23/52 ON RAISING A DAUGHTER
Rylee Jean_1 Rylee Jean_2 Rylee Jean_3

Rylee Jean 4

The 52 Project – a portrait series of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013

I always knew I wanted a little girl one day.  I had a gut feeling that I was having a boy the first few months of my pregnancy, but Sam always told me he “just knew” it was a girl.  Clearly, his intuition was far stronger than my own.  We both knew that playing that guessing game meant nothing…because really, whatever we were blessed with we would love them all the same.  But I do love that when he touched my belly, he “just knew”.

I was asked an interesting question the other day.  One of those questions that make you pause and think for a minute or two.

“Do you think expressing your sense of style sends a positive message to you daughter?”

My first reaction was to say of course (mildly offended)…or that in fact, it’s not really affecting her much at all.  But then it got me thinking….how does my love for fashion and clothes really affect my daughter.  Or more importantly, how WILL it affect her.  She watches my every move.  She watches me get dressed in the morning and put on my makeup.  She tries on my shoes and loves to carry her little purse around, just like mommy.   It makes me laugh and I can’t help but swallow her up in a big squeeze and smack her on the cheek with a kiss.  We joke that we created a mini me.  And to a degree, it’s true.  (despite the fact that her looks are entirely Sam).

But the point is…while I do love fashion, it weighs nothing against the deepest desires of my heart.  Nor does it rank high on list of qualities I want to instill in my daughter.  Yes, it’s fun for me…and it might be fun for her one day too.  And I think that’ ok.  What’s important is that I am teaching her that her worth is not in what she looks like or the clothes she wears, but it is in her Creator.  I want her to grow up to love her body, to carry herself in confidence….to love other people and treat them with respect.  I want her to love God, and to know that no matter what, He loves her.  I want her to know that she is beautiful and has a purpose.

In saying all of these things, I am reminded to believe them in myself.  If only we were telling ourselves all of the things that we want to teach our daughters (or future daughters).  I mean, right!?  I think as women, we are all a little hard on ourselves.  We put ourselves down and often believe we are just “not enough”.  When in reality, we are more than enough.  There is no one just like us….and that alone is something to be celebrated.

you.are.beautiful.

_____________________

And congrats to Elizabeth Ann!  You are the winner of the Golden Thread Giveaway!  Email me with to claim your prize! xo.

  1. Jade Sheldon

    My husband and I don’t have children yet, but we have talked about if we ever do we have to be really careful about some of the things we say. None of this “I look awful” stuff. Children watch everything you do and when you are their hero, they want to be just like you even if they don’t quite understand what that means. I want to be sure my children feel confident in who they are and that negative thinking about their looks is just unnecessary.

    Reply
    • kelli

      I couldn’t agree more Jade. I know my daughter is only one, but I find myself biting my tongue sometimes at the things I want to say. I guess I’m training myself to love ME more, as I try to teach her to love herself.

      Reply
  2. Lauren

    I just had a baby girl 2 months ago and I found this post to be so insightful and inspiring! It’s so easy for to feel bad about myself and the way I look when I never want my daughter to feel that way.

    Reply
  3. juni

    teared when I read about you wanting to teach your daughter that her worth is in her Creator. you are a fantastic mama, go girl!

    Reply
  4. LesLeigh J.

    What a beautiful piece of writing, Kelli. And so true, too! I think that we all, not just women but men too sometimes, need to be reminded that we are beautiful just the way we are and that we have worth. I, too, strive to find my worth in Christ, and some days, it’s harder than other days. But I would rather find my worth in Christ than in anything else.

    Love your blog and your daughter is precious!

    -LesLeigh J.

    Reply
  5. teddi

    kelli, one of the reasons i like reading your blog is how thoughtful your words are, seeing your art, your photography, and style! :)

    Reply
  6. Strawberries and Buttercups

    The thing to remember is that no matter what you do people will always have a comment to make.

    I work in a school and I see parents in all the latest fashion, all dolled up but their childrens clothes haven’t been changed or washed all week. People want to know why they spend so much time on themselves and not their children.

    Then you have those who are critised for buying their children nice things as its spoiling them etc…

    My sister and I both don’t really dress up but as you know with having a little girl that the clothes and other items out there for little girls are amazing that you just can’t help but match everything. Still my niece has spent time with the neighbours girls, at 3-5 they have make up, my niece came home desperate for it (at 3 years old), she even started colouring her nails in so in the end my mum told my sister to get some so that she can wear it and get over it and she has. The thing is if she doesn’t get it from you, she’ll get it from somewhere else so you may as well encourage it and have control of how far it goes.

