Love Thy Self For Your Kids
There is no doubt about it, we live in a world that loves to focus on body image. And since we do, how about we change the conversation? Just the other day, I was trying to peacefully use the restroom, but as a mom, you already know that's an oxymoron! My daughter who is soon-to-be 3 was closely examining my leg. Right out the mouth of babes, "Ouch, mommy! What is that?" She then proceeded to point directly to the spider veins on my thighs. Instead of being self deprecating, in the moment, I decided to change the narrative.
I had a split second to think about the words that would soon flow out of my mouth. You see, those veins she so innocently pointed out are something I have been self-conscious about for years. Instead of shooing her away and hiding them from her, I proudly showed them to her and told her, "No baby, those aren't ouchies. Those are little veins in mommy's legs that are just a little bit closer to the surface. You can touch them. See! No ouchies at all."
She gazed a little while longer, gave them a gentle touch and then proceeded to say, "Mommy, they are pretty. I like the blue and purple." Then she moved on to tell me another adorable story.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” –Brené Brown
Mama's, don't be ashamed to embrace your bodies. If we can exhibit self-love, think of the impact it will have on our kids throughout their lives. I know first hand what it’s like to have a nagging voice in your head about being too this, or not enough that.
People love to make comments about little girls appearances, like there is nothing more to them. It happened my entire life, and I now see it daily with my own little girl. When people comment on how pretty she is (and she definitely is), I like to point out that she is also very independent and shines from the inside (most of the time).
My whole life I have been the "tall girl" or the "lanky girl", well the latter part isn't quite so true these days, and I'm totally okay with that! The point is, we tend to define people, especially girls by their body types. By people pointing out the obvious day in and day out, I started to become self-conscious about my height and body type. All my friends, girls and boys alike were typically shorter than I was all through grade school. I started to hunch because I didn't want to stand out. Things started to spiral from there. Middle school was no easier, and that's where I started to pick myself apart. I would barely eat, would exercise everyday and do a minimum of 200 sit-ups a night. In high school I developed a full blown eating disorder. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of that dark hole. It didn't last a lifetime and I'm fortunate that I realized at a young age how I was destroying myself because I wanted to look "picture perfect." Yes, I was in high school during the launch of MySpace and the debut of the 'selfie'. I've had highs and lows since then, but I can proudly say that I love myself just the way I am.
It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant with my daughter did I start to change the way I think about myself. It’s my mission to raise a little girl who loves her mind, body and spirit. It would break my heart if my little girl were to develop an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder. It's important to me that she grows into a strong, kind and secure woman. And it's my job to be that role model. Of course her father also plays a critical role in defining the way she is brought up, and he is wonderful with her. Teaching her lessons I wouldn't think of and being that male figure of guidance. Just as a mother I want to be the female example of exhibiting self-love and offer a kind voice on self-acceptance.
“Make sure your own worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.” –Laird Hamilton
When we exhibit self-love it becomes a part of our children. Teach them to love every inch of their being and lead by example.
YOU are beautiful! To the mamas who created life, there is nothing more magnificent than that. Embrace the changes your body has made after giving birth. Stretch marks, weight gain, saggy boobs and every other way our bodies change are reasons to celebrate. Even if you haven't given birth, tell yourself you're beautiful, because you are. Be kind with the way you speak to yourself, even if it’s just thoughts in your own head.
As always. With love ❤️