pretty

I’ve had four deep what-is-life-all-about conversations this week with different people. About faith and motherhood and marriage and vulnerability and writing and family and hardship and change and what makes us tick. The kind of conversations that get me all passionate and heart-racing and voice-raising and I want to preach it. I want to take it to the streets because hell yeah, I believe it. It’s not even the “it” that really matters–I’m not hung up on preaching about issues that divide people or arguing over a viewpoint different than mine (unless your viewpoint is judging people–I will have a smackdown over judging. You wanna defend your judginess? I’ll meet ya at the roller rink, 10:00. Your judginess is about to get its ass kicked ‘cuz Love Wins.). I’m more interested in the passion behind it–these topics that get us riled up in a good way. It’s that riled up feeling that becomes a catalyst and makes us want to do something. Help someone, help ourselves, be more, write something good, say something meaningful, do something worth doing.

A: Get passionate about something important. Bring your passion to the table. Do something about it. Talk about it.

I realized in every one of these conversations that the things I am most passionate about are often the things of which I know the least about. Areas where I struggle.

I can’t put my finger on my faith and I have a gazillion questions and frustrations over what it is I really believe and yet at the same time I feel so passionate and confident about my questions and frustrations–it’s what makes my faith strong. That vulnerable place feels so absolutely comforting to me.

And parenting? I make mistakes and then I fix them and then I make some more, and I wonder what my kids will say twenty years from now about how we raised them. Half the time when making parenting decisions, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but that newness, that uncharted territory–it is thrilling. I don’t have all the answers, but I have good instincts and I love my kids something fierce. That combination fuels me to be an absolutely amazing mom.

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B: Accept that you don’t know jack about a lot of stuff. The minute you admit that, you’ll start to know jack.

Lainey came home from school today talking about a girl who’s pretty. She has “blue eyes and really pretty hair and she’s in another teacher’s class” and I don’t know much else about her except, I get it–she’s “really really pretty.” And my protective, validating husband immediately pipes up with “you know you’re pretty too, Lainey.”

Except Lainey answered, “No I’m not. I’m not pretty, Daddy.”

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And I see the “Holy-red-flag, shooting flares, call-a-therapist” look in Brett’s eyes.

The girl crap begins.

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And I sort of love that I don’t have the answers because I get to think about what those answers will be. What an opportunity to teach my daughter. While we handled her comment instinctively with whatever came to our mind at the time she said it (“Of course you’re pretty! Why do you say that? People are pretty in lots of different ways!”), I am anxious to return to the conversation tonight at bedtime when we have those feel-good, you’ll-remember-this-later conversations. I can’t wait to ask her what she thinks makes someone pretty, and I can’t wait to tell her what pretty means to me. I have good questions to ask her, and her Female Confidence savings account is about to get a hella good deposit.

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Yes, part of me wanted to freak out. Call a Family Intervention Meeting. Why is she saying this? We’re not hung up on pretty! Or are we? What did we do? Oh my God, we screwed up. It’s a Code 6852: She’s talking who’s pretty and who’s not at FIVE!

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Three girls in my life whose confidence I care very much about

C: Don’t freak out. Figure it out.

There’s oodles of stuff out there about raising girls and talking about pretty and the relationship between praise and confidence, etc. I read this stuff and a lot of it stays with me, but I learn the most by doing. By throwing up my hands and thinking “I don’t know exactly what to say but here I go.” I’m going to rely on my natural instincts and my vulnerabilities and my love for my girl and I’m going to figure it out.

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This is parenting. When we don’t know exactly what to say, that’s often when we say the most meaningful things. The same goes for life. When we admit we don’t know the answers, when we are humble and kind and open to learn, that’s usually when we are the most powerful.

Tonight, my girl and I are going to talk about pretty. It will be a memorable conversation–the fifth what-is-life-all-about conversation for me this week. It will be good. Of this I am sure.

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*****

Welcoming Walls is joining ETST in sponsorship this month, bringing a collection of vinyl wall art that adds a personal touch to your home.

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With a number of different fonts and styles and a variety of sayings and quotes, Welcoming Walls makes it easy for you to quickly decorate a wall, a front door, a window or a space in your home that needs a little something extra.

I love the simply stated “boo.” for the upcoming holiday. We have it on several windows and our front door. I also love the “I love you because” that we’ve added to Lainey’s chalkboard fridge.

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Nella smeared my answers. Boo.

Check out the many other designs in Welcoming Walls, and find a simple way to display your love in your home.

*****

I never thanked you for all those wonderful wishes you gave Baby Boy last week. Thank you. This son thing is sinking in, and I love saying that…I have a son.

Comments

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  1. Gorgeous photos of four gorgeous girls!

