Conversations on Confidence & Raising Daughters

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One of the most common questions I’m asked as a mama of multiple girls is “are you going to try for a boy"? Well meaning strangers see AJ with his daughters and jokingly suggest that he’s “going to have his hands full” when they’re teenagers, or that it’s a shame he’s so outnumbered.

Although we’ve never been discontent with our girl gang, the idea of instilling self-confidence and individuality at a young age in my girls weighs heavy on my mind. Raising boys, which of course I have no experience with but know through chatting with friends, research, and watching my own brothers grow up into men, is naturally a different experience and being a mom of only girls is a mental adjustment I’m still working on.

I’m keenly aware of just how closely my five and three year old watch me. Everyday when I get dressed, put on makeup, size up my ever changing body in the mirror, or make snide comments about my body that I don’t think they’ll understand, I’m aware (usually after the fact) of their little brown and blue eyes watching me and their growing minds processing how I see myself. Will they resent me when they’re older for getting eyelash extensions? Am I letting them try out my lipstick too early? Is their wardrobe too “girly”? Am I modeling a balanced perspective of femininity? Did they see me scrolling Instagram admiring the wardrobe/lifestyle/body type/life phase of someone else? How do I, a young mom still very much figuring this whole self-confidence thing out for myself, instill these vital traits in my daughters?

This post is less of a “how to” guide (because in the realm of parenting, those don’t really exist) and more of a conversation around the subject of self-confidence and a few ways I’m working on modeling it in my day to day life in front of the girls. Of course, the same concepts can apply to raising boys too, and whether you’re raising boys or girls, I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions on the subject!

Let them do “big” things

All kids love “helping” their parents do adult-y things and, despite the fact that their efforts to help or join in usually aren’t all that helpful, I think it’s vital for kids to try their hand at the things mom and dad are doing AND feel reinforced in their efforts. For us, it’s usually letting the girls “get ready” with me in the morning, even if they smear lipstick all over their faces or pick out mismatching outfits. It’s letting them stir the cookie batter, even though you know it will be messier and take longer. It’s letting them help clean up and giving them the time to scoop snow with daddy, even if the snow all ends up back in the pathway. These simple (slightly inconvenient) gestures instill confidence in my girls through simply giving them a safe space to experiment, help, and learn new things.

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Don’t classify their appearance

I’ve made this mistake SO MANY TIMES and I’m sure I’ll make it a lot more, but I think especially with girls, it’s so important to let them take the lead when it comes to what they love to wear, how they like their hair done, and even what kind of toys they play with. A few months ago, I was helping Evie get ready for preschool and she walked in with an entirely pink outfit on; from head to toe, bright pink. I mentioned something about that outfit being really “girly” and asked if maybe she wanted to change her pants or something, and for a few weeks afterward she was obsessed with making sure her outfits were “girly enough” and didn’t become “too girly”.

Regardless of my personal taste (which tends to be super neutral, especially for kids), I’m working on letting them pick clothes/toys/hair styles just because they love them, and not necessarily because it fits a certain aesthetic or stereotype.

My girls love beautiful things, as most girls do, and little surprises like their You & Me Tassel Necklaces from Sela Designs are the perfect little accents to start conversations around inner beauty and highlighting it with beautifully made things that they truly love.

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Model self-care

For the first few years of my motherhood journey I rarely made myself a priority. Of course, it’s not easy when you’re raising babies or toddlers or multiples, but as my girls have gotten older and as I’ve done the same, I’ve learned that in order for me to raise them well and lead by example I’ve got to give myself time to recharge.

Self-care may be trendy at the moment, but in practice, it isn’t always easy or glamorous. Sometimes it means forcing a naptime because I can’t function without sleeping. Sometimes it means letting my husband take over bedtime so I can squeeze a shower in after he gets home from work. However it looks each day, I’ve been working on modeling language around caring for myself (especially easy for them to understand while I’m pregnant) and separating it from them. For example, I’m trying not to say things like “mommy needs alone time because you’ve been wearing me out today”. ;)

As they grow up though, I hope they’ll be able to look back and see that self-care is an act of courage sometimes, and that I modeled it well most of the time.

Take the focus off of their appearance early on

Girls grow up with conversations centered on their appearance from such a young age. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with telling a girl she’s beautiful (that’s important too!), I’m working on mentally rewriting my own script for when it comes to talking to my girls and complimenting them.

