I live in a house full of little people. I used to love to watch the Today show, I actually would say I was watching the news. As my kids get older and pick up on all the things I've had to turn it off more mornings than I can keep it on (also throw in that I have to actually do school with them...details). Once I start my day I don't usually sit to watch anything until the evening and then I just want to watch mindless reality TV. As a result, I am usually clueless to the things happening in the world. To be honest, I'm not sad about it most days...the news makes me sad.
As I scrolled through Facebook the last couple of days I noticed the #metoo hashtag. I had heard bits and pieces of the Harvey Weinstein situation and put 2 and 2 together. It made me sad. It made me sad for a lot of reasons. It made me sad for all the women who have been violated, It made me sad for me, it made me sad for my kids, it made me sad. I'll be really honest, I don't perseverate on big negative things I can't change. I try to work really hard in my little circle to make a difference and not let the other things of this world break me. I try to find joy in all that I can, because who wants to be sad?
I have been harassed. When i was a brand new nurse I had a Dr grab my butt in the treatment room while he was assessing a patient. I was groped at a college football game by a group of boys. I've experienced the usual cat calls. This is nothing compared to what other girls have gone through.
I grew up in a home where my dad revered my mom (he still does) and cherished her. I never questioned if he respected her. I married a man that makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, stretch marks and all. I was raised to know my worth as a woman, but more importantly as a human. I know my worth. Here is the thing. This culture we live in is defined by beauty. What THEY define as beauty. Their are many days now, and as I grew up, when I felt like I was fat and ugly and less valuable than others based on what I saw around me and what was "pretty" or "desirable." I'm gonna be SUPER honest, when I received a cat call, what is defined as harassment, it made me feel better about myself. It validated that I was what people in this world define as pretty. I hate that. I hate that for my kids.
As I thought about these things I started to think about my kids, not just my daughters, but my boys too. How can I enable my girls to be confident enough in their own skin to stand up against anyone who is making them feel devalued. How can I enable them to look at what our culture views as pretty, but never let it make her feel like she is less beautiful because she doesn't have that characteristic. Or even better.....that neither of my girls will ever feel like she needs to expose her body to get attention. I want them to know that they are beautiful, boobs and all, but their is so much more to them than their physical attributes. I want to raise my boys to revere women. All women around them, no matter what they look like. This is hard in this culture. How will I help my boys appreciate a woman's body, but not reduce it to her parts. I want them to respect women (and humans for that matter). I want all of my little people to become adults that care for others. I want them to KNOW that their worth is not defined by ANYONE else!
I don't really know how to do this well....but I'll keep trying. That means that in our house we work really hard at only building each other up. No bullies in our house....in a house of five kids everyone is fighting for hierarchy, but it will NEVER be accomplished by tearing someone else down. If you are mean in our house you have to apologize, ask for forgiveness and then say 5 kind things about that person. This is exhausting, kids are mean. We've sat at the table for a long dog time waiting for a certain child to think and say kind things about another certain child. It also means we talk....A LOT! I work hard to let my kids express themselves through how they look now. This is so freaking hard when BK loves to wear the weirdest combinations of clothing and my boys prefer to dress like slobs. I like to control this. I want people to think I have this all together....fun fact: WE DON'T. This also means my kids get to watch my amazing husband love me. They watch him kiss me and then they scream in disgust (So stinking fun to be the parent that embarrasses them). They see that we are a team, that we work together to be successful. We are a team. My girls watch their dad love and revere their mom, my boys see how they should treat women, with kindness and respect. I can't change any of what is happening in this world. I can't make any of the pain other women have experienced go away, but hopefully, I'll raise 5 little people that will be confident enough in who God made them that they will bless and encourage so.many.others. I pray that my little baby world changers will show others how valuable they are!