Ego-Play

15 Jul

I grew up in an interesting world of paradox. I had 3 sisters, no brothers and one father who adored having all girls. One would think that we would be up to our ears in “girl stuff”. Not so. My mom, being very spiritual in her own right, and having feminist leanings, encouraged us to read, go to college, play in mud piles and constantly boosted our sense of intelligence and encouraged our creative pursuits. There were piano lessons, basoon lessons, string base lessons, violin lessons, dance lessons, a bit of girl scouts, lots of gardening and yard work and my favorite ( probably because they were just for ME) – horse back riding lessons. My mom’s most memorable phrase, and one that really sunk into the fabric of our development was – “it’s what’s inside that counts”, and she was always quick encourage inner development.

I think she was brilliant in this way. I can’t remember her commenting much on our looks. As I grew into a teenager going through those very narcissistic years, it became a bit of a problem. I was a girl with a tremendous self-esteem. I knew who I was, that my possibilities were limitless, that I was smart and talented and capable and independent. But – I didn’t have much self-confidence in how I carried that out in the world. Part of that was, wondering – am I even cute? My big sister and I tended to fill that in for each other. As we got to the end of high school, and past our years of so much in-fighting, we started sharing clothes more (me sharing clothes with my almost-six foot tall sister? Ha!) and complimenting each other and helping each other figure out a bit more self-confidence. Thanks Carrie!

I’m of the belief that ego is important to self-development. Yes, we should know that we are more than our self, our accomplishments, our appearance, etc., but at some point – having a HEALTHY ego is a great tool as we learn to navigate the world.

Yesterday, at scout camp Kieran was SO hot. He’d been growing out his hair “medium” so that he spike it up cool and do fun things with it. Two hours into the hottest day of summer though, and he was begging for a buzz. We came home and zoom – off came piles of hair. He’s been upset ever since. “I’m almost BALD! My friends are going to hate it and make fun of me!” He let me take this picture, and said it could go on the blog as long as I didn’t tell his friends about it. He is wearing a cap to scout camp today.

"I can't believe my mom did this to me."

"I can't believe my mom did this to me."

Ah, there's a smile!

Ah, there's a smile!

Drew was jealous of his baseball cap, and his cowboy hat – which he almost wore. (anything to hide that hair, I guess – even going cowboy) I remembered my box of vintage hats that I inherited from my eccentric and fun-loving aunt Millie. There’s nothing like playing Dress up Drewbie at 7:30 AM. TOO cute:

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DSC_0931

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I realize that you can’t “give” your kids a sense of self-confidence or choose how they see themselves. I can tell Kieran how gorgeous he is til he’s blue in the face and he still is mortified by his adorable buzz cut. Drew is happy with her looks even if she’s running around dirty and naked (her favorite!). As a mom, it’s so interesting to try to strike that balance between teaching the kids about their insides and their outsides. I try to make the outsides about fun and play and creativity, rather than conforming or being proper. We’ll see. One thing I’m confident about? I’m sure to screw the kids up in one way or another. I hope they survive DESPITE their well-meaning mom!

And here I am as a kid, playing in the same hat collection....don't you love my "Heidi" dress?

And here I am as a kid, playing in the same hat collection....don't you love my "Heidi" dress?

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2 Responses to “Ego-Play”

  1. Darwin Stephenson July 16, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    I guess I’ll chime in with my perspective that my Mom always told me how good looking I was growing up. Of course, she was my Mom and I didn’t think she knew what she was talking about. But somehow her compliments stuck and I came out of those years with great self esteem and a positive image of my looks.

    So keep telling ’em that they’re gorgeous and that confidence will make its way into their heads.

  2. Jody Weltz July 16, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    Way too cute, Laurie. Thanks for sharing.

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