I’ll try to focus equally on their character, their choices, or their talents, instead of their appearance only. Pieces like my Round + Square silk scarves or t-shirts (which my girls have been known to steal from time to time) have empowering phrases on them that help spark conversation. Instead of saying how “pretty” their hair looks, I can talk about what being “brave and kind” means or what “#equality” looks like early on, or why “Girl Power” isn’t just a catch phrase.

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I’m still very much a work in progress as a mother, especially as I think about my girls getting older and requiring more and more intentional modeling and behavior.

My job is on the internet, requires me to take photos of myself all the time, get new things, and seems very externally focused on the surface, so I have ample room for improvement and conversation around self-confidence and inner beauty.

How are you having these hard conversations with your kiddos? I’d love to hear your experiences.


*This post is part of a long term collaboration with Sela Designs and ROUND + SQUARE. All content ideas, creative direction, photos, and children are my own ;) Please do not use my photos without permission.*

Slow Living || Using Social Media For Good Around Your Kids

We interrupt our normal mess of fashion related posts to bring you a topic of a different kind. Something, in fact, that I've been holding off on writing about because, admittedly, I'm terrible at it. But if I've learned anything from blogging and the authenticity that goes along with it, it's that the posts that I avoid writing the longest are usually the ones most worth writing. 

I often sing the praises of "slow and intentional". And I believe in that lifestyle wholeheartedly. I try, as best I can in a world that promotes more/faster/better/haphazard, to slow down, make my choices from a place of intention, and to raise my girls to do the same. I'm an advocate for "boredom" and schedule as much intentional downtime into my 4 & 2 year old's lives as possible. But there's one area that I've always struggled to use intentionally, especially around my girls, and it's one that I already know I'm not alone in. 

Social Media. 

Of course, my girls are far too young to have their own devices or social media outlets, but the reality is that they've been born into the "digital age" and navigating that reality as a parent is far from easy. I think both my daughters understood how to work an iPhone from the time they were 18- months old. They both can run Netflix without help, answer my phone, and even like wasting time with Instagram filters with me. 

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It can seem harmless and, of course, to some extent it is, but raising children in a world so immersed in social media, connection, and immediacy means that things like comparison, discontent, self-loathing, and wandering into unsafe "online territory" can begin happening at younger ages than ever before. 

To give some balance to the fear that can drive parenting, I've determined to never parent from a "sheltered" or fear-based line of thought. So, of course, I'm not hiding my girls from all social media or pretending like it doesn't exist. However, I'm equally determined to "use social media for good" in my family - despite the times I've failed to do so. 

Here are a few habits I'm hoping to implement more consistently in my day to day to teach my girls that social media can be used for good, but that it's not the "be all end all". 


1. Set specific times to post/check social media

I put this tip first because it's the one I fail at most often. I'm on my phone around my girls ALL THE TIME and although I don't feel like I have to be off it entirely, limiting my own screentime, especially around them, trains us both to value each other's company and detach from social media all the more. 

This is one of the "cornerstones" of my Social Media Detox from several years ago and, starting now, I'm hoping to make it less of a detox routine and more of an everyday habit. 

2. Be intentional with who you follow

Although this may not seem to directly impact your kids, they'll pick up on more than you realize. If you follow accounts that cause you discontent or to compare yourself in unhealthy ways, those feelings will bleed into your day to day life. The occasional sigh when you look in the mirror or exclamation that you "wish you looked more like so and so" can stick with your kids longer than you'd ever intend. 

Instead, follow accounts that inspire and uplift you.

3.  Decide ahead of time how/when your kids can "sign on"

Having a plan in advance when it comes to social media and your kids is a simple way to reduce anxiety and parent intentionally. They'll know, as they get older, what your expectations are and how social media fits into their lives at a particular phase. 

4. Teach them from a young age to unplug

A balance that is easier to imagine than achieve, setting boundaries with screen time/social media is tricky regardless of whether your kids are in school or daycare, whether you work from home with them, or a combination of it all. For me, since my job is entirely online, I try to keep the days when I work while my kids are "plugged into" Netflix to a minimum. Instead, I let them play and make messes around me while I work - not simple, inspiring, or easy most of the time, but it creates a balance between work and play that I think is crucial for kids. 


