Friday, May 14, 2010

Raising a Modest Woman: Starting Out

Recently I've been talking to some of my mom friends about raising our daughters. I have no experience with boys so this post will just be about my experience with girls, those of you with boys, PLEASE share your experiences, advice, struggles, philosophies or even what your mom did with you.

I really got my butt in gear yesterday when I saw this picture of my friend, Morgan with her adorable baby Eliza.

Now, if you don't know Morgan- she is one hot mama. Lost all of her baby weight by simply wishing it away when E was just a few weeks old [well, sort of ;] Logically, there is NO reason she should be all covered up in a one piece.
I shot her a text that read "Love your bathing suit, way to rock the modesty"
She then began to tell me her desire to be a good example for her daughter, something Eamon and I talk about a lot. We started talking about our family's philosophies on raising modest children. And in my very elegant, modest language, I said
"Eamon and I want to teach our girls not to show anything they don't want touched, in other words if her shorts are riding up her *cougha$$cough*, she shouldn't be surprised if someone comes up and grabs it."
If you want the child friendly version "I see your hiney, all white and shiney, if you don't hide it..." yadda yadda yadda.

Now, I know some people are just obsessive about not being touched, at all and that's not what I'm talking about. If someone were to brush up against your exposed arm you wouldn't be as frazzled as you would be if they brushed up against your exposed boobs.

So what are some ways that I can keep my daughter from wanting to dress in a provocative way?

*It starts with you
As you know, we live in a society that is driven, empowered, and survived on sex. So how do you stay up with the times and not become a sex symbol outside of your home? It's a fine line.
  • At home, I encourage you to make every effort to be THE sexiest woman your man could want- look at all of your competition out there! It's overwhelming. Satisfy your man's visual eye candy dietary needs at home every now so he won't look for dessert elsewhere!
  • But outside of the careful.Let's face it, you could be wearing an abaya and still get cat-called. Sometimes, you just can't win. But dress with purpose and modesty.
When I was in high school I came across this verse as I was praying about one of my friends who was having sex with her boyfriend, and myself for the way I dressed on dates with Eamon:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NIV)
3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own bodya]">[a] in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

I underlined verse 6 because it was then I realized that I was causing my boyfriend [and future husband] to sin! Then my 17 year old self realized that all girls dressing in an unacceptable way were doing to the boys and men around us. I'm in no way saying your asking for it, but I AM saying that we are not just dressing for ourselves.
I talked to a friend before we got married about packing for my honeymoon, not being able to decide what to wear in the water- one or two pieces. We both said that while yes, we were now married, it would be unfare to OTHER married men and their wives to wear a two piece. But in an attempt to be "grown up sexy wives" we both bought two pieces. She bought a string bikini.
Even last summer, 8 months pregnant I wore a two piece on our anniversary vacation...8 months pregnant. Yes, there was something cute and sexy about it, and I love that my husband loved it...but so did every other guy on Town Lake.
This year will be different, and I wish it didn't take motherhood to make that change in me.

Want some ideas on how to be fashionable without being hootchie? Check out Chelsea's blog. One of the most fashionable mamas I know ;]

Now, there's not much you can give them responsiblity for at this age, so this age is still very reliable on your choices. Tonight on ABC's Episode of "What Would You Do?" they will discuss breastfeeding in public.

Now without seeing the episode [it doesn't air til tonight] or ever even seeing this show, many of my breastfeeding, Christian moms are cursing the very air the producers breathe. I really hope that it's not going to be as bad as everyone thinks it is. But aside from that, I'm noticing a trend amungst the Christian breastfeeding population that I know.
"I will feed my baby, whenever, HOWEVER I want. If you don't like it, put a blanket over YOUR head"
Let me be clear- I will never allow anyone to tell me I must bf Lily in a bathroom stall, and I will never be discouraged from breastfeeding in public. I admitedly do not use a cover in my own home, or in front of other women who I know are not offended by nursing without a cover, or do it themselves.
THAT SAID- I will try my hardest [even as I write this post] to not stir up dissension in my brother's and sister's hearts.

Prov 16:28
A perverse man stirs up dissension

So, instead of acting like "This is not a sex object, there's milk coming out of it for Goodness sake", I started to recognize, well to me it's not, but to them it may be. I started using a cover, even though it's a pain, even though Lily still flashes her mama's goods, EVEN THOUGH I said I never let people know that this is natural, this is beautiful, and I am not trying to offend you.

