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.
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