No I’m not a pretty girl

This afternoon, Libby said the words that no parent to a little girl wants to hear.

I brushed her hair, put a clip in it and put her glasses on before she went to the park. She asked me why I’d put a hair clip in and I said, “Because it looks lovely. You always look lovely and now your hair is nice and tidy as well. Shall I show you in the mirror?” 

She nodded, so we went to the bathroom mirror. 

She looked in the mirror and I said, “Look, what a pretty girl.”

She said, “What a not-pretty girl.” I asked what she meant and she said, “I’m not a pretty girl.”

I asked her if she knew what pretty meant and explained that it meant she looked lovely. She walked off saying, “No, I don’t look lovely.”

We had another chat about it later and I asked her why she thought she didn’t look lovely. She said that she looked like a scarecrow. Both hubby and I told her that she always looked lovely. 

2015-03-07 14.04.15

It’s really difficult speaking to a two year old about things like this without putting her under pressure. But I had another little chat to her later and she said that she wanted to be beautiful but she looked like a scarecrow. 

I asked her who had said that she looked like a scarecrow, and she said it was just what she thought. I told her that she always looked beautiful. She didn’t say anything, but I think she was listening. 

I often tell Libby how nice she looks, but perhaps I don’t do it enough.

I don’t know whether somebody has told her that she looked like a scarecrow. Her hair does have a habit of going a bit mad when she’s been playing so it could be that a child has said it innocently. 

I also worry that she has perhaps overheard something that I have said about myself. 

Like all little girls, Libby does copy things that I do and say. She even has her own imaginary baby who she looks after when I’m looking after Lia. 

I don’t recall openly mentioning in front of Libby that I look awful, but I am definitely guilty of totally failing to make an effort with my appearance. 

I only wear make up about once a month if that. Most days I don’t even get around to brushing my hair. 

If I’m honest, I’d love to make an effort and look nice. But I don’t have time to put make up on in the mornings. 

My clothes are all old and way past their best, but it seems pointless buying any more because I am desperately trying to find the time to do some exercise and lose a bit of weight. 

Buying new clothes in my current size just seems like giving up and accepting that I’m going to stay like this. 

But now I’ve heard Libby saying these things about herself, I have to put her needs first. I’m going to have to put some real thought into what has sparked this in Libby. 

I’m going to try to let Libby choose what she wears and make sure that she feels that she looks nice every day before we go out. 

But if it is due to the way I look and behave, then maybe it’s time for me to change. 

I want my little girls to grow up knowing how beautiful they are. If I can’t give them that confidence in themselves, nobody else can. 

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32 Comments

  1. Barry Morton
    April 25, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    Don’t be hard on yourself. I wouldn’t think for a minute that what she said had any bearing on you.
    Sometimes they say things that hurt us or worry us, but to them, it’s not really meaningful at that age. As you said, just reassure her and then move on to something else without dwelling.
    She’ll have picked it up from somewhere, but don’t worry. Reassurance is the right course.
    As for looks, I think Libby is just happy to have her Mummy every day, whatever she looks like!
    Trust me, you never stop worrying about them – all those text books we bought to help us through parenting too!! What a waste of money!
    I would never dare to suggest I am an expert Dad…..I get reminded of it every day!!!!

    • monsterid April 25, 2015 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you Barry, that’s great to hear. We are both stumped as to where it has come from, we will keep an eye on things and do everything we can to make sure she knows how beautiful she is. I do agree that it’s probably just two year old nonsense. Definitely worth keeping an eye on though and building her self confidence as much as we can I think.

  2. Sarah MumofThree World
    April 25, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    That’s a really sad thing to read – especially at such a young age. I’d hate it my daughter said that. But I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    • monsterid April 25, 2015 / 10:09 pm

      Thank you Sarah. We will try not to worry 😉

  3. Morna
    April 25, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I’d be devastated if my little girl said this. However I have a similar attitude to my own looks as you – despite this my elder daughter thinks she is the prettiest girl in her class! I don’t think you should blame yourself. As the other commenters said I’m not sure you should read too much into this. Perhaps it doesn’t mean the same to us as it does to them. Your little girl is beautiful but I you know that! 🙂

    • monsterid April 25, 2015 / 10:11 pm

      Ah thank you Morna, it’s great to hear that your daughter thinks she is the prettiest girl in her class, we can only hope that all girls feel like that about themselves can’t we?

