Hi friends! Happy Tuesday!
I couldn’t be more excited for this post. After I wrote You Get it From Your Momma, my friend Natalie said something along the lines of: wouldn’t it be great to do a follow up post from you dad’s perspective? He probably had something to do with your confidence too, right? Natalie knows how close I am with my dad + she was SO right. Such a wise woman! It was a terrific idea because the truth is my dad + husband have a lot to do with making me a confident woman. I’m deeply thankful to have these two wonderful men in my life, I know I’m lucky.
I asked Drew + my dad questions about how they support + foster self confidence in their ladies.
As many of you know, Drew + I are the parents of a 5.5 week old. Since we just went through pregnancy + are in the throes of postpartum, that is what I centered Drew’s questions around. I know a lot of women struggle with body image during this time! Making a little one is a lot of work for mommas + our bodies.
As I read through Drew’s answers, tears started to roll down my face. The tears continued all the way through, they were of the good variety. What a sweet man I married. For the most part, I knew how Drew felt. But, seeing it in writing was beautiful.
Ames: Any advice on how to encourage your significant other to be confident or how to support them when they aren’t feeling so confident?
Drew: It’s important to focus on the big picture. Your partner is developing a new member of your family, which is a HUGE responsibility! No matter what point you’re at pre-birth – 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 10 months, or post-birth – day 1, week 1, month 1, month 3, it’s an incredible accomplishment to have gotten this far. Guys, we should remind our gals of this frequently (I probably could do better in this area). And, if Mom got this far, they CAN make it the rest of the way.
In terms of body image, I want to make a couple points.
1) I think 99% of dudes fall in love with the smiles and character of their ladies. During pregnancy and postpartum, the same smile and natural character are present. That is what we cherish.
2) As a mom-to-be or new mom, the extra weight is necessary so the little one can reap the benefits. They need it! The mother is preparing herself and her family for the future. It’s in the best interest of everyone.
Ames: What was it like seeing my body go through pregnancy + then postpartum? How did you continue to encourage me to be confident through the process?
Drew: It was super interesting and exciting. During pregnancy, when I would notice the belly getting bigger, it increased my anticipation of our new arrival. I tried to reflect this in the way I spoke to Amy, and I also tried to remind her of the significance of nutrition for the little one. Watching Amy grow in belly size was a beautiful sight, and I wanted her to know that! Ames: It is true! Drew would tell me how beautiful I was at every stage + I could feel how genuine it was. He always picked the times when I didn’t have any make up on + I had my big belly out. My advice to women is to believe the compliment.
On the postpartum side, I try to encourage Amy by telling her how fulfilling it is to observe her take care of little Max. That is attractive. I also remind Amy that it takes a while for a woman’s body to return to it’s previous state, and that’s OK (she knows this, but it’s helpful for me to reinforce this fact as her spouse). There isn’t a lot a woman can do to shed pounds in the first six weeks postpartum when it comes to intense exercise. Remind your gal that you love the body she’s in right now!
Ames: Thank you for contributing to the blog again babe! Now on to the first man in my life, my dad!
Ames: You have raised 3 women, how is raising girls different from boys?
Dad Kempen: I didn’t think it was a whole lot different. I worried about my girls a little bit more when they entered the dating age. I always wanted to raise my girls to be self sufficient women and never wanted them to depend on anybody. That was big for me and I’m incredibly glad that two of my daughters have terrific careers and I know the youngest one is on her way.
Ames: What are your tips for raising confident women?
Dad Kempen: You support them in what they do. I tried to give my daughters the confidence that they could do anything. The key is supporting them in what they want to do, never forcing them or trying to strongly influence their decisions. All children are going to be different, and we should encourage that. My youngest wasn’t as interested in sports as her older sisters, and I was more than okay with it. I had to tell her do what you want…not what she thought we wanted as parents.
I also tried to be a really good listener. Sometimes your kids just need you to listen and that is the best support you can offer.
Lastly, I tried to push each of my girls a little bit, I wanted to raise tough and confident women.
Ames: Was it hard when we start dating? How about when you knew they weren’t right for us or thought they might negatively influence our self-esteem?
Dad Kempen: Yes. I never knew what these little chumps had in mind. I think every daddy worries when their daughters start dating. You know your little one is growing up at that point.
With one of the guys, I wanted my daughter to write all the positives about the guy on half the sheet, and the negatives on the other. Sometimes love is blind, and that’s tough on a dad. In that case I knew that the list of negatives would be a lot longer. For the most part, I tried to let you ladies figure it out for yourselves. And listened and supported along the way.
Ames: Thanks dad! We all felt very supported + I have to say my parents raised 3 confident women…they definitely did something right!
Aren’t they great? Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! See you on Thursday. -Ames