    Holli xo

    http://www.twinsplusonemumma.com

  2. how do you do it? how do you know just what to write to make me take a deep breathe and say I can do this. You’re amazing!!

  3. SO wonderful! Just all of it – so wonderful. <3

  4. Oh, how I love this. I totally know the instinctive reaction and simultaneous panic running up the spine of a daughter talking about pretty (or weight!). Instinct and love. That’s all we have, isn’t it? That’s all I have, that’s for sure. xoxo

  5. I love this post, Kelle. I think you’re an amazing mom, wife, and woman. Keep rocking and rolling, sister.

  6. love the views. makes me sad when i hear that Lainey said that …she’s just a beautiful beyond words little girl. ultra special. we are all different & that is what makes the world go around. we have different colored hair, eyes, whatever it maybe… we are all perfect in our very own way. i wonder what makes us think we are not? where does it start? i guess we all do it from time to time… don’t we?! sending big hugs. i pray she will realize it… that we all will. (:

  7. Your comment at the end, “I have a son” wow! it gave me goosebumps. <3

  8. Not sure why your “what life is about” in the context of a post called “Pretty” reminded me of “Different is nice, but it sure isn’t pretty – pretty is what it’s about.” LOL. Anyway, here’s to different and pretty! I’m sure you’ll give a knock em dead explanation! Let us know both the context and response to the conversation.

  9. breaks my heart a little that Lainey would say or think that but i know you will know just what to say to make her KNOW she’s a beautiful soul. she shines.

  10. You are doing a wonderful job raising your girls. I am so excited for you to have a little boy as well. I have two boys and they are my everything! I would love to hear more about when you found out the news.

  11. You are doing a wonderful job raising your girls. I am so excited for you to have a little boy as well. I have two boys and they are my everything! I would love to hear more about when you found out the news.

  12. Lainey may be right. ‘Pretty’ is not the right description for her. She is beautiful. Stunning, even. Pretty is boring. :)

  13. Thank you! It’s all I have to saw. I’ve had quite the week and needed this.

  14. Gah! What a minefield that can be.

    On the one hand Lainey actually is a very pretty little girl, and even if she was just a regular cute girl, she’s still going to be very pretty in the eyes of the people who matter – those people who love her.

    And on the other hand — when are we ever going to get girls and women (this includes me in weak moments) to stop placing our value on whether or not we are pretty and on what really counts like kindness, and friendship, and being a good neighbor and trying your best at school and work.

    I’ll laugh if it turns out what Lainey meant by pretty is that the other little girl’s hair is curly instead of straight. Or she wears it in a type of braid or something that Lainey hasn’t seen before.

  15. I only know “boy” right now and he is too young for the “harder” “more fun” questions for now but I sure teach him about love and caring and compassion. I can’t wait to one day have a girl as well and test out the best of both worlds.

    Mothering is the most educational thing I have ever experienced for so many reasons and in so many ways.

    Although I am only one year in it is so nice to hear about Mamahood and parenting from other Mamas. Thanks for sharing!!!

  16. Sadly the girl crap does start early! Too early! When my oldest daughter was in Junior Kindergarten her friends formed the blonde hair club. She is not blonde! It broke my heart to see her so sad and feeling left out. Lainey is beautiful and from what I can read and see in the pictures of her she is beautiful inside and out

  17. Lainey is right you know. She’s not pretty. Pretty is ordinary and everyday. Lainey is beautiful! Not only on the outside but in they way she smiles and lights up in the pictures you take of her, her inner beauty, she shines. God Bless her!

  18. Lainey is the prettiest 5 year old I know (or at least read about 😉 ) I had that blonde hair when I was that young so maybe I’m just biased? 😉 Tell her to be and stay confident – to not care about what others think.

    “All beautiful you are my darling, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7

    :)

  19. Wow lainey. Your sweet spirit and the way you love makes you beautiful. Your wispy blond bangs, your shy smile, your free spirit. I hope you never hold in contempt the things that make you you.

    Much love, pretty-hearted people.

  20. I have to say being a mother is a very very hard job. Being a mother is also the most rewarding, amazing, absoulety the best job I could ever ask for but it is a job that daily it makes you wonder how we can all have babies and not get a manual with them and it is up to us to make and know all the right things to teach these little miracles that we are given and make sure they grow up to be the most amazing person.

  21. I am hoping you do a post on finding out abouth the sex of your baby and what you all thought….

  22. And this post/Lainey’s conversation reminds me why we all need to protect and nurture all the girls (young and old) in our lives. It’s all about building confidence.

    Thanks for starting my evening off on the right note.

    -Jennifer

  23. Pretty is as pretty does. Lainey is beautiful, inside and out. That’s what matters. Loved reading this. You keep rocking it mama!!! And a boy… oh my. I had my boy first and then two girls after. Always loved it that way.