  4. April 25, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    It’s so hard when they come out with things like like.
    My teeny tiny nine year old came into me the other day asking if she was fat!!
    Again like you I have racking my brain as to weather it was a child a school, something she has read or overheard me moaning about my weight.
    All we can do is try to be positive role models and boost their selfesteem.

    • monsterid April 25, 2015 / 10:22 pm

      Thank you Emma, you’re right it’s really tough. I must say it is one of the unexpected perils of bringing up girls of such a young age!x

  5. Rhonda Gales
    April 26, 2015 / 1:37 am

    When I hear that a 2 year old says something like this, it breaks my heart. I constantly tell my 3 year old granddaughter how pretty she is. Building a strong sense of self-worth is important and it starts at home. You can’t tell her enough. She’s beautiful and I love the skirt and leggings. Too cute.

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 7:02 am

      Thank you Rhonda. I agree, we need to do more to make sure that she hears every day how beautiful she is.

  6. April 26, 2015 / 4:24 am

    It has nothing to do with you not being dolled up and glamorous – in fact that would make things worse for her in my opinion. My daughter had glasses and wispy-airy fairy blonde hair when she was 2 and I thought she was cute. Just keep telling her how fabulous she is but don’t emphasize physical looks – spread it out over how clever she is too etc. Encourage her confidence and love her and don’t keep bringing it up because that just makes it a bigger deal. My daughter is now 26 & wears contacts and dyes her lovely blonde hair red – she tells me she was a “funny looking kid” and I tell her she was gorgeous and still is! She is confident and funny and happy so something must have worked – it will for you too (trust me!) x
    Leanne@crestingthehill recently posted…is “what is your Passion?” a first world question?My Profile

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 7:01 am

      Thank you Leanne, that’s a really interesting point of view about making it worse if I was glamorous. My mum is an artist and I always saw her producing masterpieces in comparison to my stick men, so I never got into art. I suppose the same could certainly apply. I’m so glad your daughter has grown up to be so confident, it is the most important thing that we hope for all of our little girls.xx

  7. Debbie
    April 26, 2015 / 7:04 am

    Hi Natalie, how heartbreaking for you. Please Libby that she doesn’t look like a scarecrow and I know as I’ve spent my whole life looking like one….Even got the accent and straw behind the ears to prove it.

    In that picture she looks like a proper little doll (you can tell her that too) and her glasses make her look not only very nice, but very intelligent too.

    Hope it’s just a phase she’s going through as it would be a shame if she were to get hung up on looks at such a young age.

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Aspergers Syndrome: Raising AwarenessMy Profile

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 7:14 am

      Thank you Debbie. And you did make me chuckle with your scarecrow comment! I am hoping it was just a passing comment, we will be making sure that we tell her how beautiful she is every day.xx

  8. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    April 26, 2015 / 11:03 am

    I wouldn’t have thought this is any reflection of you. Little kids adore their mums and see right past the lack of time for hair and make up, or worn clothes. I’d lay money on it being something a kid has said. A lot of little girls equate long hair with beauty (and princesses- the epitome of kid beauty). Maybe try and show her some photo’s of pretty women with short hair and discuss how people can be beautiful even if they look different. ‘It’s OK to be different’ by Todd Parr is pretty cool if you haven’t come across it before.

    On a separate note, it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re not where you want to be, size-wise. I’d recommend buying one nice outfit in your current size which makes you feel good about yourself. It’s about feeling nice right now, it doesn’t mean you’re giving up.

    *hugs*

  9. vicki
    April 26, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    i think that maybe telling little girls about being pretty is implying that it matters….which it shouldnt….and that fussing about their clothes and their hair pehaps reinforces that this is what matters….my 8 year old does care how she looks now but my 3 year old fortunately doesnt seem to care, and she does look like a scarecrow. I wish that people of all ages realised that there is much more to life than how pretty you look.

  10. vicki
    April 26, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    Also on looks isnt it annoying when your child announces that their nursery pals mum is more like a princess than you…..this happened to me when the mum in question was at least 10 year younger with far too much makeup for the schoolrun and wearing i think it was a pink tracksuit…..i concluded there and then that my eldest child has very little taste!

