Dear Daughter. About makeup.

weathervane finished square

Weathervane quilting square

Dear Daughter

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. This is the first of a series of letters that I’m going to write you. They are inspired by the Farmer’s wife sampler quilt. This was a competition where the wives of US farmer wrote letters to the next generation of farmer’s wives. Each letter had an associated quilt square or two. The squares can be put together to make one quilt. (read more here)

I am going to do the same. One letter. One square. Until I’ve made you a quilt. Using the squares from the Farmer’s wife book.

Seeing as we’ve been talking about this today, I’m focusing on the question of makeup for this first letter.

fabric choice

I know that a lot of your friends talk and brag about wearing makeup. Some even wear it to school, pushing the rules to their very limit. Like a lot about starting secondary school, this is all pretty new to you. You are an outdoors, active girl who has always been more interested in climbing mountains than the different shades of eye shadow. You would rather be stargazing than investigating the pros and cons of long-lash mascara. And I love you for it.

Let me start by putting this in perspective from a mother’s point of view. The most usual reasons that children choose to wear makeup is to look or feel older. They want to be like everyone else or they lack confidence in their own looks. They may argue differently, but there is no credible reason for most 11 to 12 year old girls to wear makeup on a daily basis.

fabric triangles

My message to you is :

First up. I want to talk about you. You are beautiful. There is no good arguing with me on this one. You need no artificial improvement. You have a natural beauty which is only improved by your smile. Even a hint of a smile is sufficient. This point is not up for debate.

Secondly: Be yourself and try not to rush through childhood. Enjoy being 11 while you can. It only lasts a year. Make the most of it.

This is the time to be silly and have fun. Start to work out what you like and don’t like. The beginning of the rules that will guide you through the rest of your life. If your friends want to wear foundation to school, then that is their choice, and they should respect your choice too. I have brought you up not to follow your friends like a sheep, but to question what you want to do. Enjoy now. There is time to be 14…..when you are 14.

Next: look after your skin. Avoid clogging your pores with lots of daily makeup. I’ve set you up with a good daily skincare regime. Make it a habit. You are good at drinking lots of water and eating healthily. At this stage you will do yourself more of a favour if you keep your complexion clear. Not spots.

cutting out fabric

Finally: you don’t need makeup to make you confident. If you are true to yourself and can look people straight in the eyes, then you will not need the mask provided by makeup. If you can be kind to yourself and believe in yourself, then you’ll wake up every morning confident and ready to face the day. No eyeliner required.

If and when you are ready to experiment with makeup, then I’m happy to help. We’ll make it fun. Start subtle and go from there.

But not to school. Not at 11 years old.

Believe in yourself.

As always

Your loving mother

letter and quilt square

Thank you for reading. If you want to learn more about this project, click here.


Linking up with Pink Oddy’s Motivational MondayΒ  and FrontierDreams Keep Calm Craft On


18 thoughts on “Dear Daughter. About makeup.

  • Monday 24 March, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    What an absolutely brilliant idea. Very sensible advice to your daughter. She sounds like a wonderfully grounded young lady. I shall follow your letters, for the advice but also for the quilt squares. I am starting a sewing class next week to learn how to quilt. Exciting times!

    • Monday 24 March, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you Louisa. I’m loving this project. Combines two areas of my life that I love. My children and sewing. Not sure why I’ve not done this before. She’s loving her involvement in the project too.

      Your sewing class sounds very exciting. Can’t wait to hear about it. πŸ™‚

  • Tuesday 25 March, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    What a wonderful idea and what a beautiful letter you have written.

    I love your quilt square too πŸ™‚

    • Tuesday 25 March, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Oh thank you! I’m choosing the fabric for the next square already.

  • Thursday 27 March, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    BEAUTIFUL beautiful. What I would want to say to my daughters…especially about the confidence bit. Look at what the world says to girls…mask it…cover it…hide it…It’s so darn hard for girls to grow into women- instead they are pushed into it.
    Wonderful post.

    • Friday 28 March, 2014 at 12:49 am

      I hope that they can all learn that confidence is not dependant on using makeup. I’m not against makeup, just the reliance.

