“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come,” (Proverbs 31:25).
I slid open my closet door and surveyed the options. Black pants, khaki pants, gray pants, Capri pants. Hmmm… what to wear to church? Shuffling aside a few hangers, I spied a pink summer dress stuffed between a pair of corduroys and an old cardigan.
When was the last time I wore you? I spoke silently to the dress. Oh yeah, last year for that wedding shower—banished to my closet ever since, poor thing. I pulled it out and scanned for wrinkles. Not too shabby. I slipped on the dress, strapped my sandals, and met my family in the kitchen.
My five-year-old daughter glanced up from her cereal bowl. Her eyes popped, and she held both hands to her mouth in shock, smiling wide. “Mom! You look STUNNING!”
My cheeks turned pink as my dress. “Wow, thank you, sweetheart! What a big compliment.” I squeezed my arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head.
“Mom. I have a great idea. You should wear that dress every day. It’s so, so beautiful.”
And that’s when it hit me. The dress was nothing spectacular. But it was rare. Maybe Mom should wear a dress more often.
Keywords in my wardrobe are comfy and functional. If it can’t survive blue popsicle drips and sidewalk chalk, I don’t wear it. So my dresser is packed with jeans and T-shirts. Consequently, my children know me as the woman in jeans.
But I want to be more. I want them to see a lady.
This scary thought has been brewing in my mind. As moms, we form our child’s definition of a woman. We model the person our daughters will become, or the type of girl we hope our sons will marry. What if they never catch a glimpse of the lady I have in mind—because I neglected to let her shine through?
Femininity is a fading art, but it’s not extinct. My daughters swoon over Dora lip gloss with a degree of enthusiasm they cannot muster for a Tonka truck. It’s in their veins. So the way I see it, nurturing my children according to how God made them is not sexist, politically incorrect or old-fashioned; it’s smart.
Which brings me back to the dress. When I wore it, I carried myself more gracefully. I felt more poised, confident, gentle yet strong. Those are the qualities my kids need to see in me—with or without a dress.
“Why do you like my pink dress?” I asked my daughter a few days later.
“Oh, Mom,” she glowed, “it’s just so pretty, and I like things that are pretty, and I praise the Lord for giving you a dress!”
She likes things that are pretty. God wired her this way, and she gives him glory for it. Isn’t that what we moms should do, too? So from now on, I’m going to be a little more aware of how my actions can encourage my daughters to embrace their feminine side.
In the name of intentional parenting—this sounds like a great excuse to go shopping.
Laura S. says
LOVE this post! When my son, now 12, was three, I similarly put on a skirt that I’d found tucked away in the closet. He gave me the strangest look that morning. “What’s that??” he asked. He’d never seen a skirt before – on me anyway! Yikes! That’s when I decided I needed to pay more attention to my wardrobe. It just feels good to put on something that’s becoming and looks like I made an effort. After all, THIS is the day that the Lord has made, and part of being glad in that, is putting my best foot forward- in something fresh and peppy.
What a great perspective, Laura! This is the day the Lord has made… let it not be reserved for yoga pants. Well, not every day, anyway. 🙂
We should all see ourselves through the eyes of a child now and again. I dress up for work often but I usually pull my hair back into a ponytail or clip of some sort. It’s long and blonde and just takes too long to “do” but one day I was wearing it down and my son, 2 at the time (he’s now 5), climbed into my lap, pet my hair and said, “pretty mommy. Your hair is shiny.”
Since then, when I’ve had a few extra minutes getting ready, I always “do” my hair so I can wear it down.
Ro Elliott says
neighbors at PD…oh…i am sporty and comfortable in my dressing…when I do put on normal clothes my kids will say why are you so dressed up? I have pondered these very thoughts…and I have actually gone through a time of where dresses or skirts as God was doing a deeper work in my heart…maybe I need to come back to some of those times again. thanks for this..blessings and have fun shopping.
Thanks for stopping by, Ro! It’s always fun to hear from a fellow Playdates blogger.
Erika @ Slowly Natural says
I wear skirts or dresses all the time now and when I first made that fulltime change (God really convicted my heart) my son couldn’t BELIEVE it! He, at the age of 4, honestly believed women SHOULD wear dresses because pants were for boys. It made me really ponder about that. Thanks for sharing! I would LOVE to have you link up with me tomorrow at http://www.slowlynatural.com Great thoughts to share with other moms! Femininity should not be a lost art! Great for you to let it SHINE!
Full-time skirts… wow, that would be culture shock in my house for sure. I do love to hear from other moms living out their convictions, Erika. Thanks for commenting so I could find your blog!
Awwww, how sweet a moment with your daughter! Those are the kinds of moments where I have mommy envy, having all sons. I can’t imagine any of them saying those sweet words to me, much less using the word “pretty.” That would mean they’d be revoking their “man card” as they would say. haha! But I think you are right, Becky, you should go out and buy some more pretty things. It’s a matter of principle! 😉
The man card – too funny, Beth! I think of my poor husband, surrounded by all this female energy in our house. He just doesn’t understand the shopping thing. 🙂 A matter of principle for sure!
Misty Marie says
Love this! Such a great reminder! its so easy to get caught up in the busy mom world of being comfy. I love yoga pants. I usually try to wear a dress to church just because its nice to get to feel pretty once day a week! Ha LOVE your blog! Found you on the mommy moments link up!
Misty @ http://monkeysandtutus.blogspot.com
Thanks for navigating over here from Mommy Moments, Misty! Yes, Sundays are my best chance for dressing up, too. But then I usually change back into those popsicle-proof clothes as soon as we get home from the service!
