I have a dilemma with my oldest girl, M. She turned 7 last week. Normally she asks for her hair straight for her birthday. In the months prior to her birthday it was all she spoke of.  Then in July when I started the CG method on her and she saw how pretty her curls looked she finally stated that she liked her curls. I was so happy.  Then she stopped talking about getting her hair straight for her birthday.  Her birthday came and went and no mention of straightening. I thought I was in heaven.

…..Then today happens. I mentioned that I would take her braids out on Saturday and deep condition her hair so that I can do her wash and go on Sunday for the first day of school.  Then she said, “I want my hair straight!”  Darn!!! Here we go again.

I am trying so hard for her to love her curls and I believe that she does. She always talks about how she likes my hair. When we go out, I make a point to show her other curlies (of all colors and curls) and mention how pretty the curls are.  I do this so that she will notice that lots of people have curls and they aren’t straight.

I thought I had made headway with my baby. I know she is no longer a baby but she is my baby and she always will be.  I walk a fine line in telling her she is beautiful and her hair is as well. I want her to be confident, not vain.  How do I keep telling her she is gorgeous and have her believe me without overdoing it?

I was an only child for 10 years, so I marched to the beat of my own drum. I was not one to follow fads and want the clothes I saw others with.  I wasn’t much for following peer pressure (except that one time).  I enjoyed reading and puzzles and those are still my favorite things now.  But with my big girl I see her wanting what others have and I am trying to teach her that she needs to follow her own path and be a leader.  Does she see me being a follower?  Am I a follower and I don’t know it?

Raising girls is hard.  I wanted boys, but God knew better. Having my girls has been fun, however, because I love doing their hair in pretty bows and dressing them in pretty outfits. But this self-esteem stuff is hard.  Especially for me, because I had low self-esteem for a long time.  (due to my paternal family’s obsession with how big my nose was. Some people can be so stupid!!) To them I was too fair to have my dark-skinned mother’s features.  And they told me every chance they got.  I didn’t even think I was pretty until about 2 years ago.  I am 33 years old people.  You can do the math.

Because of my self-esteem issues, I work on my girls hard because I want them to have something I didn’t have for a long time.  I was confident in the things I did well such as school and being really smart.  But I never felt quite good enough.  I went to live with my aunt and uncle (my dad’s sister) after my dad died when I was 12.  They had 5 children of their own.  Pretty much daily, their children (my first cousins) would say things to me like, “Girl, put some makeup on.”  “You should be so glad you are light-skinned because if you were dark like your mom you would be so ugly.” One of my cousins even said to her mom (my aunt), “How did Crystal get such “good hair” when her mama is black (meaning dark-skinned)?”  Who could have high self-esteem hearing that come from your own family on a daily basis?

Even in my adulthood I heard, “How did she get such a good looking husband? He must’ve married her because she was pregnant.” (who does that anymore?)

More than anything I teach my girls that what’s in your heart is what matters. I tell them all the time my favorite line from Judge Judy, “Beauty fades, but dumb is forever.”  I tell them that being pretty is nice but being smart is incredible.

They are beautiful.

I just want for M to be confident in her natural beauty because God makes no mistakes.  For a long time I didn’t feel that way and when I looked at me all I saw were mistakes.  Her hair is beyond beautiful.  I just want her to know that she is beautiful just the way she is.  As parents we want to give our kids what we never had, and confidence is the ONE thing that I never had that I want to give her the most.