"Raising Women" - This is a continuation of our series on mothers raising girls in today's often complicated and multifaceted world. HSFT Founder Stephanie pictured with her two daughters...
It's In The Genes
Want to know the most powerful thing you can do for you daughters? Love yourself. Modeling positive self image and letting your children see you sometimes put YOU first is sending a message that you value yourself. It teaches them what it means to take care of yourself and gives them a blueprint for what loving self-reliance looks like.
As natural born caretakers, we are wired to nurture others. When we become mothers, we have a built-in excuse to put someone else's needs above our own. For some of us, this sets us on a path of self neglect and disconnect. A newborn is a jarring lesson in a stark reality that your life is no longer your own. But honoring ourselves and continuing acts of loving and kindness to yourself are particularly important in those times.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
As our daughters grow and learn the different pressures and expectations of women in our society, they will find plenty of reasons to feel unworthy or secondary. Social media, peer pressure, even friends, will send them repeated messages that their is a greater value placed on how they look, what they wear or who they hang out with. Help them understand at an early age that they are their own best ally and that loving who they no matter what will set them apart.
"I try to live by example," says HSFT CEO and founder Stephanie Rado Taormina, mother of two girls."We are all human, but we have the ability to eat well, exercise to maintain a healthy body and attitude, and understand our limitations and goals. I take time for personal reflection, self analyze on how I can grow spiritually and also maintain all the factors for living a good life."
Pass It On
How we live our lives is one of the key factors in how our daughters will, too. Dr. Christiane Northrup has been on the forefront of women's health and wellness for over three decades and has this to say about the complexity of the mother/daughter bond and relationship.
"No other childhood experience is as compelling as a young girl’s relationship with her mother. Each of us takes in at the cellular level how our mother feels about being female, what she believes about her body, how she takes care of her health, and what she believes is possible in life. Her beliefs and behaviors set the tone for how well we learn to care for ourselves as adults. We then pass this information either consciously or unconsciously on to the next generation."
It's easy in the crazed pace of motherhood and life to disconnect from how we show up in our children's life. How do our daughter's see us? Do we send the message that we matter? Do we model self-acceptance or hopefulness? How do they see us manage our lives when everything is falling apart?
Steph says she tries to emphasis to her daughters doing their best but also to understand it may not always turn out the way they think. As an entrepreneur and business woman building a lifestyle brand from the ground up, she hopes the message they're taking away is that they can do anything if they work hard enough.
Love You and What You Do
"They see how hard I work at HSFT but they also see how much I love it," she says. And with two daughters who have uniquely different styles and talents, she encourages finding their own voices. "I believe in individuality mixed with the foundation of being your best self. So, I have always encouraged them to give their best in every aspect of their life, but not expecting a particular outcome or forcing a direction," says Steph.
Loving ourselves means seeing yourself as beautiful and allowing our daughters to see our beauty radiating from us in the most authentic of ways; because we feel it and believe it.
"I think accepting who you are, what you look like, and how you feel is a big part of being beautiful and sexy. I think everyone has their own unique beauty. I just continue to reinforce to my daughters what I live; you can still be fierce and independent while being sexy and beautiful."
HAVE SOME FUN TODAY - Christina Redner is an HSFT woman who knows how to roll with it. A busy stay-at-home-mom to three children, she lives the challenges of parenting every day. When it comes to raising her two daughters in this day and age, she likes to live in the moment. "To keep my sanity and to keep them grounded, I try not to think about it too much. I stay in the now." she says. "If you think of every challenge girls will face and think of protecting them from everything, you will go crazy. I try to stick to my morals and values and instill that in them and just kinda roll with it. That's the kind of mother I am."
On Raising Girls To Be Independent Women:
"I raise them to not be followers. As hard as that might be, don't follow the crowd, but be a leader. Then they can do whatever they set their minds to, whatever it might be. Set high standards and go for it. Life's too short!"
"I want to them go out into the world and be good people," she said, "and be close to my husband and I, and their family. I think when they have a strong foundation, they know they are going to be okay no matter what happens and they know they can always come back to that."
Son Beckett is 8-years-old, all boy and into his Daddy time right now, "unless he needs a little motherly love," so husband Ryan is his go-to at the moment. She sees that as a phase as her children grow up and all need her in different ways, with each of them at a very distinct age. Daughter Sydney is a teenager at 15 and daughter Brooke is a pre-teen at 12. What does she love most about her girls? "Shopping!" she laughs. "But really, I love that they are my best friends! Nothing better."
Christina is wearing the HSFT slouchy tee.