    Reply
  7. Cara Howard

    Wow. Absolutely LOVE this blog post so so so so much. I’m so thankful to see your openness to growth from our Father’s guidance and perfect love, and how you’re so open about it. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

    Reply
  8. angel swanson

    I think about this all the time; thanks for sharing your heart!! I agree that it is so important to raise our little girls with the right priorities. You are doing a great job, mama! xox

    Reply
  9. c carissa

    my daughter is my best friend. even though she is only 2! you definitely put my thoughts into the perfect words. loving fashion doesn’t make you vain or shallow at all. I think it plays an important part in teaching us to embrace who we are and share it

    Reply
  10. Anna @ IHOD

    Gosh this gave me chills. I literally JUST had an aha moment like this a few days ago when Veronica was watching me put on make up. I realized I kind of don’t want her to see me spending a lot of time in front of the mirror. She is a sponge and I want her so much to know her value is not weighed in looks. Its a scary and tough thing to be in charge of little souls isn’t it? :) Beautifully written. Thanks for the encouragement! x

    Reply
    • kelli

      It is Anna! We hold so much in our hands….and this is one of those delicate issues that I want to make sure I get right! Happy weekend friend. xo

      Reply
  11. Nicole Moser

    KELLI! Love your heart for Jesus most! Thank you for sharing this. You are such a great mamma to Ry + it’s awesome to see you use your platform for GOOD. You’re beautiful inside + out.

    Reply
  12. Aileen

    We don’t have kids yet, but I hope to be a mom someday. This is so inspiring and you’re such a great mom!

    Reply
  13. Steph

    Such a lovely post and so true! I always take away something from reading your thoughtful words :) xx

    Reply
  14. Olivia

    Your daughter is beautiful and I think it’s fabulous, in general as well as for her, that you are fearless in expressing your sense of style (I love your lavender hair)

    Reply
  15. KAIT

    I love your sentiments. I read an article somewhere about a woman who vowed to tell her daughters how beautiful she was to help them understand once they grew up that they too are beautiful. We as women are truly beautiful people – and there is no more powerful way of learning that than through our mothers!

    Reply
  16. Greta

    Just to add another perspective.. my mother has never cared about fashion, makeup, or hair at all. It has taken me into my thirties to realize that I love fashion, and that when I put effort into my appearance I feel so much better about myself.

    I honestly went through a lot of painful moments in life because I could never get it right with fashion and my hair. I was never exposed to fashion magazines, stores, anything at all that would have helped me be able to pull together looks that I liked. My hair went from straight to very curly at 12 and I had not a clue what to do with it. I looked horrible! This was before the days of the internet so I really didn’t have anywhere to turn to for help. I really really wish my mother would have exposed me to fashion, taken me to a hair professional, or helped guide towards the concept that i could express myself through my appearance. I know for certain this would have made me a much more confident person in my teens and twenties.

    Now I have 2 beautiful little girls of my own. I love exposing them to fun hair styles, cute clothes, and nail polish. The message I work hard to send them is that for me dressing up is really fun, but I do it for myself not for others. I also have found that its important for them to be able to get all dressed up, but then feel free to play outside or make art projects. Putting thought and effort into your appearance should always feel good and never prevent you from having any fun.

    Clearly by the length of my comment I have been thinking about this a lot :)

    Love your blog!

    Reply
  17. But what if?

    I’m curious….how would you react if your daughter grew up and became an Athiest?

    Reply
  18. mary boyden

    I’m glad to see this stirred something in you :) personally my experience is very similar to Greta’s right down to my hair going nuts when I was 13! Because of that I was very curious to see what you thought about the idea of being a stylish mom. Glad to read this!

    Reply
  19. Kaitie Giblin

    You make me look forward to maybe having a little girl someday. As far as I can tell, you are doing a beautiful job raising Miss Rylee :)

    Reply
  20. lindsey marlor

    we are so so similiar and this post hit close to home.. I too have a fashion mommy & me style kind of a blog and as I wrote on IHOD i too miscarried my second and still have yet to been blessed with another pregnancy 6 months later.. but i love how you put it. all of it in both post. we are so so similar glad i have found your blog!
    xo
    lindsey

    Reply
  21. Katie V

    Yes! I love this. My daughter is only 6 months, but I am already thinking about how she will see her worth/identity. i love clothes and dressing her too, but i don’t want her to find her identity in those things, but in the Lord instead. it’s such a fine line and hopefully one I can navigate as she gets older. I know I will have to reflect on my own identity time and time again!

    Reply
  22. Cassaundra

    i tried to post a comment the day you wrote this post but it wouldn’t go up. i am a children’s fashion blogger and have often been faced with this same question and felt it in my heart a little too. Am i doing this right? does she think fashion is all i care about? i have come back to your post a few times to refresh my thinking. i agree with everything you said, you just say it so much better then i could. it is okay to love fashion. it is okay to love the way you look and more importantly the way you feel on the inside. i think it is a rare thing to find women that can say that. i have found a great bond in sharing fashion and self expression with my daughter and through that it gives me the time to share my great love for her and to open up dialogue about differences on the inside and out.
    thanks for sharing.

    Reply

ADD A COMMENT

  • (will not be published)