Over the last seventeen years there have been numerous things I wish I had said to my mother before she passed away. The two most prominent regrets are not saying “I love you” enough (like most people) and never saying “thank you”. Sadly, I never even realized how much I had to thank her for until I had a daughter of my own four years ago. Since I can’t tell her now, I’ll be sure to remind myself of how thankful I am by passing on her ability to love anyone onto my daughter. Mom, it couldn’t have been easy…

Once I became a mother myself, I saw firsthand how important it is to be a role model, 24 hours a day no matter how hard life tries to get in the way. Being a mom means constantly having someone watch you, learn from you and eventually grow to be just like you. Of course no one is perfect and we have occasional slip-ups, but the most important lesson you can teach your child is that you are strong enough and smart enough to get back on your feet and keep pushing forward. This rule applies to so many things in life, from the way you handle stress to the way you take care of your body. Whether you lose your patience and yell at a noisy neighbor or make poor breakfast choices because you’re in a rush to get to work. Your children are watching and recording your actions. Instead of letting them think your actions were acceptable, make it a point to make better choices next time and take time to explain why you might have made the poor decision and why it was important to change it.

Nicole and Angelina

Personally, I try to be a good role model to my daughter by treating everyone fairly, even when at times I feel as though they don’t deserve it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pushover but I do have a higher tolerance when she is watching. Also, if someone treats her poorly, I make sure to explain to her why that person behaves that way, how it made her feel and why we should never want to make someone else feel that way. So in essence, these rude or just plain old mean people, actually teach her a lesson.

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When it comes to health, I also have to curb my usually poor eating habits around my daughter. I have been overweight all my life but I make it a point to eat healthier, be active and keep a positive body image when she is paying attention. Some simple, healthy choices you can make with your kids include, walking to local stores instead of driving, drinking milk with lunch instead of soda or sugary juices, preparing a salad before dinner instead of garlic bread or other wasted carbohydrates. Also be aware what type of body image you are exuding around your children. I might say “I feel so fat” a million times a day to my friends, but not once in four years has my daughter heard me say it. I don’t think I avoid saying it because I think the word “fat” is horrible or mean, but I avoid it because when I am thinking that way, my mood is generally down, I feel weak and insecure and THAT is what I don’t want to expose her to.

I think that if you look at the big picture, almost every positive action you take whether it’s eating right or  treating other people nicely, it all stems back to loving yourself. And that’s pretty much what being a role model is about, loving and respecting yourself so much that others will just want to follow suit.

To show your mom how much you appreciate the influence she’s made in your life, send her an eCard from the Got Milk? Milk Mustache Campaign.

For healthy recipe ideas and an inspirational and touching video about moms (featuring some of your favorite bloggers) we encourage you to join the Got Milk? community by liking the Milk Mustache Campaign Facebook Page and click on the “Role Modeling” tab to learn more.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Milk Mustache got milk? Campaign and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.