I always thought I’d have a girl. I desperately wanted to have a girl.
Alas, I am the mother of two boys. Instead of having important mom-daughter conversations, I get to be the be the mom who welcomes her teenagers’ friends into her home and has important heart-to-heart conversations about the big stuff: relationships, self-esteem, goals and dreams. And with two boys, some of those friends are bound to be girls who fight with their own mothers and want to talk to someone else about this stuff. I know I can be a special role model to these girls, even if they aren't my own
Several years ago I decided I wanted to try running a 10K.
(Stick with me here. This is relevant, trust me.)
At first the interval training made me feel like I was going to die, but I eventually got better and did run that race. And then I did a couple more, and then decided I wanted to try a half marathon. During my first half marathon clinic, we had an opportunity to be filmed while running so the coaches could talk to us about our stride. I thought that was a great idea — until I saw myself on video.
I look ridiculous when I run. I'm tall with long limbs, which might sound desirable but when I run I look like a galloping giraffe. Except less graceful. And I'm not particularly fast.
I was mortified when I saw myself on that video, and all the usual thoughts ran through my head. “I can't do this. I look SO DUMB. I should quit.”
I didn't quit, even though I'm still very aware of how silly I look when I run. I notice it in every race picture. "Pick up your feet!" I think. I want to have a strong, powerful stride instead of looking like someone who is just doing her best to not fall off a moving sidewalk.
But I keep going, because I want my kids to find the motivation that comes from doing something because it's good for them and not because of how good they are at it, and certainly not because of how good they look. I want them to do it because they want to accomplish a goal. Or simply because it’s something they love. Those things are much more important than whether you are the best at something—or whether you look more like a giraffe than a cheetah.
If I had stopped running when I thought I was going to die or because I was embarrassed at how I look, I would never have reached my potential. I will never win a race (though I plan to kick butt in the 80+ category when I get there) but I will always know that I can do something I thought I couldn’t.
One day there will be a girl who is agonizing over how she looks — too tall or too fat or too uncoordinated — and when she’s sitting in my kitchen on the pretense of hanging out with my son I want to share the story of when I was unstoppable and say “I know. Me too. But keep going. Do it anyway. Do it because you can. Do it because you love it. Nothing else matters.”
The Dove Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest is about just that—sharing your story of how you’re an unstoppable role model for girls. When girls have a role model at home (or in their friend’s kitchen, they are less likely to let anxiety about their looks hold them back. Are you one of the moms setting a positive example and helping to shape who a young girl will become? You deserve to be celebrated!