Motivation Monday: Cheap Newspaper and Brown Masking Tape

When I had my twin girls 10 years ago, I experienced a range of emotions. Would I make a good mom? How would I teach not one but two girls to become awesome women when I still battled my own insecurities from time to time? I was honestly afraid that when the time came, I wouldn’t be able to articulate what it meant to be beautiful.

Over the years my own idea of beauty had changed. I’d long moved away from the exterior definition because time, painful experiences, self-evaluation and just plain old reality, taught me that chasing an elusive “ideal” only leads to more insecurity, disenchantment, and even self-loathing. Who wants to be miserable? I sure don’t! But, it’s one thing to know what beauty “is not”, and another thing to be able to explain what real beauty is. How do you define beauty in a tangible quantitative way (especially to young girls) that promotes self-acceptance and  healing when what we see everyday in the media is blaring the opposite: artificiality, perfectionism, and  gender competition on so many levels?

“Wear this and you’ll look better than her. ”

“Wrinkles are BAAAADDD. Aging is even worse!”

“Take this pill. Get that injection. Use this cream extracted from a super melon found only on the south side of the Pachooka stream in the Amazon Rainforest” (Ha! Ha! Okay. I made that last one up. But there is an infomercial out there that’s similar. You know the one I’m talking about,  don’t you?)

In our house, gift wrap is code for how we present ourselves to others. Now that my girls are rapidly moving out of their little girliness and into the uncharted territory of womanhood in all its facets, I find that my biggest battle is teaching them to reign in that elusive definition of beauty and make it their own. We started using the term gift wrap when the girls began to ask questions about clothing styles and why we taught them that certain things were not appropriate. Too short. Too Tight. Ummm, just “no”!.

In a nutshell, this is what we said:

You are a gift. (GOD’s Creation),  and every time you wrap that gift, whether it be the clothes you wear, the thoughts you think, or even the words you say, you are showing the world around you how you value yourself  and how you value GOD. And, if you don’t value yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to either. Other people will always have their opinions, but don’t let your  neglect or lack of consideration for yourself put a cheap price tag on something that is invaluable.

I believe that this is where true beauty begins.

If you have big girls, then I’m sure you can relate. If you still have little ones, get your definitions ready. Explaining time will be here before you know it!

No one wants to receive a gift  wrapped  in cheap newspaper and brown masking tape, even if there’s a diamond inside.

Let’s continue to value ourselves and teach our young girls to do the same!

Join me tomorrow for Tutorial Tuesdays and Working with Slippery Fabrics.

Keep doin’ what you love,


Motivation Mondays is a series that I started to share encouragement with moms. I use my past struggles as well as triumphs as a backdrop for my writing in the hope that just as others have helped me along the way, my readers will find something beneficial to carry along with them throughout their week. I believe that community is important as well as honesty and transparency.Want to chat? Send me an email: littlekidsgrow (a) gmail (dot) com. My welcome mat is always at the door.


  • genomix says:

    Beautifully said, Shannon.

  • Stacy @ The Land of K.A. says:

    That is a great way of explaining it! My girl is 7 and she loves clothes and all that fun stuff. Last year she wanted me to make her a bikini for swimming since that is what the older girls were wearing at the Y-camp she goes to over the summer. I was making her tankinis before, and I think she got razzed for her princess one she wore. 🙁 I made one…just one that covered more. It was cute, but still was modest enough for me. I know it is going to get harder as she gets older. It seems like I can see it starting already.

    • Shannon_CC says:

      Yes, Stacy, we dealt with the same issue with bathing suits last year. I want them to have the freedom to express their own individuality, but these days, if you don’t make it yourself, they really don’t have many choices out there.

  • Tamika says:

    Shannon, I had some of the same reservations when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had a whole host of fears, especially since I was not raised by my mom. It is really a “give us this day our daily bread” kind of thing with me and handling my children. My daughter is a communicator and very inquisitive, so you can only imagine the questions she’s asked me at only 5 years old. Thanks for this reminder that I need to get my definitions in order. I’ll probably need them before I know it.

    • Shannon_CC says:

      Yep! When that first set of questions from my daughters hit a few years ago, I thought, “Man! I just get the baby out of diapers and now there are a whole new set of challenges on the horizon!”. Ha! Ha! But, that’s what life is all about. At least it keeps us on our toes.

  • gina says:

    Hi Shannon! Great post; i love the wrapping paper analogy. I love your blog and what you do here so i have nominated you for the Liebster award. You can read my post:

  • Heidi says:

    What a great post, Shannon. This is something we started thinking about the very day we found out the precious baby I was pregnant with was (is) a girl. The societal pressures are unreal, and more intense/extreme than I remember them when I was growing up. Not sure what the answer is, but I want to definitely remember ‘gift wrap’ when Anja is older and starts questioning us, too.

  • Latoya Ashe-Bartley says:

    This was an amazing post. I have a 3 year old daughter and I know the time will come (SOON) where she will begin to ask questions. I will definitely keep “gift wrapping” in my thoughts. I appreciate you sharing this with us.

    • Shannon_CC says:

      Awwhh, 3 years old? So sweet, Latoya. Hold her close. She’s already watching everything that mommy does. (Thanks for stopping by today. Keep visiting!)

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