  24. I’m not sure what to say about this. Lainey’s comment made my heart skip a beat. My reaction would have been much like yours. I’ll be interested to see what comes of your talk. My oldest daughter is only four. Pretty hasn’t entered our “talks” yet. Please revisit this topic once you get it figured out. 😉

  25. Lainey, you are a beautiful girl in so many stunning ways. You have a caring soul. I can see that in the way that you love and interact with your sister and with your friends and family. Your spirit brings me joy and you spread happiness by being your own beautiful self.

  26. My husband always tells our daughter it’s better to be smart than pretty. She still runs around the house saying she wants to be a pretty princess. He’s usually napping, and will pop one eye open and say, “why not be a scientist? Or an engineer?” then closes his eyes and racks out. It’s hilarious and telling all at the same time.

    We all have the ‘pretty’ story. All of us will be telling our kids, boys or girls, what has value. We just compete with social norms and distorted messages.

    I agree with the previous commenter who said she’s interested in hearing Lainey’s thoughts on why this girl is pretty. I imagine her answers will be very enlightening.

    Best,
    Caryl

  27. So much meaning behind all of this. I had the same ‘pretty’ conversation with my almost 5 yr old this year when she too made the same “there’s this girl in my class who is so pretty. I wish I was pretty like her” comment. And I too have these meaningful conversations at bedtime. Just her & I. Seems the best time to tackle ‘life’. Life, just like parenting, is such unchartered waters and we just have to take it as it comes and love the heck out of it. I learnt that from you Kelle.
    x
    http://blog.scissorspaperrockdesigns.com.au/

  28. If YOU are the one to teach that girl about pretty then she won’t be able to see ugly for the rest of her life!

    seriously love you Kelle! Thanks for your passion and confidence. Keep it burnin!

  29. It’s hard sometimes to know the right things to say. We all want our girls to be so confident and know they can do or be whatever or whomever they want! My 8 yesr old daughter struggles with thinking she is not smart. It’s hard but like you said you have those conversations and trust your instincts. You are a great mama! By the way being a mom to 2 girls and a baby boy rocks! Welcomed our son this June. We are all oozing with love for him!

  30. Ahhh – i love all the hidden messages in your blog :) You *do* have a son.
    i’m a constant wrestler with my beliefs too – sure of the goodness of God – and little else.

  31. Oh my. I have no idea how I would handle this pretty stuff! I like to think that I would…

  32. I had to have the ‘pretty’ talk with my four year old daughter a few weeks back. We talked about being beautiful on the inside and the outside, and what both of those mean. She gets it, and I love that she does and we had that talk.
    Beautiful images as always!

  33. Lainey’s comment breaks my heart. But at the same time, it almost excites me. Becasue though you don’t know it, YOU are who taught me what beauty is all about. From a 30 minute Skype session with you I got more understanding of the word beauty then most of my 18 years. So I know Lainey is in very good hands. You’ve got this covered Mama :)

  34. How do you do it? How do you always say exactly what I am thinking or feel the same way I do? It’s amazing! Your description of bedtime-talk with Lainey tonight makes me so excited to be a mom someday. I can’t wait to discuss life with a little. Speaking of which, I hope you’ll post more soon about your thoughts/excitement/feelings about the new baby. We haven’t heard too much… is it still sinking in?

  35. P.S. I just read some of the comments above about Lainey. Does it make you smile to know that there is a world of people who love your kids like crazy? You are so lucky to be connected to so many people.

  36. I am so so so excited you are adding a new son to the mix… I hope you can blog just as often when he is here, so we can all get lots of info!!!!!!

    And lainey is perfectly beautiful….

  37. Yesterday was a very rough day for me as a Mom. I was told some things that I did not want to hear and it stung very badly. I let it fester as woman tend to do and then I unleashed to my only true confidant, my husband. And while he certainly tried his best, he wasn’t quite girly and mushy enough with what he told me which is probably a good thing. This morning I woke up with tear swollen eyes promising I would not mention it a work and become “that person” . . . and then my co-worker who has never asked about something before asked just the question that I needed her to so that I could talk. I don’t know how she knew, but somehow she sensed I needed a hug from another Momma who understands and has been there. She rallied the troops and they all collectively wiped my tears and assured me that I was doing the right thing as a Mom. Now this post tonight. Just what I needed to read. We aren’t talking about who’s pretty, but we are having those “remember this” talks. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone. I think I needed the reminder. I know there were a lot put out there today for me to see that lots of people struggle and that it’s okay. So I apologize for rambling, but thanks for this! I needed it! (even though I’m quite sure that you didn’t write it for me, I’m gonna take it any way!)

