I am the mother of four amazing children, two girls and two boys. My husband and I are both very much into sports, having both been college athletes. When we began having children we both dreamed of them following in our footsteps. As much as we both want them to love baseball or running, we both know that they need to decide on their own where their interests are.
Having been a tomboy and not into the whole girly thing, I was very torn when my four-year-old daughter, Elliot, asked to be in our Community Day pageant. In my mind I had villianized everything pageant were, I had drawn conclusions about what they stood for.
This being said, I have very strong convictions about letting my children become their own person, not who I want them to be. I sent in the form and the $10 entry fee and tried my best to get excited for her. The day of the pageant I dressed her in that year’s Easter dress and curled her hair. Other than some clear lip gloss we skipped the make up, and pinned on her contestant number.
When Elliot got up on the stage, her huge personality jumped out immediately at the judges. She walked confidently to the middle of the judges, jumped up and threw her arms in the air. She threw out waves and kisses and her radiant smile lit up the crowd. I couldn’t deny that this little firecracker was born to be on stage.
After being crowned, I knew a little pageant diva had been born. She begged me to find another pageant for her to compete in, and I did.She did two more pageants that she won. She was making friends, having fun and I was working at keeping it all what I believe is appropriate for a young girl. We don’t do swim suits, make-up, hair pieces....nothing but natural beauty and charm.
When she lost for the first time at a large, national competition, I hoped the bug that bit her was finally done, but it wasn't. She didn’t care that she had lost. She had made friends and was happy with how she performed. It was then that I realized that this was not a passing craze for Elliot, she really was my little pageant princess.
Some of you may be picturing Toddlers and Tiaras right now. You may imagine us in the living room, me yelling at her to get her routine down. Maybe you picture a closet full of over priced and under used dresses.
Unfortunately, that is what a lot of people believe pageants are about. I want to tell you now, that is not the case. Of course there are always people who go to those extremes, but for the most part, pageants are so much more than what television cameras capture and share.
For us, we have had the great honor of being involved in pageant circuits that are confidence builders, friendship makers, girls weekends, and overall great experiences. It isn’t a beauty competition. Yes, overall appearance is part of the scoring. I’m not so naive that I don’t know this. But we find pageants that have talent, and interview so who she is matters as much as how she looks. We have an upcoming pageant where points are added for bringing in items to be donated to local charities.
I encourage people to reconsider preconceived notions and don’t be so fast to pass judgment. People look at me like I’m an evil mom when they learn Elliot is in pageants. Somebody recently told me they can’t believe I “make” my daughter do pageants.
The only thing I “make” my children do is pick what makes them happy. If that makes me a bad mom, I’ll wear that title proudly!
Our guest blogger today is Sara-Summer Oliphant. Sara-Summer is a freelance writer and avid runner. She hails from Mt. Lebanon and now lives in South Park with her husband Joe and four kids.