

I was convinced the kitties were having a better day than I was.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Too Much of a Good Thing?

In this day and age of ultimate makeovers and anorexic teen stars, my husband and I decided to aggressively build our daughter's self-esteem before the media blasted into her life to set outrageous standards for success and beauty. We've never hesitated to tell her that she's beautiful, smart, funny, and kind. I have to admit, I've detested my body for, hmmm, going on twenty-five years now, and I didn't want that for Leah. But we may have gone a tad too far.

The other night while blessing the food, Leah said, oh so gratefully, “Heavenly Father, I'm thankful that I'm beautiful.” Unfortunately she didn't add, “I'm also thankful that I'm smart, funny, and kind.” It was unnerving to hear so much ego from a three and a half year-old, barely potty trained. Had we created a diva?

So what's the balance? Kaleb's latest hobby is puzzles. And for some reason when he says, “I'm super good at puzzles, huh Mom,” it doesn't bother me as much as Leah saying, “Thank you, God, for making me beautiful.”

But is that really so bad? If I could choose, I would rather my daughter be conceited than self-loathing. Neither option is very appealing; in an ideal world she would love herself and all her idiosyncrasies while celebrating the qualities of those around her. But let's admit it, in this world of America's Next Top Model and The Swan, it's difficult to celebrate anything when most of us don't measure up to this wicked ideal of womanhood. Ladies, it's time for a revolution.

Dove's current campaign for real beauty is, well, beautiful ( Their ads use real women, with real bodies. And each woman, black, white, plus-size, or waiflike, seems confident and calm in her own skin. In some of the ads there's a slogan accompanied by a picture of a young girl that goes something like, “Let's change the standard of beauty before the current standard changes her.” When I hear it I tear up. Leah jogs naked circles in our living room without shame. When she does I watch her little tushy jiggle as she moves, and I think, “Someday she'll hate that part of her body.” Her natural genetic code has blessed her with abundant buttocks. And I think it's beautiful. I would like her to think it's beautiful too.

How our daughters view themselves depends largely on how we view ourselves. While I want to celebrate a new standard of beauty that is more inclusive than exclusive, I dedicate too much eye-time to the walking Barbies of our day. If women are disturbed by current beauty trends, they need to voice their disapproval. The stars that monopolize entertainment news, glossy magazine covers, and primetime advertisement slots are there because we watch them. They're there because we pay their salaries with our fascination. We need to demand something different.

Someday I hope all women can celebrate what's diverse and what's real. I hope for a world where plus-size women are sexy and the bespecled and befreckled stop traffic. But until then I've changed my mind about my daughter's prayer. As long as she can see the beauty in others, I'll say amen to any prayer that celebrates Leah's beauty. And to that I'll add my own prayer: “Thank you, God, for making me beautiful too.”