  38. pretty is as pretty does..

  39. ‘Pretty’ is a word that was never once used to describe me, a word that seemed to evade me my entire life.
    A word I looked for like a kid looks for an Easter egg or Christmas gifts a week before Christmas morning.
    I’m glad I never heard it as a descriptive of me because now that I’m older, I know ‘pretty’ is for things… ‘beauty’ is for people, and Kelle, you and your girls are all beautiful!

  40. First of all, I did a karate kick in my head (cuz my feet aren’t that stable yet) in celebration of your words! No judging!!! I know I’m probably judgmental about SOMETHING (like judgemental people–Ha!), but honestly I REALLY try to keep that in check.

    And secondly, I almost cried reading Lainey’s comment. But let me reassure you, she will be confident in herself, her abilities, talents, and even her looks because you and Brett are both AMAZING parents! I’ve had to find my confidence myself, but hopefully I am HELPING my kids find theirs….I don’t want them to have to figure it out in their forties. And boys go through it, too. My Gabe started saying he wasn’t good at anything at around Lainey’s age. And my Eli thought he wouldn’t go to heaven because he thought “it’s too hard to be good all the time”…. Oh my word those conversations BROKE my heart, but so thankful they happened. We were ON IT once we were aware of how they felt. And now? Gabe is a straight A student and the 2012 district golf champion, and Eli is the the easiest kid to raise, obedient at home and school, but honest, too….he admits when he’s done wrong because he knows he doesn’t have to be perfect. He knows his parents aren’t perfect either…I’m usually needing to appologize for SOMETHING :). There will always be something to work on, we’re all works in progress, but we also know we’re doing the best we can.

    And lastly, I have wanted a ruler growth chart for.EVER. Another blog has them for sale but always, always sold out by the time I check. So, yay! Another source…THANK YOU!

  41. Just 2 hours ago my daughter and I got into a convo about this! She said, “I’m NOT pretty.” I made her look right into my eyes and said, “Don’t ever say that about my daughter again!” She was confused and said, “I am your daughter?!” ME-“Yup, and it really hurts to hear you talk bad about yourself.” Then we practiced saying, “I’m beautiful!” First it started with a whisper in my ear, then a shout, then a happy scream. PS: she is 5 and in her first month of kindergarten :/

  42. Awesome post! Parenting is new to me. I have an almost 6 week old son. I am working on getting him into a routine and why I am getting some flack (well mostly from my MIL) I still can show love even if I let him cry 15 mins before I give him his next bottle. I do not know how else to love him at this time besides always making sure he is full, dry, clean, sleeping well, and seeing in my eyes and hearing in my voice how he makes me the happy and how he is completed in my life. I didn’t even think of myself as incomplete. How strange is that?

    I wish I could be a fly on Lainey’s wall to hear your talk about pretty.

    Much love to you all,
    Candace

    thesnozberrydiaries.blogspot.com

    @thesnozberrydiaries

  43. i remember liv tyler saying this, and i am almost 99% sure it was her, i will google it later but she said her modeling mentor told her to be a nice person at jobs (and in life) because you could be the most gorgeous person in the room but you would be ugly to everyone because you’re so miserable to be around…something to that effect.

    you will have this conversation with her and with nella many times in the future. i was just thinking of how harsh this age is because they are learning all of these new social cues and their little group dynamics. it’s ao fricken wonderful and painful all at the same time!

    i would love to know why lainey thinks that girl is pretty, you have to share if you feel like it would be ok with her! i remember when i was that age and all the girls has LONG hair with yarn ribbons in it and i had a short pixie cut like mia farrow. i was adorable looking back but i wanted long hair STAT. also knee socks.

  44. The pretties girls are the one who don’t know it. You and your girls a beautiful. Don’t worry your doing a great job.

  45. I love those moments…when God gives me the words to use with my children. I know they are not my words, mainly because afterward, I can barely remember what I said or how I got through such a conversation. It gives me comfort to know that even though He is watching the big picture unfold, He also cares about the small things. Thanks for writing!

  46. Man, it’s tough being a mama sometimes. We love them so crazy much and want them to own who they are. I’ve found with honest heart to hearts my kids respond to what I say. They are so precious, these kids of ours. I actually just wrote a piece on my blog earlier today about beauty. Stop by and check it out…www.lifewithjoys.blogspot.com. Xoxo

  47. i just think you rock. (although tonight I did get a little nervous for you in the first paragraph – what if dad stops by? :) )

  48. Its sad that pretty/not pretty stuff starts at 5. I know you don’t overemphasize it, but it happens. I think sometimes we model modesty to the point that girls thinks it’s bad to have a positive self-image. Like, when someone tells you good job, do you say “Thanks, I feel awesome right now” or “Aww.. it’s nothing.” I’m trying to change myself to accept praise more, because why on earth would I want to model to my kids that they aren’t worth praise???

