Sep
30
2014

Why You Need To Make This Your Best Birthday Ever

Switch your perception and change your attitude towards aging

by: Erica Ehm

Why You Need To Make This Your Best Birthday Ever

Why You Need to Make This Your Best Birthday Ever

Getting older for me is a strange thing. Unlike people like Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain who died before their time and will forever remain young and dewy, I am no longer that girl from the '80s who made an indelible mark on Canadian pop culture. When people meet me, I'm often told how their husbands, brothers, fathers, friends used to have a crush on me. "Used to?" I say with a laugh. Of course, there's a quick retraction and they assure me they still DO have "those feelings" for me. 

Last year on Twitter, someone tweeted out "Just saw Erica Ehm on the Steven and Chris show. She's not aging very well." Someone else posted, "When did Erica Ehm get crow's feet?" My response to both of these social media comments is a mixture of sadness and anger. Of course I'm aging. My days on MuchMusic were close to thirty years ago (how did THAT happen?). But I understand how my aging is a direct reflection of everyone in my generation getting older. I'm like a mirror being held up to your mortality.

Being in the public eye for so many years, I had to come to some kind of personal acceptance of how I would cope with being judged on my looks. It never gets easy watching old footage of myself with less than flattering camera angles, lighting, and makeup. I did a lot of soul-searching back in those days to come to terms with intense public scrutiny.

Fast forward to today, my face lined by time and a belly bigger thanks to two babies. I'm older and celebrating yet another birthday. I'm not going to lie. I wish that time would have passed over me when it chose to sprinkle its "aging" dust on me, but I'm dealing with the same challenges everyone my age is. Rather than fight it, I feel a strong responsibility to the women I've grown up with to age gracefully and make this my best birthday ever.

When I was asked to participate in the Dove Beautiful Age campaign, I didn't hesitate. Although the fancy photoshoot did dredge up some old insecurities which I wrote about here, ultimately I am honoured to be part of a movement that challenges the unhealthy definition of what is considered beautiful today.

To imply that my face isn't good enough because I have laugh lines is infuriating. Have you given thought as to who exactly is making these youth obsessed proclamations about what's beautiful? I'll tell you. It's greedy corporations and cosmetic surgeons who are infusing deep-seated insecurity into an aging population in the hopes that we will empty our bank accounts into their pockets in the search for the elusive fountain of youth.

Here's the truth: There is NO WAY to reverse aging. It's inevitable.

Here's what you can reverse: Your attitude towards it.

Rather than staring at the lines on your face in horror, switch your perception and see them as lines of wisdom, a life being lived, and stories to be shared. Insecurity isn't pretty. Confidence and self-esteem are beautiful.

There is a scary trickle-down effect of our negative self-talk. It is absorbed by our kids, who are in the process of learning how to navigate the minefield of self-esteem. According to Dove research, 72% of girls feel pressured to be beautiful; and sadly that definition of beauty is fed to them in a photo-shopped, youth obsessed celebrity culture. Our daughters, nieces, and grandchildren need positive role models now more than ever.

I'm very passionate about this, so much so that I've partnered with Dove on a series of free Self-Esteem Workshops for Mothers and Daughters hosted by YMC Bloggers and #YMCCommunity bloggers to held around the country. There will be great conversations about what our girls feel is holding them back, and how you can help them live more confident, empowered lives. You can see the entire list of workshops here. I'll be taking my daughter and I hope to see you there.

So what do I want for my best birthday this year? For you to tell me how you are working to embrace the aging process. And to hear how you are redefining beautiful on your own terms, not just for yourself, but for the daughters and sons in your life. It's up to us to change the way we're being marketed to by not buying into the negative images we're being sold.

Happy Beautiful Birthday to us all!

 

Visit our 'self-esteem resource page' for helpful info on how to talk with your daughter about real beauty and self-esteem.

We need you to be a part of the Dove mission to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million girls by 2015.

Sep
26
2014

Why You Should Go To The Baby Show This Weekend

Don't miss it!

by: Erica Ehm

Why You Should Go To The Baby Show This Weekend

The Baby Show Toronto

I am SO EXCITED for my friends Sandy and Nick!! Their dream is actually coming true tomorrow! The Toronto Baby Show is finally launching this weekend at the Direct Energy Center at Exhibition Place!

Sandy and Nick are the owners of Oh Baby, so we travel in the same online parenting circles. For the last few years Nick and Sandy and I have partnered at various baby-focused trade shows, putting our two teams together to share a booth. They are two of the hardest working and nicest entrepreneurs I know.