I saw a beautiful example of this last week at bible study. One of my friends is still nursing her two year old. Last week K was still trying to be a part of the conversation, while being latched on. Her mother quietly said "K, what did we talk about helping mommy be modest?" It was beautiful! K turned her face back around, covered mommy up and quickly finished her snack so she could finish playing.
Her mommy valued her modesty in public so much that she taught her daughter of TWO years it's importance.

Another issue that come up with breastfeeding is the fashion part. Sure, some moms can hide their breasts with their baby's little head/mouth, but others...not so much. Women, TRY to be conscience about whether your nursing tank is giving everyone a peep show, it's hard I KNOW, but it is something to be warry of.
Husbands, help your wife out! Sometime's I'll see pictures of myself and I say "BABE?!? Why didn't you tell me!?!" And it's honestly because I don't care at home, so we don't notice.

"Ok, Ok, I get it, stop dressing like a floosie! But what about the baby?"

Here are some tips for the itty bitty ladies in your life.
  • Nekkid time is for the home- Make a habbit early on of not allowing her to be a nudist in public [this is one a certain mama mae or mae not be working on ;]
  • String are on jelly fish, not bikinis- I was shocked when I found a website that sold JUST string bikinis for babies. At first I thought, "Oh cute! Their little bellies will hang out." Then I saw the site. I felt so uneasy. I was going to put a link up here, but decided against it. That's how much it affected me... Opt for a cute one piece instead. And if you have a baby belly that you just must see hanging out, opt for a tankini with a skirted bottom.
  • Panties see potties, not parties- Once they are out of diapers, make sure their panties are only seeing the potty by putting on shorts under their skirts and dresses.

I hope this post inspires you and your household to start a conversation about how you can instill modesty in your precious children. And don't forget the power of prayer!



Mae Burke said...

Don't forget to share your experiences!

Stephanie said...

I am thankful that most the people around us are of the same thinking when it comes to our daughters and modesty. I have been scouring the web trying to find Lucy a modest rashguard top and skirt bottom that won't cost $30+ with little success. Even a one-piece on her seems too much, honestly. We talk to Lucy about sitting like a lady by keeping her legs together or crossed pretty often and she almost always wears shorts under her skirts and dresses (the girl ONLY wants to wear those these days), though sometimes if we are in a rush to get out the door they may be forgotten.

I read the book Every Young Man's Battle about five years ago and was given a new perspective on modesty and how it affects men/boys. I never dressed immodestly, but it definitely made me be much more conscientious of what I wore as to not cause my brother to stumble. Plus, my body is for my husband and no one else (and it totally creeps me out to think of any other man looking at me other than him). I can not think of ANY reason to dress immodestly. It doesn't honor our husbands, children or, more importantly, our Savior. Everything we do is a reflection of Christ, including how we dress. Our first thoughts in anything we do should be, "does this bring honor to Christ?"

I could write a lot more, but will stop for you, Mae! :)

joannalee said...

thanks for posting this! i definitely needed a reminder. i was raised very strictly in terms of dressing modestly, and couldn't wait to grow up and be able to dress how i wanted to. especially now that i'm married, it's easy to think that all of a sudden i have the right to wear whatever pleases me and riley. what a kick in the pants! i need to be a better example for my daughter. the swimsuit issue really ate my lunch. i guess i'll be on the hunt for a more modest one this year!

Mommypotamus said...

Mae, this post was very challenging and I am still sorting through my feelings on the subject days after first reading it. I will say that I am glad they finally came out with tankini's or whatever you call them. My torso is so long I have never been able to comfortably wear a one-piece but I cannot imagine wearing my two-piece in public around here. Thanks for posting!

Mae Burke said...

Joanna- I know, I did too, but I wasn't given a reason WHY you know, nothing we did was biblically or gracefully based, something we aim to do.
Target actually has some CUTE one pieces at a very modest price! I got one last week for myself for $35!

Heather- I would really love to hear what your initial thoughts are, sincerly! And about the bathing suit, Katie B and I were talking about that yesterday, and I now understand the plight of the women over 5'4", lol

joannalee said...

yes! i was just looking on target's website last night and found a couple really cute ones for $35. score!

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