  49. I had a similar discussion with my girl when she was five too. What made her feel better was a talk about the difference between “pretty” and “fancy”. She was thinking she couldn’t be one without the other. I told her God made her pretty and lipstick made her fancy. And then we talked about pretty on the inside and the outside.

  50. I missed the news that it’s a boy…so fun! We have 2 little girls and just had our boy last month. It is wonderful and the girls LOVE having a baby brother! It is so fun to shop on the boy side of the store and dress him up in cute little football clothes. We’ve had lots of interesting conversations about the “parts” with our 3 year old. :)

  51. what will make your day one day, is when Lainey reads this blog post when her beautiful little girl attends kindergarden for the first time and thinks that she’s not pretty.

    Seriously Kelle, you are writing a parenting bible right here. And sure it works for you, but I have never thought so much about how i want to parent since reading your blog. I know I want to be a good Mum. I know that there were a lot of things that I wish I had known as a child, a teenager, a young woman in my 20’s, and self confidence is certainly the main one.
    My parents do love me, and I know we all make mistakes, but there are sometimes that i think, I don’t want to parent like that- not everything they did obviously, but some things that I know have made me the way I am, and wish had been a bit different.
    I’m loving that you’re back in blog land…I’ve missed your writing. xo

  52. Inspirational mamma words as always. thank you

  53. A few things:

    1. I just realized that your Instagram username = ETST = Enjoying The Small Things. For some reason, that never clicked before.

    2. I am not a parent, but I am a nanny (for two little boys), and let me tell you, mama blogs – especially yours – are so helpful in that arena as well. So thank you for that.

    3. BABY BOY! I can’t even imagine how awesome it’s going to be reading about that experience from you, especially after all these years of girl talk. So excited.

  54. Dearest Lainey.

    I do not know you. But I think you are super pretty.

    You have delightful hair that looks like a halo when the sun shines behind you.

    You have a simply gorgeous shy smile. But when you beam… OH MY!

    You have lovely eyes that are the windows to your sweet soul.

    You wear such funky outfits that make you so stylish and cool.

    But more than that. More than the physical.

    You are pretty inside and out because I see the protective mumma deep in side of you when you care for your sister and little Ivy.

    I see the sweet passionate love for your family.

    I see such simple sweet joy in you.

    And I know this just from the pictures your mumma shares of you. I see it all.
    Pretty isnt just what you see in the mirror.

    Its the way to treat people.
    The way to show your love.
    The way you see the world.

    You have such beauty in you.
    Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise sweet girl.

  55. this breaks my heart. today i am a broken 23 year old. i have moved home from school and am on Monday entering eating disorder inpatient treatment for the fourth time. i feel so alone and i am terrified. most of the time i am desperately confused as to why anyone would want to wake up each morning. one comment definitely does not create an eating disorder but it breaks my heart that our society creates those statements so young. thank you for providing a little sparkle in my days with your beautiful posts.

  56. I’ve been in depths of an eating disorder, and before that, for a pretty long time, I’ve had a hard time accepting myself, loving myself and not comparing to other people. now when i’m finally healthy, i do still have trouble with appreciating myself, but i try so hard, and i’m making progress. the thing that keeps me going is the thought that some day, i will have to show my daughters what really is beauty, and what matters the most in life. i hope i will be able to show them how wonderful they are and what they can become.
    your post really touched me, so thank you for it.

  57. I’m reading your blog for a long time already. Somehow, I never answered (I think it always puts me off when I have to register to answer, but here I finally am, registered and all). I like how you touch such topics, without knowing the answer and without thinking there was a “right” or quick solution.
    Just a thought: maybe she’s not talking “I’m not pretty” in an absolute way. Maybe “pretty” is linked to some image – say, a princess or even Barbie for that matter. Maybe this is just one of many attributes at that age, not as ultimative as as an adult (sorry, English is not my native tongue, so these vague concepts are a little confusing to put into words).
    I am not pretty in a Barbie-way. Have never been. And if I had that image of “pretty”, I’d laugh in the face of the person who attributed it to me. I find myself pretty in an old-fashioned way, my face and hair are not the “hot” at the moment, but they very much were in the beginning of the last century. This realization also helped me in developing my style. I look good in Sepia. I try to enhance that particular beauty rather than striving for the mainstream Barbie-pretty.
    That said, I think, it’s not ultimately bad to think of oneself as “not pretty”. It’s certainly bad to think of oneself as “ugly”. But maybe it’s just a natural and lovely humbleness to think of oneself as “not pretty” as in “not outstandingly pretty”. In my day-to-day life I don’t think of me as pretty, I think of myself as “normal”. I don’t have problems with that though. I never really wanted to be the most pretty girl around. I want to be witty, I want to be happy and merry and I want to be able to cook darn good food, That’s what. I don’t care about pretty that much.

