Lately I've heard a lot of people wonder, "Why do our girls all seem to talk and act so much older than we were at that age?"
I'll tell you why: It's our own fault our daughters seem to be growing up too fast. We're glamming up our little girls too soon—and it just might be ruining them.
I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 14. I also wasn't allowed to wear nail polish, pantyhose or heels that were taller than 1.5 inches before the age of 13. Lipgloss and blush came at 13 too. And don't even ask me about the arguments around shaving my legs.
So, I'm completely flabbergasted with how many little girls, ages 3 to not even 10, are seemingly getting used to being booked for manicures, blowouts, spa-like birthday parties and a handful of other activities meant for grown women.
What are we doing, moms?
Some of you may be shocked to find out that this self-proclaimed glamour mom—who loves sequin dresses, long hair extensions, glitter eyeshadow and spiky stilettos—refuses to take her daughters for mommy & me manis and anything else that speeds up the aging process of our young daughters. That's correct: My 7- and 6-year-old daughters have never had a manicure.
I can hear you just now, "Oh please, it's just innocent fun!" But IS it?
I could care less about the actual chemicals involved, but I do care that little girls aren't learning what it means to be emotionally solid without their toes looking like hot pink glitter candy all the time.
That little girls have no business being fooled into thinking they're not as pretty without glitter on their nails and flowers on their toes.
Recently, one of my friends asked me if my girls and I wanted to join her and her daughter for a ladies' day out with pedicures.
"Thank you, but we can't," I politely replied. What I didn't say was:
* How I don't want to unintentionally give my daughters the impression that little girls under the age of 10 are on equal footing with grown women in our 40s. When you're an adult, you can do what adults do.
* That beauty treatments are inappropriate for children. Kids should be playing outside, not sitting in a salon and telling a manicurist what shade they want to don for their first-grade show-and-tell project.
* That getting accustomed to regular beauty treatments, even if it is with Mommy, is a gateway to a high-maintenance lifestyle and spending extra money because they're subconsciously being trained to think they need these frills regularly.
* That little girls have no business being fooled into thinking they're not as pretty without glitter on their nails and flowers on their toes. Whether you want to admit it or not, once you get used to looking a certain way, anything below that standard can suddenly seem not good/pretty/fun enough.
Once we bust open that sparkly gate of "do this, wear that, put this on," I'm guessing it gets really hard to try and slow it down during those pre-teen years. Instead of being excited about getting a first "official" manicure for sixth grade graduation, she might instead want a 90-minute massage because manicures are "so 4 years old." We can't put toothpaste back in the tube once we squeeze it out.
Let's take a step back from the pamper-me-pretty play dates and teach our mini-mes what real beauty means before the age of 10. No blowouts required.
Then, when the inevitable preteen beauty curiosity/hijack happens, everyone can have fun throwing on glitz in small spurts because they're emotionally old enough to understand that, even though it's gorgeous, the Kiss Me, I'm Brazilian pink slathered across their fingernails is merely just frosting.