Now Nick and Sandy are taking all their experience as exhibitors at tradeshows to the next level by launching their own major Baby Show in Toronto. This is a huge undertaking they've been working on for almost a year and the show is going to be AWESOME! There are a ton of fantastic vendors with products and services for babies to toddlers, seminars for new parents and even cute family entertainment. You can read all about it here!

Of course YMC will be there with our busy booth. Make sure you drop by to say hi!  You can enter to win our YMC Grand Prize gift basket filled with all kinds of mum and kid friendly goodies. 

I hope you make it to the show this weekend! Not only will you be supporting my friends' entrepreneurial dream, you'll also come home with bags of cool stuff for babies and toddlers!

Are you going? Make sure you read these 10 tips on everything you need to know about navigating The Baby Show

Sep
16
2014

What We Teach Our Girls By Getting Wrinkles

Why we need to walk the talk to a new kind of beauty

by: Erica Ehm

What We Teach Our Girls By Getting Wrinkles

ERICA EHM AND HER DAUGHTER

As much as I understand the logic of genetics, I am continually amazed at how my daughter is morphing into a mini-me. Not only does she look like I did at her age, but she is also absorbing my very outspoken philosophies on beauty and self esteem into the way she sees the world. 

In advance of my upcoming birthday, I asked her to make me a video explaining why she thinks her mother is beautiful. Have a look at this! 

I couldn't be more proud watching this video, witnessing how she has internalized some complicated concepts into her ten-year-old psyche. The idea that beauty comes from within, that superficial prettiness pales in comparison to depth of character, genuinely connects with her. When I compliment her, it's about how strong, hard-working, fit, and focused she is, and how that inner power makes her outer beauty shine. I love watching her receive these words of praise. Her smile lights up the room.

My daughter comes from a family of strong matriarchs. My mother, her grandmother, is a powerhouse who insists on Aging Disgracefully. As well as travelling around the world at the still young age of 74, my mother adamantly refuses to succumb to society's pressures of trying to look younger than her years. Her approach to aging is to LIVE young, to continue to evolve, experience new ideas, create, and be true to her passions in life. She sparkles with vitality and personality. She is undeniably beautiful.

My grandmother, although more traditional than my mom on the surface, was also a remarkable woman. A businesswoman later in life, a star bridge player well into her nineties, and a barometer for kindness, my grandmother was a quiet force of goodness to be reckoned with.

And my great Aunt Mindy, who died last week in her hundredth year, left Montreal in the '40s to pursue a career in New York City. I grew up visiting my always-dressed-to-the-nines aunt in Manhattan, her shock of white hair consistently styled simply and flawlessly. Like my mom and my grandmother, Mindy was comfortable in her own quirky skin, a feminist before her time who played a big part in shaping who I am today.

My daughter is surrounded by powerful women who call out the beauty industry for imposing unrealistic and unhealthy images of girls and women. For years we've pointed out billboards, magazine ads, and TV shows and the lies the cosmetic industry is trying to feed us. She (and my son) have seen the Dove Evolution video several times which inevitably provokes important conversation. If you have a daughter and haven't watch this with her, do it now!

Just yesterday at the mall, my daughter pointed at a huge billboard for a large cosmetics company and noticed how none of the models were smiling. "That's because if they smile they'll have wrinkles, which they never show in ads," she explained to me wisely. File this under proud moment in parenting a daughter.

Let's be honest. I am definitely dealing with the challenges of aging. But rather than battle the inevitable by spending my dollars on superficial fixes like cosmetic surgery and expensive bottles of creams which sell the illusion of youth, I'm trying to eat well, work out, and dress like the inner rock star I am. A little hair colour doesn't hurt either. Don't get me wrong. Watching my face change isn't easy. Sometimes I feel like the evil stepmother in Snow White as I enviously look at my daughter's glowing skin.

But it's the cycle of life. And it's her time to shine.

Empowering our girls to reach their full potential is our responsibility as mothers. They emulate our behaviour and absorb our fear. This is why I am so thrilled to address these issues in a series of free Self Esteem Workshops for Girls and Moms in partnership with Dove hosted by YMC Bloggers and #YMCCommunity bloggers to be held around the country. You can check out the schedule of workshops here. I really hope you grab your girls between the ages of 8 and thirteen and take some time to learn about what's holding our girls back and how you can help you daughter become the amazing women she's destined to be.

As moms, role models and consumers, let's celebrate our wrinkles and teach our daughters that a woman's real beauty comes from the inside. My daughter is already on the right path. I know it will be even more challenging when she hits her teen years, but I plan to continue to walk the talk to help her believe what her real beauty is.

Visit our 'self-esteem resource page' for helpful info on how to talk with your daughter about real beauty and self-esteem.

We need you to be a part of the Dove mission to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million girls by 2015.