Liz Slater says
New follower from Mommy Moments hop.
It’s very easy as Moms to wear easy and comfortable clothes (that are hopefully clean). I remember before school ended I made a point of wearing a skirt and some jewelry to pick up my kids. My kids were shocked but in a complimentary way, but even little girls at the playground I didn’t know complimented me. It felt good, and I need to do it more often.
I learn a lot from those little playground girls, Liz. Thanks so much for following!
whether it be actual dresses or just taking that extra moment to add a bit of effort in our appearance, i could not agree more…
first of all, i LOVE your posts and i love your honesty, reality and words of wisdom – thank you for sharing. you sincerely brighten my days (and many others). you obviously write well, but the message you pass is what i literally smile about – “Ah Ha! I’m not alone!!! Sweet!!!!”
that said, when it comes to beauty, i sincerely believe that women stand taller, walk prouder and feel better when they believe in their beauty – thus, we must detail it! the Lord created us equal, yet SO different; He created us to reflect beauty, including: poise, confidence, energy & control; He created us to be proud so we can make a differnce.
for inner beauty is obviously the most important… as Audrey Hepburn was quoted, “The happiest girls are the prettiest.” BUT i believe it is the effort that we put on the outside that reflects our inner beauty. for me (as most of us moms do) i have different roles, day to play outside, day to clean, day to not leave the house… depending on the day, reflects my role, thus, will determine my attire! but what if, just what if the days we get to drop our kiddos at school and just run errands, we put ourselves together in a little “fancier” way? what if we got up just a bit earlier to spend a little more time on ourselves? i guarentee you will fell better (and i’m sure your hubby won’t mind it either! ;)…
so…use TODAY to choose to change it up a bit, use TODAY to live faithfully, use TODAY to make a difference… for it is all we know we’ve got!
thank you so much for posting this topic – i love the challenge, i love your thoughts, i appreciate your words.
You are definitely not alone, Heather! Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words. Great point about our husbands. I agree, it can’t hurt our marriages to put a little effort into our appearance. I know my husband loves me no matter how grubby I look, and it’s the gentle spirit that defines my beauty (not my dress), but it sure is nice to see my husband’s face light up when I get a little fancy from time to time!
What a good reminder. Because “dressing up” usually requires more effort (and less comfort), I often take the lazy route. Even though I no longer have young children at home to set the example for, I still want to be attractive to my husband, and dresses and skirts say “special.” I want him to know he is special 🙂 I visited from Be Not Weary today and am glad I did 🙂
Ashley Ditto says
Amazing words! Needed them today! 🙂
I love this. I often get accused of “dressing up” because I really like to wear skirts more than shorts in summer, but I’m seeing my teenager choose pretty dresses and skirts to wear to school. We can neglect ourselves for practicality can’t we? Great message.
Definitely a reason to go shopping! 🙂
I tend to go for comfort, but have found that casual sundresses are super comfortable!
Reading your post I realized how I have totally let my fashion sense go out the window. It’s time to pretty things up a bit! Thank you for your words today. It helped me a lot!
Such a beautiful post! I love the raw reaction of children. I try to dress up for just a normal day from time-to-time but never thought about it as you describe here – that we are creating our children’s definition of woman. I will definitely be thinking more about that now! Thank you for sharing!. Now go rock that pink dress 🙂
I feel the same way when I’m in a pretty skirt or the occasional dress. I actually love dresses but since I’ve been nursing for what feels like forever(lol), dresses aren’t convenient!
Wayne W Smith says
I am a firm believer in dressing for success. It just changes ones attitude. One walks a little taller when dressed up for some reason.
Being a SAHM, and an OVERWEIGHT one at that, I VERY RARELY wore anything but jeans or sweats. But then as I started working more I started dressing up, and I liked the way it made me feel. I feel BETTER about myself, weight and all, when I’m not dressed like a slob. So now I wear dresses more often. Because it makes ME feel better. At least a little bit, anyway.
Melly Ann says
Now this was such an encouraging and needed thing for me to read! My little girl is almost two, and she loves being girly – taking care of her ‘babies’ and dressing up. :)I have been more lazy than intentional about living out what a Godly woman (much less a Proverbs 31 woman!) looks like and acts like.
Kathy Olson says
I always enjoy your writing!
I love this post. I homeschool my kids and last year I spent most mornings in yoga pants and a t-shirt. This year I’m purposely trying to dress a bit more stylish every day and it’s made such a difference. I feel more feminine and confident, and it makes me take our schooling more seriously. Plus, when we’re done I’m already dressed to leave the house if necessary. My daughter has begun to pick out clothes for me in the morning!
I wear skirts all the time as well as others I have seen post. It is a conviction the Lord also layed on my heart. I struggled with it for a time but I truly do feel more feminine and lady like in them and the Lord is drawing me closer to him for choosing to obey his calling for my life instead of ignore it. My son, who is almost 3, tells me regularly how pretty he thinks my dress is today or something to that effect. It makes me smile every time and thank God for the calling of being a full time skirt wearing, mother of 2, (hopefully more soon) homemaker and homeschool mom! 🙂
Michy (lovingourjourney.com) says
ah, I hope you enjoyed that shopping trip….as I live with my hubby and son, in tractor world, it’s a treat just to use nailpolish-for years, I avoided, but it makes me feel good-and celebrate ME…God’s me!
Thanks for linking!
I love this post! Yes, I think your girls need to see you in a dress occasionally–but if you had sons, they’d need to see you in one, too! Bless you as you work to be the mom that God has called you to be.