  • Monday 31 March, 2014 at 12:32 am

    awww this is beautiful and something i so relate to, my daughter turned 13 last week and it am freaked out! lol

    • Monday 31 March, 2014 at 10:42 am

      13! It happens too quickly. I am forever honing my parenting skills. πŸ˜€

  • Monday 31 March, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    What a beautiful idea! I must check out the original book…

    In response to this post, I have to say that one of the things I really like about Brussels is that it is totally normal not to wear make up. I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis (in fact I don’t even own any at the moment) and neither does my female boss or female colleagues or my friends. For fancy events, going out or other occasions, we’ll wear it, just like we might put on heels or a slinky dress, but it’s definitely occasion wear. It really strikes me when I come to London how few women there are with their true, honest faces on. It’s like walking into a room where everyone’s wearing face paints – very strange when it’s not normal for you.


    • Tuesday 1 April, 2014 at 9:58 am

      That is really interesting. What a contrast. I find your words “honest face” very telling. I wonder how many business meetings are scuppered by different cultures’ reactions to a painted face. Just read your comment to my daughter. She thinks she’d like to live in Brussels!

      • Tuesday 1 April, 2014 at 7:11 pm

        You’re absolutely right – it’s a cultural thing. Even within Brussels it varies, according to culture (it’s a very international city) and also I think according to personal values. I very much prefer discussions about life, the universe and everything to discussions about fashion. My friends are broadly of the same mind, so it’s probably also the case that as you go through life, you attract the kind of people around you who reflect your own values. Not something you can control in school – or the workplace – but definitely something that will show itself in your choice of best friends, roommates, romantic partners etc through life. (I’m thinking ‘aloud’ here, if you’ll forgive the rambling). If you’re not brave enough to be yourself, perhaps you’ll never find the people who reflect and challenge and inspire you and that would be terribly sad.

        Another thing that occurs to me is that we all have a certain degree of influence on our own environments and the people in it – sometimes more than we realise, I think. I have noticed that in previous jobs, when a new employee always wears make up, it makes other people start wearing it too. The reverse is also true – our newest recruit in my current job wore make up for her first day, but doesn’t any more after one month. By choosing if, when, how to wear make up, your daughter can choose to show her friends an alternative – intimidating but perhaps on some level empowering? Of course I don’t know if that’s what she wants, but I think it’s easy to feel powerless and insignificant in the face of big commercialised trends, when really we can all individually help be the change we want to see. Even if it is just refusing to wear make up.

        It’s a very interesting subject – thanks for getting me started on it. (And this is all making me feel a bit better about my own mini-revolutions against convention… πŸ˜€ )

        • Wednesday 2 April, 2014 at 11:07 am

          Ah so true. To show your true self, will attract other like minded people. Birds of a feather. Its brave in some cases, but we all know from personal experience that it is true. Far easier to do as an adult and as confidence grows. Eldest has little desire to wear makeup at the moment. Fortunately, she is not the only one, but it still leaves her out of some conversations, which never feels good at 11.

          I like your point about influencing those around you. I’m finding it interesting watching from the sidelines as my children influence others. Hopefully this will boost their own confidence in their beliefs.

          Hope your mini revolution is a peaceful one, and is going well. πŸ˜€

  • Wednesday 2 April, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    beautiful block, and an even more beautiful letter!

    • Thursday 3 April, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Melissa! I’m enjoying writing the letters and the challenge of making the blocks.

  • Friday 20 June, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Your quilt and your letters are a beautiful idea. Your daughter is going to treasure them, laugh at them and at some point cry while reading them …And what a fantastic quilt she’ll have by the end.
    Love it!

    • Sunday 22 June, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you. I’ve been sitting on the next one. I mean to continue with it, but I wasn’t sure if I would continue publishing them on the blog. Still thinking.

      • Wednesday 30 July, 2014 at 2:56 pm

        Only just spotted this wonderful, wonderful project of yours. Do please continue to share your letters to your daughter with all of us. It will give you an incentive to continue, should that be needed, and it will give us helpful insights for our own daughters and other loved ones. As I write I see you have three wise and beautiful letters published. So we are waiting for the next square, and the next letter! Of course, it would also make a lovely book.

        • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 6:54 am

          The next square has been languishing. It probably is time to post it. Thank you for your kind words.

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