Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cute.....And The Self Doubting Inner Voice.

The other day I was in my bedroom when I heard a knock on the door. Anthony comes in with a sad look on his face and I knew I was about to hear some sort of concern from the depths of his young, sensitive soul. 

"What's the matter, Anthony?"
"Mama, I just have this feeling that when you grow up you're not cute anymore." he said while looking at himself in the mirror and shaking his head.
"What, Honey!?"
"Like when I look at Timothy I think, 'he's so cute!' because he's just little and adorable, but when I look at myself and when you get older I think, 'you're not so cute anymore.' I just think that."
"Did someone say something to you about the way you look?" I asked while my eyes searched his face, deciding if what he would say next would be truth or lie. 
"No, I'm just saying I think that. I think you don't look so cute when you get older."
"Ohhhh Anthony, you're my child! You will always be cute and I will always think you're cute, no matter what age you are. People are cute when they are babies and people are cute when they get older. It's just a different kind of cute. I'm older and I'm still cute, right?"
"Yes!" he said with a grin. 
"Well there 'ya go. Nothing to worry about. And thank you for saying I'm cute." 

Part of me wants to laugh, what a silly thing for an almost 8 year old boy to be worried about! "Am I not cute anymore because I'm getting older!?" WHAT!? How absurd. But yet, the other part of me wants to cry. Where the hell did that come from? Is someone saying something to him about his looks? Well that would piss me off. Why does he think he doesn't measure up? He's 8. Is this starting already? I know I can't shield my children from everything, but I thought I'd been doing a good job teaching my children self love. Why is he comparing himself to his almost 3 year old brother? Is it because I snuggle Tim more and he thinks I love him more? Is it because he and I struggle over home work most every afternoon? Is it because I yelled at him this morning over untied shoes? Is it my fault somehow? Shit, it's my fault, isn't it? 

There it is. The blame. The self doubting inner voice. The self doubting inner voice of parenthood. 

Ooooook Mama. Deep breathes. Practice what you preach. Put into practice what you tell your children. No, you're not perfect, you make mistakes, but at least you try your best. Squash that blaming and self doubting inner voice. You are not somehow, unwittingly, destroying your child's self esteem and self love. 

Or am I? Damn it...there's that inner voice again. No wonder I have conversations like this with my son, I gave him my self doubting gene.  

The truth is, I never really know with Anthony. This child of mine is living proof that people are not black and white, but a million shades of gray. It could be something, it could be nothing. I might not ever know. 

I sat Anthony down and we went on to discuss how looks aren't everything and it's more important to have a beautiful heart and soul than to worry about a beautiful face....something I've talked with all the kids about before, on many occasions. 

Moments like these make me wonder if I'm doing a good enough job being their Mama. ....and then I have to tell myself to shut up. Of course I am. Look at them. 

Or am I? 

I don't know what your inner voice sounds like, Anthony. But don't let it sound like mine. You have your whole life to be filled with various degrees of self doubt. Fully love yourself now, before I can not shield you from the world that will try to teach you otherwise. 

With love,
Mama Hauck


  1. How sad but profound for the both of you. Tell Anthony that I always remember him telling me that "Your not old Grandma" and he will always be my cute "Little Man" We are ALL always cute but the cuteness changes as we age in order for us to grow into the wonderful person that we will be. He will be a "cute" young man, husband and father someday. I know it!!

    I love you my Little Man, Love Grandma

  2. I can't speak as a parent but I was a little boy Anthony’s age once and, as my mother used to tell me, also very sensitive. I look back fondly on how that used to carry through my childhood days.

    Kids' minds work in amazing, mysterious ways and the way they interpret the world is uniquely theirs, free from the experiences and sometimes the logic that we as adults have come to utilize. Sure it's possible Anthony could have picked up on something you said in passing, or maybe something he heard during his school day. Because he is a sensitive young boy I'm willing to bet that he's more likely to tune into things that other children might miss, and spend a good deal of time analyzing what they mean and how he feels about it.

    As kids we're exposed to many personalities and points of view throughout our lives, and no one can deny that our parents are significantly influential. Into our adult lives we become an amalgamation of people we meet. But I think that from childhood onwards we consciously accept or reject ideas and people whose values don’t mesh with what we hold to be true over time. Right now Anthony is in the process of contemplating the value and longevity of personal appearance. These thoughts might stay with him for a long time or be fleeting. If it were my son I’d certainly want to shield him from external influences that would have him put so much weight behind something like physical attractiveness, no question. So I think I understand why you feel as you do. However I believe you might be overthinking this Becca, specifically the role you play.

    You raise your kids with love and compassion, and other other strong values. If there is always dialogue between you and them, if they know you’re there to talk and will comfort them lovingly when they have questions like this, you’re doing the best a mother can. It’s amongst the things I treasure most about my own mother. You’re doing enough. You are enough.


Please share your thoughts with me!