What I Want My Daughter to Know About True Beauty

I was a newly minted New Yorker, fresh from a two-year stint on an island, trying to find my way in a big city when stopped by a women’s magazine in Union Square.  They snapped my photo and asked me to describe what I viewed as my best physical feature. Without hesitation, I responded my hands. Not because I particularly liked how they looked, but because in them I saw my mother.

with mamaMe and my Mama, Summer 2014

Perhaps the most important beauty lesson my mother imparted was to find and spread true beauty in the ways in which you live. I was led by the light in her eyes when she helped and served others, and from the glow that radiated as she gave from her heart.  The hands that I always see within my own are perhaps most well known for their work with suffering humanity.

It is my greatest hope that she will continue to receive glimmers of the kindness and compassion that she has demonstrated to others.

Although my mom was never into beauty products, I view the umbrella of beauty as a positive avenue to take care of myself.  I strive to teach my impressionable daughter that a woman can be strong, empowered, and smart with whatever form of self-care she pleases.

I’m well aware, that I am my children’s most profound example, with values and messages practically formed by osmosis. The Dove brand reinforces this message, representing realness in beauty while striving to foster self-esteem among women and girls.

The new Dove Beauty Stories campaign celebrates the beauty habits and advice that are passed down from mother to daughter and encourages women to share their beauty stories to celebrate the women who have taught them to live beautifully.  A survey they commissioned actually found that most women trust the women in their lives more than celebrities for beauty tips and advice.

I hope to have this influence on my own daughter.  Human and flawed – I make mistakes.  But my body image issues consciously shifted the moment that I gave birth to a baby girl.  In many ways, I never felt more feminine and powerful as a woman.  Growing, birthing and sustaining life gave me a new perspective on my femininity, body image, and incredible capabilities.

My seven-year-old daughter is a joy-spreader.  She exudes unfading beauty and innocence.  I want her to feel beautiful and empowered by her magnificent inner light, compassion and capabilities.  And for her, I vow to continue to silence my inner critic – and stand guard while drowning the sea of voices murmuring: Beauty, that’s only found in how you look.

Pippa and Julie dresses

This post is sponsored by Dove via The Motherhood.  Thank you for reading.  Please join in sharing your #BeautyStory while celebrating the real women who inspired it.



  1. What a lovely post, Monica. Our children do find their biggest examples in watching their parents, both good and bad. That’s why it really is very important to silence our inner critique, as you’ve noted here, when it comes to body image. My daughter is 16 now and the credence she lends to words said even flippantly by her friends is a little alarming to me. I want her to know she is enough, more than enough, just as she is…

    I appreciate that Dove goes out of their way to make their representative real. I hope more big brands follow suit. For the teens, and maybe even the adults! those kinds of efforts do make a positive impact/difference.

  2. Great post Monica!! It’s so true that our kids watch everything we do and learn from our actions, including our mistakes. I make it a point to choose my words carefully and make sure that I’m mindful of my actions when I’m around my children.

  3. Awe! You and your mother are beautiful ladies and I just know you two are teacher your daughter how to be herself and that she is beautiful just the way she is! Beautiful post just in time to celebrate motherhood!

  4. What a beautiful post! I love the Dove brand and the message that it imparts. Beauty to me goes far deeper than what we see in the mirror.

  5. wow, i read this a couple of times, I want my daughter to know she is beautiful in every way, she is going to be a teenager next year, I want her to see her self worth and know she is worth it

    This is a beautiful post so needed it

  6. I try to teach my kids confidence. The world will tell them their flaws, I have to create their inner voice speaking love and happiness and confidence. Saying “Your opinion means nothing to me, I KNOW the truth!”

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