As a new mother, one of the many things you quickly learn is that a newborn’s vision is not fully developed. You instinctively show them high-contrast cards, bury your face in their soft skin, and gaze lovingly into their eyes from up close, all in an effort to connect with them. These close-up moments create an unbreakable bond as your baby begins to see more detail, colour, and distance over time. Your newborn baby knows you, their mother, from across the room, but those early intimate moments stay with them forever. They come to know every inch of your face and body, from your pores to your laugh lines, more intimately than anyone else ever will.
As your child grows and develops, they begin to observe and study you even more closely. They notice everything, from the way you apply chapstick to how you style your hair. They are sponges, absorbing all the information and behaviour that you exhibit. Adiya saw me once in a dress and from that moment forward she is all about a princess dress. As a mother, you are the feminine ideal, and your child looks up to you as an example of how to be a woman. These observations are a natural part of the learning process, but they can also be a reflection of your own self-awareness.
Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, my own mother never left the house without “putting on her face.” That was the 80’s way. She was a stunning woman who wore minimal makeup, but she still felt the need to create a cosmetic shield to feel comfortable and confident. “How on earth could I go to the grocery store looking like this” she once squealed as she rushed to get ready. I always followed. A bathroom filled with Mary Kay cosmetics. I am not criticising or judging my mother, but rather acknowledging that even I was acutely aware of the difference between my mother’s natural face and the one that she presented to the world at a very young age. .
Adiya takes in my every move, oftentimes I wonder if I’m doing things correctly. Eating properly in front of her, dressing right. I’m not much for daily makeup so she must think of me as a clown when she sees me with a painted face. I must confess the constant doubt is there and most likely will become more and more heightened as she develops. As the pressure is on and the stakes are high as new parents, one can only hope to set the best positive example as they grow.
The bond between a mother and child is one of the strongest and most enduring relationships in life. I feel this daily. As a mother, I feel it is important to be mindful of the example that we set for our children, especially when it comes to issues of self-image and confidence. While it is natural for a child to observe and learn from their mother’s behaviour, it is also important to be mindful of the messages that we are sending to our children through our actions. Naturally always remembering that we are trying to be At Our Best for the little one. xx
Ashley is a mom, founder of the Bizzimumzi podcast, and Define London fitness studio. She is a former Broadway performer and celebrity trainer. Through Bizzimumzi Ashley has created a welcoming community to share the highs and lows of parenting, and inspire others to feel empowered in their journey. Ashely believes the most perfect picture of parenting is simply when you are trying your best. Bizzimumzi is a safe space that helps parents to inspire, educate and support each other to be the best parent they can be.
Contact Ashley: firstname.lastname@example.org