Raising Boys To Value Women Starts With Us

Date: February 16, 2015

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Valerie Boucher

As a mother of three boys I never really felt that concerned about the campaigns where the focus was on how to raise young girls and empower them with self esteem, how it is important to change the message that the fashion industry sends and how we need to start changing our own behaviors as mothers to set an example.

But then one day we were looking at a movie and one of my boys said that this actress was fat. As I looked at the screen I could not believe my eyes. This character was far from being fat. In fact, she was a very beautiful lady who in my eyes was just glowing.

That was a wakeup call for me. That is when I realised that being the mother of three boys I had a responsibility as well. To teach them what is real beauty. What a real woman looks like.

As they grow into young men, I decided that since they will be the ones looking at their wives in the future I need to make them see what I believe beauty is. And it needs to start at home, with me, how I was seeing myself.

If a woman feels beautiful, she glows, and it shows in every aspect of her life.

Being their mother, we are the first woman that our boys see naked. We are the first woman that they look up to. And if we don’t see ourselves as beautiful individuals, then how can we expect them to see us any differently. If we let the media, the fashion industry with their standards and the magazines everywhere influence our young men on what a woman should look like, then we are missing half of the problem. We may do all the campaigns in the world about empowering women with our real beauty; if we forget our boys then the battle will be so much harder to win!

This past summer I decided that I was going to wear a bikini at the beach with my kids for the first time in years. I avoided going swimming because I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. That was then.

I went to a bathing suit store, tried many of them, finally found one that I felt was fit for my body type and we went to the beach. When I heard my boys telling me how beautiful I looked I almost cried. Because I realised right then, that everything starts within you.

The scars of my pregnancies did not matter anymore. Because I had achieved one thing. To teach my boys that even though I did not look like the magazine covers, I was a beautiful woman. And we went to the beach every single day that we could.

And I began to talk to them in a way to make them see that the messages the media was sending were wrong. I showed them over and over the pictures of me pregnant, and I even let them see the scars on my belly as they called it their little house!

Focusing on the little girls to raise them as future powerful and confident woman is vital and necessary. But teaching our boys on how real women look, so that in the future, when they put their eyes on their wives they will make them feel beautiful too, is also important.

We as women, mothers, sisters and friends have a responsibility, and it’s to make the world see us as beautiful as we are.

Valerie Boucher: As a mother of 3 boys that are  all  into sports, hockey and soccer  i am surrounded by men. I feel it is my responsibility to help change the world and it starts at home.


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Following The Whispers Of My Heart Saved My Life

Date: November 30, 2014

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Olga Dossa

The day I looked at my daughter for the first time was the day I saw the face of God. I had never experienced such love and such fear at the same time.

My life long desire to become a mother came true. In that moment, I knew that I did not want to go back to my high paying corporate job. And yet - I did. When my daughter was four months old, with my heart torn in two, I went back to work. There was no choice. There was a mortgage to pay; a lifestyle that had been created and I had to suck it up.

Very soon after, I was on Prozac, dealing with postnatal depression. My soul’s desire and my physical reality were vastly different and my body was paying the price. To add to the mix, my own mother suddenly died. I had no choice but to stop and look at my life.

I was looking at my new baby girl, dreaming about what kind of life she was going to have. At the same time, I was reflecting on the life my mother had lived and what lessons I could learn from her. There I stood as the reluctant new matriarch of my family, totally unprepared for my role.

When we stand at the edge of life and death – we realise that we cannot run away anymore.

I realised that my own mother had lived her life for everyone else. She had sacrificed so much for her family. She had lived for her children and even though she had dreams of her own, she did not fulfil them. She worked as a schoolteacher, even though she wanted to be a lawyer. She felt that her small salary was more important than listening to the whispers of her heart and following her dreams. As much as we told her to quit, she did not. The stress of her job ended up cutting her life short at the age of 50. She literally died for us.

I looked at myself and I realised that I was doing the same thing. I was working in a job to pay for a life that I thought my daughter needed and I was ignoring the whispers in my heart. I was a perfectionist and I was depressed. I would die for my daughter, so deep was my love.

I realised that if I did not change my ways, my daughter was going to become a depressed perfectionist, living a life that was not hers. She was going to live a life that she thought everyone else wanted for her. It was the realisation I needed to turn things around. It was the moment I took control of my own life. I realised that the only way my daughter was going to grow up and feel peace in her heart was if I was to do it myself. I realised that it did not matter what I told her, how well I educated her or what I dreamed for her. She was going to become me - just as I had become my own mother.

And I had such big dreams for my daughter. I dreamed for her to be happy, to feel at peace within her body, to have love in her life and to feel like the contribution that she was making to the world, mattered.

Yes - these were all my unrealised dreams. I wished all of these things for myself.  I could not create any of them for her, but I could create them for me! So, I claimed my desires. I decided that I was going to create this happy, peaceful, abundant life. Hopefully it would be enough of an example for my daughter to choose a life that inspired her. What started out as a quest to be the best example to her, ended up being the transformation that saved my own life.

It brought me home to my babies, it brought me to yoga, it brought me to a new life calling and it brought me to sharing my story with you today.

Every day, I choose what kind of life I want to create. I know that my children are becoming who they are - by watching me. And it takes me to the deepest, scariest parts of myself. It is the best ride I have ever been on. This ride has uncovered so many jewels, that I would not have discovered had I not had the courage to take that first step.

Living a radiant life is my biggest responsibility and it is so worth it!

Olga Dossa is a yogini, mama and the founder of Peaceful Mothering with Olga Dossa. She is committed to supporting mothers to step into their radiance by loving themselves first and claiming their desires. Through her journey with postnatal depression, she learned that she couldn’t give her best from an empty cup. She left her high paying corporate career to pursue a life that would bring her peace and inspire her daughter to live her own greatest life. Her great love for her daughter took her on the path of yoga, ayurveda and self-love. Olga believes that when mothers love themselves first, their children will thrive.

You can find her on her website, on Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest and Twitter.

Image:Dimitris Papazimouris. Find at Flickr.