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 2:48 pm

      Haha Vich that made me laugh about the princess comment! I do hope that your girls are now fully aware that pink tracksuit lady is no princess 😉 And yes you are absolutely right, it doesn’t matter how pretty they look, but I do want them to have the confidence to feel pretty and know that they are beautiful, however they look.x

  11. Izzie Anderton
    April 26, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    It must have been so sad to hear your daughter say this and I can’t begin to imagine how you’re feeling. Libby’s a real cutie and looks so clever in her glasses. Tell her she’s gorgeous every single day because she really is!
    Izzie Anderton recently posted…After they’ve gone…My Profile

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 3:37 pm

      Thank you Izzie, I am going to be telling her all the time now. I’m going to start to tell Lia already as well, I don’t think she understands but they’re never too young to know that they’re beautiful.x

  12. April 26, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    Your post really hit a nerve, especially as I’ve seen so much discussion on body image, self esteem, etc lately. I agree with Vicki that telling girls they’re pretty, commenting on looks constantly reinforces that’s one of the most important things about being female. It saddens me that in this day and age we as women are still shackled to our image/how we look, rather than how amazing we are in general. How clever, artistic, etc we are and how amazing our whole bodies are and what ‘beautiful’ people we are! 😉

    • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 10:37 pm

      I totally agree, but however we look we should all know that we are beautiful. And I think that to a two year old, pretty and beautiful are synonymous and I want both girls to grow up being confident in themselves and knowing that they are beautiful in every way.

      • April 26, 2015 / 11:32 pm

        Exactly, it’s just a sad world we live in that little girls worry about their appearances so young 🙁 & you can tell Libby from me she’s gorgeous and from reading posts on your blog she sounds fun and clever too! 😀 We should all learn to love ourselves a bit more, then we can concentrate on living life to the fullest! 😉
        Mother Mands recently posted…#BodyShaming, Who Should Really Be ‘Shamed’?My Profile

        • monsterid April 26, 2015 / 11:42 pm

          Thank you Mandy, I couldn’t agree more. I hope that both of my girls grow up confident in themselves and able to see the good in other people. I don’t think we can ask for much more than that in the way our children view themselves and others.x

  13. April 27, 2015 / 1:09 am

    Keep telling her she is beautiful . . . and smart . . . and creative . . . and kind! But let her know that you think that you are all those things too! Don’t make negative comments about yourself in front of her. Chances are, though, she’s so little, it’s just a phase or something she said to see what kind of reaction she might get. She’s darling.

    • monsterid April 27, 2015 / 5:56 am

      Thank you Leslie. It’s very difficult not to make negative comments about myself but I will do my best!

  14. April 27, 2015 / 7:24 am

    Aw lovely it’s such a tough subject but please don’t be too hard on yourself. It is true that we must be role models for our children, especially I think a mum with her daughter and a dad with his son, but I always felt ugly growing up and it wasn’t because of anything my parents did wrong, it was as you say, comments from other children. Libby is beautiful, she’s gorgeous and she’ll be absolutely fine xxx

    • monsterid April 27, 2015 / 7:42 am

      Thank you Hannah. It’s very difficult at such a young age to work out where the idea has come from. I’m hoping it was just a passing comment, she hasn’t said it again thankfully.x

  15. April 27, 2015 / 8:28 pm

    She’s gorgeous, just like her mum. You have never needed makeup and whatnot to look stunning – the rest of us only bother with slap because we look like we died in the night without it! (Even then for me it is a quick swipe of concealer over the bags under my eyes and flick of mascara and eyeliner to give the illusion I have visible eyelashes). The opposite is far worse – the bizarre looking mums waiting outside nursery with fake eyelashes, fake tans, botox, and giant red lips wearing in 6 inch heels and leopard print leggings looking like grotesque parodies of teenagers on a night out rather than simply folk doing child ferrying. You teach your kids that you should feel good about who you are, regardless of hair, clothes etc… and you’re on to a winner 😉
    Maz recently posted…Jogging in jeansMy Profile

    • monsterid April 27, 2015 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you Maz. You always look fabulous so that’s a real complement coming from you. And a few people have mentioned the point about the tango gang with the leopard print and botox – a very valid point, it certainly made me think about what I’d rather look like!x

  16. April 30, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Aw bless her! It’s strange where they get these ideas from! William was upset because he thought he had a noon shaped face because of a book we read. So we stopped reading it. Something in it he related to and thought it was like him. :/
    You and hub are doing the right thing encouraging her etc it’s all you can do. But don’t be so harsh on yourself. .We all rock that ‘parent’ look but you all look lovely. 🙂
    martyn recently posted…How do you do it?My Profile

    • monsterid April 30, 2015 / 10:45 pm

      Aw thanks Martyn, it is really comforting to know that William went through it too and it was easily resolved 🙂

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