I Can Be – Who I’ve become

She taught me to walk and to talk.

She showed me how to tie my shoes and put on my jacket.

She taught me that Jesus loves me, isn’t just a song but a true story.

She taught me that spitting soap in your mother’s face results in being grounded for a week and that life comes with consequences.

She showed me that the best accessory is a purse and nobody can ever, EVER have enough of them.

She made promises matter, and taught me to never break one.

She told me I was beautiful and meant it.

She let me see that marriage is work, but with hard work and the grace of God they can not only survive, they can thrive.

She told me I was strong and made me believe it.

She nurtured my compassionate side, and encouraged me to love others.  Even when it meant doing something hard.

She laughed at my jokes and worked to curb my sarcasm (we’re not sure how well that one worked).

She let me be who God made me to be, did her best to guide me along the way, and has never done anything less than make me feel cherished and loved.

So much of the woman I am today is because of the woman my Mom has been for the past 28 years.  I saw in her the mother I wanted to be (even if I have eaten a few dozen humble pies of the “I’d never do what she did moments” that once I had my own kids I totally did!) and the woman I could be come.

She has and will always be one of the greatest influences in my life.  She’s helped guide and mold the woman I am, and she continues to be a rock I lean on more now that I’m a mother myself than I ever did before. But for all of the wonderful tools my mother has given me, there is one that never came.

Self esteem, self-confidence.

Don’t get me wrong.  My Mom always told me I was perfect the way God made me, she always told me I was beautiful, and I truly don’t think a harsh word about my physical self ever came from her mouth.  The problem was, those harsh words came from her mouth often…directed at herself.

My mom has struggled with her own low self-image for years and while she struggled I watched on.  I don’t remember purposely mimicking the self deprecating behaviour, in fact I’m sure I didn’t but it happened.  Do I blame my own bottom of the bucket self-esteem on her?

No.  We live in a world that makes women in general feel “Not Good Enough”.  Everywhere we look we are hit with the message that we need to be thinner, prettier, get more Botox, wear the right clothes, and fit the right mold – whatever it is for that day.  And so, as a chubby high school student with intense acne –  I fell into the trap and have spent years feeling unworthy.  Regardless of what the mirror really says, what my husband says, the number on the scale or the clothes in my closet, all I EVER hear is “You’re not good enough” “You’re unworthy”.

Then I had daughters and my world changed!  I don’t want them to see that in me the way I saw it in her.  Because it hurt me then and it hurts me now to know that my Mom, the woman who is a super hero in my eyes feels anything less than incredible.  She is incredible and she deserves better than she feels, I deserve better than I feel and if I can do anything about it the way my girls will never feel!

I know it’s a struggle, I know the world is fighting against me with its negative message and some days it feels hopeless.

Then a part of the world screams “WE’RE GONNA MAKE A DIFFERENCE!”

The Barbie “I Can Be The Voice” Website launched and I saw a glimmer of hope!  Barbie has been a pivotal part of the lives of children around the world for years, both as a toy and as a symbol.  It’s with Barbie they first learn to dream, of their wedding, of being a doctor, vet or of being a parent.  She lets them explore worlds they dream of and she gives them the freedom to be whomever they want to be.  I loved her for that.

What I love about the I Can Be the Voice website is it’s a place for parents to go to give their girls a voice!  To empower them as females, to share advice and gain the tools necessary to raise strong, confident women!  Here’s just a little bit of what they’re about:

Established as a podium for girl empowerment, I Can Be The Voice™ aspires to expand this legacy by providing today’s parents with the tools they need to encourage their daughters to be their own best advocates; to help them realize the scope of their inner potential. Here, you’ll find relevant, constructive dialogue around some of the most pertinent issues faced by girls today. Search. Share. Speak your mind. Because every time you find your voice, you help a girl find hers.

Being a girl isn’t what it used to be. It’s better.

Terry Carson, a Canadian Parenting Coach is getting the ball rolling.  She’s sharing valuable information both at I Can Be The Voice and on her website TheParentingCoach.ca.  Her tips and ideas are just more tools to add to our child rearing belt and I’m so excited to keep reading what she has to say!So today, on this National I Can Be Day!  I urge you to click on over and see what you find!  The only way our girls will grow up better is if we pave the way, so lets band together, tell the world to take a flying leap and change the way we see ourselves, so our girls can see the AWESOME that lives inside of them!

 Disclosure – I am participating in the Barbie I Can Be campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Mattel Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Also, I did talk to my Mom about this post before I wrote it.  She knows I love her with my whole breath and that this is NOT at all meant as a slam towards her!

2 thoughts on “I Can Be – Who I’ve become

  1. Dearest Ashley,
    You are a beautiful woman who has grown up from the wee baby I held so close to one I get to watch be a wonderful Mom. Thank you for the love and heart that you poured into this post. Our self esteem is one thing that I believe is more fragile than almost anything else in our lives. You are investing so much conscious thought and preparation to help your little girls avoid some of the confusion, and hurt that both you and I have felt over the years. I love the things you teach them about choices, about how they look and why, and always giving them the choice to feel beautiful. I pray for all of us …you, Bethany, Audrey and myself that God will give each of us the confidence to be the women (girls) we are and can be. You teach me more than you know. Thank you for using your gift of writing. I pray that somewhere there is even just one woman who’s life has been changed because of your heart and hands to words. Love ya girl!
    Love always your Mom

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