Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher: I’m Beautiful And Heartbroken About My Ugly Child

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Ugly Child Dear Mothertougher and Mama Love Junkie,

I’m embarrassed to even write this, but here goes. My daughter is sweet and bright and a wonderful kid. But – and I know a mom should never even think this about her own child, let alone write it – she’s not pretty. Not even cute, really. At the age of 12, she’s gawky, overweight, and has awful skin. She also inherited her dad’s nose (his sisters both had nose jobs by the time they were 14 if that’s any indication).

I know that I shouldn’t care, and that I should tell her that she is beautiful because of whom she is inside. But I know all too well that outside appearances count more than people like to believe. I was always one of the prettiest girls in school; in fact, I won numerous pageants as a teen that allowed me to attend college almost free of charge, due to various scholarship and cash prizes. I know that it was my looks that gave me an edge, and I can’t help but feel heartbroken that my daughter won’t get those same advantages. The worst part is, she seems perfectly content with how she looks. She’s really confident, and talks to me about how she thinks the cutest boy in her class might be interested in her, which I just can’t imagine being the case. I think she could be so much more attractive, if she would lose weight and consider rhinoplasty – but how does a mom say that to her preteen daughter?

Please tell me honestly- is there anything I can do here? Or should I just figure out how to manage my own disappointment and move on? Please know that I just want the best for her.

Thank you,

Pretty Duckling

Dear Pretty Duckling,

Oh for the love of god.

I am really having a tough time answering this question with some modicum of grace, because I basically want to smack you across your pretty face.

(When I’m pissed, apparently, I rhyme unintentionally.)

True, there are advantages that come with beauty. But there are also disadvantages, such as turning into a superficial person. I bet you know something about that.

Maybe your daughter didn’t win the genetic lottery when it came to looks, but what about her intelligence and creativity? Her wit? Her compassion? True, high school can suck donkey balls for the ugly ducklings, but not being able to rely on your looks forces you to hone other talents. And I hate to break it to you, Pretty, but looks fade. I think a fair argument could be made that people who feel their appearance defines them face a dire fate, as our society tends to equate youth with beauty.

Your daughter could very well become striking with age. Some of the most stunning older women I know were not what you would call cute in their younger days. But honestly, who cares? If she isn’t happy with her appearance, that’s one thing – then I’d tell you to get her the damn nose job, STAT – but if she isn’t complaining, and appears confident and happy, the only person with a problem is you. What are your ultimate dreams for her? If your hope is for her to be a beauty queen, you’ll probably have to mourn the loss of that fantasy. But if your desire is for her to be happy and healthy, to find true and lasting love, and to be successful at something she enjoys – all of those dreams are 100% possible even if she looks like a boiled potato (which I’m quite sure she doesn’t. By the way, bad skin can be temporary, bad noses can add character – Angelica Houston, anyone? – and curves are gorgeous. Perhaps your narrow view of what constitutes attractiveness needs widening.)

You’re not a bad person for feeling a little bummed your daughter wasn’t blessed with effortless beauty. I get that. But to be so myopic that you fail to see that her being “sweet, bright and wonderful” is worth so much more to the world than being another pretty face. You can Photoshop someone’s face, but you can’t Photoshop someone’s soul. So my advice? Start using the “sharpen” tool on your own perception, and revel in all the beauty your daughter does posses, instead of the fair skin and aquiline schnozz she doesn’t.

Yours truly,

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