How have you decided to use social media in your household? I'd love to hear all of the tips and ideas!

Motherhood & Ethical Fashion

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I’m frequently asked what the “catalyst” was for my obsession with ethics and living a “slow, conscious lifestyle”. What drove you to this point? Have you always lived an “eco-friendly” life? Was there a tipping point when you quit fast fashion?

And my answer, always, without hesitation, is when I became a mom.

Of course, motherhood is laced with responsibility and exhaustion and keeping another human (or two or three) alive and mostly clean, but, what I wasn’t expecting was the (literal and figurative) wake-up call that becoming a mom would be for my lifestyle.

I got pregnant at 19. I wasn’t married, although I was with the man I intended to marry, if that counts. I had no idea how to hold a newborn baby, much less grow one inside my body, give birth to it, and then assume the title of “mom”. Life, at that point, was chaotic, exciting, stressful, and a mess. As most new moms can relate to, the act of “becoming a mom” isn’t simple, smooth, or easy in the least. Rather, it’s filled with life-changes, irreversible body alterations, unmet plans, and of course, lots and lots of excitement and love.

Evie, my oldest, was born a few months after I turned 20, and I loved her fiercely. I still do, for the record. But what does all of this have to do with ethics or where I choose to buy something as simple as a basic white tee?

Simply put, it has everything to do with it.

**To read the full post, go to Elegance Restored!**

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Let's Chat about Birth Control || Part Two

Let's Chat about Birth Control ||  Part Two

I'm a fan of talking about the taboo, the deep, and the pushed aside topics here on SL&Co. More often than not, those topics take the form of the fashion industry, ethics, and living with less, but today, I want to chat about birth control. For the second time.

Although *thankfully* the topic of fertility and birth control is getting more and more mainstream attention in recent years, I think most women still feel a lot of pressure when it comes to taking "the pill" and either aren't aware of or don't feel comfortable considering the other options available to them.

In my first post on the topic a few months ago, I shared about how at 22 years old, I went on a birth control pill (a progesterone only pill, since I was breastfeeding at the time,) for the first time in my life. I shared about the side effects of that supposedly "mild" version of the pill and how for the entirety of my time taking it I had a feeling that something was "off" with my body, mood, and hormones.

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Life Isn't That Simple Right Now, And That's Okay Too

I often think back to an article on Simply Liv & Co. called “There’s No Such Thing As An In Between Phase In Life". That post resonated with me and I try to reflect on it when I’m feeling overwhelmed and thinking about the “next thing” in life.

Right now, my life is incredibly busy. The life my husband and I live is full of school, work, a toddler, and exhaustion. Our plan to finish our education and raise our daughter simultaneously has left little room for free time in our lives. I’ve recently considered if I can even call myself a minimalist or someone who believes in simple living during this crazy period of my life. When I look at our calendar, overlapping in colors and details, I become overwhelmed and start looking forward to when there will be more white space on the page.

Olivia points out that viewing periods of our lives as an “in-between” phases distracts us from the narrative. She says, “I love viewing life as a story or journey. I often think about other people's lives, wondering where they've been or what their goals are. Believing in the existence of in between phases essentially is like saying that this point in your life is a chapter (or two) you would like to leave out of the novel.” This chapter in my life is long and it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean it contradicts my values and ideals.

Sometimes life doesn't feel simple. Here's why that's okay.

Despite my jam-packed schedule I’m still living a life where I strive for simplicity and authenticity. I may not be able to have as much time as I’d like for self-care, but I do try to find as much time as possible to spend with my family. I may not be able to read all the books on minimalism that I’ve been planning to read, but I am making a compromise by prioritizing writing instead. I may not be able to frequently go out to coffee or dinner with friends, but I am able to eat healthy, homemade meals that my husband and I make together.

Sometimes living simply means compromising and making things work to the best of my abilities. It doesn’t feel simple, but when I step back and look at my life, I can see that I’m still following my values. We are intentional with our time and pursuing our goals, while still enjoying the simple moments when they come our way. This part of life may feel like an “in-between” phase, but really it’s just another part of the journey.

Maybe you’re in a similar busy period in your life, I’d love to hear how you live simply and authentically even when life gets a little crazy.