    I think, you’ll get in right with Lainey. All the best for you!

    P.S. How is the decluttering going? Keep at it daily, even if it’s just one tiny thing a day. It gets a habit that is worth it.

  58. I want there to be a playbook, to tell me how to respond to these issues that come up, but you’re right that sometimes the most powerful messages come from within when we haven’t a clue what we’re doing. My girl, at 4 years, has been telling me about who’s her friend today and who’s not and which friends can play this game or that with her. It’s scary to see this happening at such a young age. As much as I try to keep only positivity in the house, we can’t always control the outside world. Thank you again for always encouraging and reminding us of the fierce-loving mamas in all of us.

  59. Ugh. This is hard…I know we have had confidence issues with our son in sports and I don’t look forward to it with our daughter. I do believe this is the most important thing to teach our kids though. Being confident in yourself and what you believe in…wish I had an easy answer for you. I too would love to hear about the bedtime conversation and more about the reveal video!

  60. Hey Kelle,
    I love those kind of chats too. I’m in a similar soul searching place and I’ve just read two fantastic books on Spirituality. I really think you’d love them if you haven’t read them already. They are both by Eckhart Tolle, ‘the power of now’ and ‘a new earth’. Big hugs, Soph Xxx

  61. One of my favourite slam poetry pieces and it’s about the word “pretty”. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wJl37N9C0

  62. I love your reaging your blog. I have two little ones and the kindergarten stories are hitting home since they will be starting school next year. The Welcoming Wall decals are great. Did you notice the Bloom decal?

  63. Oh my god, should not have read this at work, because “No I’m not. I’m not pretty, Daddy.” = Tears.

    Whether they are for Lainey Love, my little girl who is Nella’s age now, or for my younger self I don’t know.

    Please post what you talk to her about tonight, so that we can be as ready as possible for these conversations when they come up…

    And congrats again on your blue balloon x

  64. Oh, Lainey Love. It hurt my heart and made me so sad to hear that. You are an absolutely beautiful little girl.
    Pretty is only on the outside. Beautiful is on the inside. And you, my friend, are both. :)

  65. A girl should feel prettiest when she catches the reflection of her image in her daddy’s eyes. I didn’t tell my girls they were pretty enough–maybe it was that “don’t focus on beauty” filter, but I wish I had told them ten times every day. I hope Lainey’s thoughts are just rooted in the blonde-girls-covet-brunettes, curly-haired-girls-envy-straight-haired-girls, long-lanky-girls-wish-they-were-tiny-petite-girls syndrome. When I see my girls and my granddaughters–I just see beauty…perfection…love magnets!

  66. Ummmm, Miss Lainey, you ARE pretty. By the way. Deliciously, gorgeously, sumptuously beautiful. Just by the way.

  67. So often your words catch me right where I need them (and so rarely do I comment to tell you so) but this one caught me so strongly that I had to tell you. My girl is going through a confidence-shaking, awful transition to school and I’m terrified that I’m saying the wrong things and doing the wrong things. But this post? This one gives me what I need to carry on. I will not freak out, I will figure this out :)

  68. Just a thought from a not-yet-mom… As part of your conversation about prettiness, I would ask Lainey what words she would use to describe herself. Maybe she wouldn’t say pretty, but maybe she’d say strong, or smart, or kind, or generous. Prettiness isn’t really that important, but confidence and self-worth are… and those things can come from all kinds of positive attributes.

  69. First off, I loved your post about not figuring else’s life out for them. Before I had kids, and when I was pregnant I thought I had it all figured out. Now, I am very aware how much I have no idea what I’m doing and I stopped the judging – we’re all trying our best.
    This post scares me. I’m glad you are calm and figuring it out because your initial reaction would pretty much be exactly what mine would be. The comparison between girls, the mean kids, the figuring yourself out stuff, especially with girls – it. scares. me. Please keep us posted, you do such an amazing job!

  70. Beautiful post, Kelly. Thank you. P

  71. You are so right. Parenting is a series of trial and error. But as long as there is LOVE, all will smooth out. The love you share with your children will give them confidence and that will result in Pretty. You are an amazing woman and that will run over to your children…just wait and see.
    Huggss to you,
    Brenda

  72. Twenty years of parenting and I’m still trying to get it right! Thanks for the validation that it is one gut instinct at a time! Pretty is as pretty does. Not sure what momma shared that with me.

