Have you ever listened to advice from your mother or inherited her well-being regimen, or did you dismiss it as being outdated and irrelevant to your know-it-all and too-cool-for-school life?
I don’t know about you, but at the age of 52, I still hear myself saying, “I wish I had listened to my mother.” But at the same time, I am glad I chose a different path when it came to looking after my health and well-being.
My mother was a very heavy smoker, but if she had ever caught me smoking, I would have got a clip around the ear!
Avoiding the Classic: Do as I Say, Not as I Do
So how do we inspire our daughters to lead a healthy balanced life and change that narrative?
I am sure we have all grown up on the wisdom and advice of our mums and the generations before them, lessons that will stay with us forever and keep guiding us. I believe that before we can teach our daughters, we must first make this commitment to ourselves.
Mothers have an incredible influence, good and bad, on their daughters’ lives. From an early age, they look up to us, listen to and pick up on our day-to-day habits — habits which can be compounded by social media.
The good news is that the quality of information about women’s health is finally catching up compared to our mothers’ and grandmothers’ time. Media — social media in particular — is more accessible and provides us with a lot more research and resources once you sift through the rubbish.
I am hoping that my generation is the last to get fooled by the quick-fix fad diet industry and crazy exercise routines and that, with a better understanding and background knowledge, women can start to better appreciate how their bodies function and what is needed.
“The only way that a mother can truly be present, engaged, connected, and nurturing with her child is if she is present, engaged, connected, and nurturing with herself,” writes Julie Burton, author of The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Must-Have Guide to Health and Wellness. “The only way she can relate to herself is if she does what she needs to do to care for herself in an honest and meaningful manner. This is the true essence of self-care for mothers.”
Your words and actions impact your daughter more than you think. You have a lot of power to shape their attitudes, values, and behaviours.
Words to Live By
So, let’s look at some wise words of wisdom fro, amazing mothers here in the UAE and further afield.
1. The overriding thought I have, as my daughter is now just 13, is to pass on to [girls] that they always —whatever happens in life — have everything they need within themselves to be happy and content. Trust your instinct always.—Claire
2. Learn about who you are and what you need. You are born as an individual and your needs will always be different from the next person’s. Nurture your mind and body; you care for them, they will always show up for you.—Sharon
3. My advice to my daughter and all young people comes from the wise words of Oscar Wilde “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
4. Keep exercising your whole life, it’s medicine for both mental and physical health.—Michelle, UK
5. Always speak up. I will always have your back.—Reem
6. I would tell her not to repeat my mistakes when it comes to health, wellness, and beauty. I always thought it was ok to eat unhealthily and not exercise when I was young, thinking I would stay the way I am for many years to come. Only, age tells you differently. It is important that she adopts a lifestyle that keeps not only her body fit but also her mind.—Hala
7. It is important that as mothers we walk the walk instead of lecturing them about their lifestyle, sharing a passion or an activity and choosing the right food when dining out, but above all, enjoy every experience.
8. Develop a healthy lifestyle from an early age. You should not wait until you decide to get married or be a mother to do so. Investing in your health is the best investment you will ever make in your life. You can do that by always eating healthy, letting exercise be a routine in your life.”—Ameera
9. Make exercise and workout a part of your daily routine and consume the right food.—Iman
10. Let your daughter know that every girl goes through getting her periods and looking after their health and well-being plays an important role in PMS symptoms and will keep her hormones balanced. It’s okay to exercise whilst on a period; you can have some of your best training days!—Sarah
We all want our daughters to have a well-balanced approach to life. This can take hard work and perseverance. Cultivating a strong, healthy mind and body and having someone in their corner providing them with the right advice and guidance can only help shape their destiny. Thankfully, the world is changing, and women have a stronger voice; they are more confident, believing they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to.