An unwitting role model

So, I hardly ever write anything that doesn’t include pictures of makeup or cute kids’ clothes but I thought what the hell, I have a platform so I might as well use it. We all know the saying that kids are like sponges, but I’ve recently become aware of the fact that I am my child’s biggest role model. I’ve been navigating my way through the minefield of motherhood with a notion that it is my job to teach my child right from wrong, but it wasn’t until the other day when my daughter said, “mommy, am I getting wrinkles? I don’t want to get wrinkles” that it hit home that every little action and every muttered phrase is observed and internalised. It’s a sobering thought.

role model

Now that my daughter is nearly four she is no longer just focussing on learning new words and not to smack her friends. Now she is very interested in the process of “growing up” instead of just enjoying being a kid. All children have to grow up, but it is a pretty long process and she honestly shouldn’t be planning her future hair colour at three years old (she wants blonde hair, even if she has to wait 15 years for it) or declaring how many Red Bulls she will drink a day when she grows up.

The Red Bull comment in particular made me guiltily realise that she is modelling her future self on me, her ultimate role model. Obviously your children learn their attitudes, beliefs, manners and the like from their parents, but it is one thing actively trying to teach your child something you want them to know, and a completely different matter when they are being influenced every time you examine your eye wrinkles, and by every unintended slip of the tongue. This is absolutely terrifying to me, and makes me really glad that I stopped smoking before she got to this age.

little-girls-playing-with-makeup

All little girls want to wear their mom’s makeup. I remember playing “dress up” with my mom’s shoes and makeup when I was little. Being grown up seems glamorous and fascinating, and this might be all there is to it. Maybe I am being a bit hard on myself by feeling so guilty that my child refuses to wear “cheap clothes” and has a wrinkle phobia. But I’m glad that I’ve become aware of how much my child is taking in. I’ve made a conscious decision to tone down my consumerism and keep my insecurities to myself.

What things have you said or done that have been mimicked by your child? Does anyone else out there feel guilty for not being the perfect role model? I’d love the feedback.

4 thoughts on “An unwitting role model

  1. CharlieW says:

    The guilt is huge! My biggest fear is that my little girl will grow up and have the same body issues that I have. My weight is a huge issue for me (pun intended :)). I’ve been overweight my whole life and finally got down to my goal weight about 6 years ago… then I fell pregnant. Cara is 2 and I still carry 20 extra kg’s. I find myself constantly looking in the mirror and I get nervous when we go out and I don’t feel comfortable with the outfit I’m wearing. Pretty soon she will start picking up on my negative feelings. I don’t want my daughter to grow up feeling that she’s ugly and not good enough. Honestly, that’s how I’ve felt most of my life. I don’t want that for her. Trying my best to get over it. Easier said than done!

  2. Nicola Meyer says:

    Truth!!! You have to constantly watch what you say. Fortunately my daughter is older now but I still have to be careful. I find that she is at that age of being very aware of body image and I also have to monitor what my son says to her. No joking allowed about shape etc!!! I also check everyday what happens at school and if there have been any problems. I dont want other girls/boys making ugly remarks. She is fit, healthy and has a great body.

    • Mother City Mom says:

      It feels like such an overwhelming responsibility to protect your daughter from the media, peer pressure, and even your own family sometimes! I am scared my child will grow up too soon too

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