  73. Hang in there and trust your instincts. The comparison game starts YOUNG – Pretty, smart, funny, athletic, faster runner, better at math or reading or … It’s heart-breaking that it begins in kindergarten, but it does. Just continue to build self confidence in your girls. You are doing an AMAZING job!

  74. I have a 13 year old son… I don’t even want to know what is going through his young teenage mind sometimes! However, My only daughter has Down Syndrome, I often wonder if she will go through these same “girl” issues. Right now she is 10, to her, she is “beautiful” everything is “beautiful Mama…” even the yogurt parfait I just handed her “Thank you Mama…beautiful” So I often wonder what kind of self esteem issues she may or may not go through, what goes through her brilliant little quiet mind…because her face and attitude are always smiling and full of light. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

  75. I was near two little girls playing outside yesterday. They were maybe 5 and 7 and they were dressed up as a fairy and a princess and the little girls conversation went like this.

    “The girlfriend breaks up with the boyfriend and the boyfriend breaks up wit the girlfriend.

    That’s what being a girl is all about, make up, break up.”

    I was like…….WHAT????? Someone please intervine. The youngest girl also started saying, “It’s also about movin’ and groovin’.”

    EXCUSE ME!?

  76. opps! *Intervene!

  77. I have three kiddos 2 girls and a boy. Some of my fondest memories are from when my son was little. He is 18 now and we still talk about this one….I was putting his shoes on – he was about 3. We were sitting on the stairs and he said “mommy your my best friend” – still brings tears to my eyes. And I ask him often if I still am :)

  78. Just one other comment: I wonder if Lainey hears other people saying how pretty, beautiful, cute, etc. Nella is or how gorgeous her blue eyes are? Just a thought. And just trying to remember what went through my head as a little girl, and how our minds can misinterpret something as simple as eye color…..I remember thinking colored eyes were superior and wanting green or blue rather than my “boring” brown. Hhhhmmmm…..

  79. What a great mom you are…and what a great conversation that will be. Love your girls and all your mom wisdom you share.

  80. Okay, new reader here and I’m crying. As a mom of two young girls – 4 and 2, your words, Kelle, hit me right in the heart. What a beautiful blog and what a beautiful post. I’m hooked.

  81. I hope the big convo went well.

  82. “The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows.”
    -Unknown

    Your post reminded me of that. Even though what you said was more that quote backwards.

  83. Oh, my heart. That beautiful child. So interested to hear how the follow-up conversation goes!

  84. Please tell Lainey that I said she isn’t pretty – she is beautiful! Both of your girls are stunning. But I don’t think it is just their physical look – your photos capture their essence and they radiate beauty.

    By the way, I remember when my 8 yr old announced to me one day when she was wearing a new outfit “I’m so pretty” and inside of me cringed, because we have been fed not to think like that. I didn’t say that to her, I acknowledged that yes she was pretty. After I thought about it, I was really glad that she was able to say that she was pretty and feel it. It gets taken away from us if we allow it.

    Today she is a confident and happy College Freshmen, but I have never heard her say outloud that she is pretty again, even if I tell her that all the time.

  85. You definitely need to do a follow up post on this! I thought I was the only one! My little girl has also said she isn’t pretty, and other things about not being ‘good enough’ and I admit, I’ve freaked out. Where have I gone wrong? O_O.. I wish I had all the answers!

  86. Oh how I feel you on the faith/beliefs subject. I comepletely understand the comfort in the vulnerability and not feeling like I have 100% of the answers. Thank you for sharing that.

    I cannot wait to hear about your convo on pretty.

    Stacie/BikiniBy30

  87. Alrighty Lainey: you and your mama have some talking to do my friend! You are gorgeous, inside and out and I know that because of what your mama says about you on this blog. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

    Oh geez, girl stuff. The worst My oldest is 7 and her little sister is almost 5 and yes, it has fully hit here in our home too. Wish we could hold off all the cattiness until they’re 13.

    I referred your blog and book to a mom that was on our prayer list at church (I don’t know her), but she just had a baby girl born with DS (they just found out at birth). She does have many health challenges already. I hope the new mom checks out your blog and it brings some hope and sunshine in to her life.

  88. Kelle,

    You are so inspiring…This I know, is nothing new to your ears. I visit your blog frequently and everytime I am left with that warm, fuzzy, happy feeling all over. Your writing is such a joy to read, and the photos tracking all of your adventures are truly amazing. Your family makes me smile :) Especially the sisterly-bond between Nella & Lainey. That is so very special. Do you have any plans to visit Northern California for any book signings?

  89. Pretty is as Pretty does. Lainey is physically georgous however her soul is stunning. She has learned so much about being beautiful by being a sister to that other special little girl you have. Lainey is just discovering a whole new world a world that does not have her beautiful mommies hand hanging right there beside her at all times. Beside Lainey has the coolest clothes. She will be fine and hey this feeling she is having could have enouh of an impact that it will make her even a better person when considering others feelings.

