I REALLY don’t want anyone to walk away from this article shaming themselves if they have said any of these things before. We are human, and just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you are made of titanium and don’t feel the same societal pressures to look a certain way. This was only meant to serve as a reminder to be mindful of what you say around your kids (or future kids) and also a good reminder to love yo’ selves!
According to a number of research articles, young girls who think their moms are unhappy with their bodies are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own.*
Ladies, do you remember how you viewed your mother as a child? She was basically Mother Theresa, BUT BETTER.
Children only know UNCONDITIONAL love for their moms. They are saints. They are beautiful angels sent from the heavens, give the BEST hugs on the planet, and make the BEST food on the planet. No exceptions.
So, you can imagine how a young girl feels when she sees or hears her mother degrading herself.
(These comments don’t necessarily need to be as direct as “Ugh I am so fat,” by the way.)
Some less obvious examples are:
- “I don’t want to go to the pool, I’m just not ready to wear a bathing suit yet.”
- “Thank goodness for makeup, I wouldn’t leave my house otherwise!”
- “I feel so frumpy today.”
- “I’m not going to my high school reunion unless I’m three sizes smaller than I am now.”
When your daughter hears these things coming from Mother Theresa herself, she is most likely going to think,
“Well, great. If my MOM thinks she isn’t good enough, then there is NO WAY I can ever measure up!”
So what am I supposed to do? What if I’m genuinely not happy with myself? I just have to fake it?
Wellllllll, to a certain extent, yes. However, this only applies in the context of the mother-daughter relationship. Who CAN you gripe about this stuff to?
It’s your best friend’s job to say “No you don’t, you look amazing!” when you say you look terrible in a bathing suit.
If you say this to your daughter, it is now HER responsibility to take care of you. This makes it HER job to reassure you that you look amazing. Not fair for a five year old, ten year old, or even fifteen year old!
Good news: It works both ways!
This can in turn help YOU. Your daughter isn’t the only one internalizing those negative body messages. You are there too!
Imagine if, for 30 days, you looked in the mirror and said “I hate myself.” How do you think you would feel after the 30 days? Probs not ready to rock a runway any time soon.
Now, imagine 30 days where you said a realistic, positive body statement to yourself such as “I love my body because I was able to make beautiful babies” or “I have strong, thick legs which help me stay active” or even “I love that I am unique, and that makes me beautiful.”
The key here is to say a statement that you can IMAGINE believing, even if its 5% of you right now.
Don’t repeat something ridiculous that no part of you believes [ yet 😉 ] like “I AM A SUPERMODEL I BELONG IN VOGUE MAGAZINE AND I AM HAPPY WITH EVERY CENTIMETER OF MY BODY” if this is not reality.
The goal here is to love WHO YOU ARE, if you reinforce an idea that is not reality, it defeats the purpose.
Alright I heard what I shouldn’t do, what are some things I CAN do?
- Instead of talking about dieting, talk about the need for a healthy lifestyle, so you can grow to be strong and smart and healthy.
- Take the scale out of your home.
- When you feel beautiful, SAY IT! Out loud! Model how to love yourself to your little one.
- Emphasize the importance of FEELING beautiful, not looking beautiful.
A person’s body image does not start with themselves, it starts with the people around them. Help them have a solid, healthy start. This way, they already have an armor of protection when they start seeing things in the media or kids start saying nasty things on the playground.
*This was found in an article originally reported by Common Sense Media.