  90. Kelle, will you let us be a fly on your wall about the pretty conversation? I would love to hear your thoughts on this timeless issue.

  91. Oh this motherhood thing is hard isn’t it?!? I am fearful of the days when my adorable baby girl comes home and thinks she is not pretty or feels left out of a group … alas, you have inspired me to take a moment like this and make it special and a moment to shine as a mother and a woman – congrats! Rock out that conversation!

  92. Wow that’s pretty deep….five is such a young age or at least it used to be. I would love to hear how the pillow time talk went. Shes very blessed to have you go deeper with her about it and be willing to talk. That itself will make that girl confidence keep growing.

  93. I love my mother-in-law’s definition of pretty: Pretty is as pretty does.

  94. It is great that the “pretty” thing came up at five for Lainey, and not 15 like it did for me. My parents had no clue I didn’t think I was pretty until high school, and by then I think they were so floored they just didn’t know what to say except “Yes you are!” But I didn’t think I was. Now I know better, and I wish every girl could sooner than later. Lainey will know sooner!

  95. This is my first time to comment – even though I’ve been following your blog for about 2 years now. I wanted to thank you for your openness and willingness to share. Your views on your beliefs – it was like an echo reaching from my state of Texas to Florida. I live in East Texas – THE BIBLE BELT – and I generally feel very ALONE when it comes to my doubts, fears and struggles. I’ve had to turn to the internet to build my faith community. But I see that our numbers are growing. Those of us who are OK with “I don’t know”. In fact, who are much more comfortable with the “I don’t knows” than those that say they have it all figured out. With a bit of fear and sadness I have seen my childhood faith fail the marginalized, the hurting, and the broken time and time again. But I’ve begun to have hope – that YOU ARE RIGHT! LOVE WINS.
    Oh – AND – I’m going to get to meet you in a few weeks at the I HEART FACES conference! I’ll be the girl with the grey Kelle Moore holding her copy of ‘Bloom’ hoping to get an autograph!!
    You rock – and keep it going sister!

  96. Kelle – you summed it up so succinctly, “the girl crap begins”. My four year old is not quite there yet….but I guess I’m sort of dreading this part. It’s very reaffirming to know that other moms I look up to (like you) struggle with the same concepts I do. I’m still trying to work it out in my mind how to protect her and support her without emotionally and mentally “taking on” her life as my own. I can’t handle that stress….I’ve got enough problems of my own. :-)

  97. It really stinks that girls are so aware so early on “beauty” and “weight” etc. This is probably my biggest concern with my girls. You definitely have a way with words and I’m sure your girls will understand what a truly pretty person is and what “pretty” stands for. You’re a great mama and your girls are BEAUTIFUL!!! :)

  98. I have those night time wholesome talks too. Its our best time to talk, and a great way to help your girl go to bed feeling great! My daughter is 12 and we still do it. I wonder when it will stop? When will she be too old (in her mind). I love her and I love those times! Lainey is very pretty and I would love to know how that talk turned out. A follow up post perhaps?

  99. Lainey was right. She’s not pretty — she’s beautiful.

  100. I love saying it too…because I have a son. A beautifully, extra-perfect son. : )

  101. Your words always hit home for me. It’s like you always know exactly what to say. Some days I’m convinced there are so many completely strangers on the same wave length.

    I thought you might be interested in this blog if you haven’t heard of it yet. http://www.rockstarronan.com It’s a mother basically writing to her little boy, Ronan, who was taken at the age of 3 by cancer. She’s angry and she’s raw and she gives you those moments where you just say to yourself, ‘damn.’ And I think we all need those sometimes.

    You inspire me in so many ways.

  102. Ever since I started reading your blog I have been telling my husband that your daughters could be supermodels, they are so pretty. But, the thing I hope for them and all girls is they follow their mom toward being a Mom, an activist, a writer, a sage, a friend, and whatever else wonderful they want to be. I’m sure they will, they already are showing themselves to be beautiful, inside and out. Meg

  103. Something similar happened with that oh so popular word in our house the other day. My little girl told daddy that he was “sooo not pretty” turns out girlfriend thought only girls were pretty. We had a nice chat with her after that. How funny oh kids portray things

  104. Hello :) I’m a 33 year old Norwegian mother of four children (three daughters, one son). Since I discovered your blog 1.5 years ago, I followed you weekly. Every time I read your blog I get more and more respect for you, and how you embrace all aspects of life.Thank you for sharing so much with us. I have a dream to meet you one day and have a long conversation about motherhood, life, joy of life etc…;)

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