We spend so much time as a Parent Culture blaming others for the problems our children are going to face, most commonly we blame the media. I mean look at all those skinny girls the airbrushing to make them more attractive, look at the boobs, the workouts, all the things we do as people to try to make ourselves into those people. The media is only partially at fault, only to the point that we as adults are reacting to it and our children see us and learn from our reactions.
I am not saying that if you want to lose weight you shouldn't, have at it, but don't hate your current body while pining for the new one. Our kids should see us loving ourselves regardless of our flaws even while we strive to improve ourselves. We need to accept the parts of us we can't change and learn to love them. How will our children learn to love themselves if we their Moms, and let's face it Dad's are guilty too, can't love ourselves?
I recently followed a discussion about relationships that some friends had on Facebook, we discussed relationships with our spouses, we talked about our children and arguments with our spouses. I think we all agree that it's good for our children to see that Mom and Dad don't always agree, but always come to an agreement. They learn healthy compromising skills, and conflict resolutions, and most importantly they learn how a healthy relationship dynamic works. The also need to learn these things in regards to how to view their bodies.
If our children only see us lamenting our problem area's how will they know we also have parts of our bodies we love. Sure I'm not a fan of my thunder thighs but below that, I have some pretty awesome calves. I really love my lips and I've got a pretty awesome rack. My daughters see me frown at my jiggly belly, they see me stuff my fat ass into some shapewear and they ask me why. Before I tell you what I said I want to to put yourself there and think about what you would say.
Now think about how a kid hears that. This is what I wanted to say "Because I'm fat." I almost said it. And then I looked at my girls, and I realized they don't see my fat. So I said "I don't like the way my belly jiggles. I'm working on making that change but I wear this special underwear to make it stop until then." A few days later my 4 year old hugged me and jiggled my belly. "Mom, it's okay with me if you belly jiggles. I think you should keep it, it's fun." This was months ago, my belly still jiggles, my 4 year old still tells me it's ok.
We have spent so much time putting these things into black and while boxes. You're smart, or you're pretty. You're fat, or you're skinny. We don't stop and think about the grey area's we don't learn to play to our strengths, we're pushed in directions towards these boxes. It's our job to teach our children to dig in their heels and refuse to get into the box.
On one side we have the Smart box yelling at us. "Look at that pretty girl," the smart box says. "Look at the boys fawning all over her," it sneers. "She so dumb." The smart box doesn't know anything about the Pretty girl, the smart box thinks girls are either smart, or pretty and there is no grey area.
The Pretty Box doesn't know the smart box exists. It has a siren call of make up, and boy bands, it waves a pair of sparkle shoes you'll never afford at you and has a picture of that guy you like taped to the front. The pretty box doesn't talk, it's just pretty.
The thing about the skinny box and the fat box is they are so much worse then the smart vs pretty boxes. Because there is a fat box and a skinny box inside both of those boxes. Both of those boxes are constant war, both saying that only real women reside in their boxes, but that is a separate rant from this one.
I'm writing this because I read an article that really irritated me today so I want all my favorite Mama's [especially the Mama's to girls but this is open to everyone] to do me a big favor. Today I want to to think about yourself [not your life just YOU], think of how you see yourself, really think about it. Do you put make-up on? Why do you do it? Think about your gut response to that question, now imagine you're 3 year old asked you what would your response be. Do you think it's better to be smart or pretty, gut response. Really think about how you see yourself. Please do this because WE are the number one model for how our children are going to see themselves. Think about your child thinking that way about themselves. If you are happy with yourself A+ You get a gold star and you can move on with your day.
If you are not, if you're child thinking about him or her self the way you think of yourself start changing. Heck start out pretending you're the person you want to be, if you maybe are to critical of your physical self whenever you think "god my thighs are fat" automatically correct yourself. "No they're not, they're my thighs, I own them, I live with them and I love them." After time you will believe it or you will change it.
Our sons learn about women from us, they learn how to treat women from how we let ourselves be treated, and how we treat ourselves. Our daughters learn how to be women from us. We talk about removing the media from our children and reprogramming them when in reality we need to reprogram how we respond to media because they learn how to respond from us, not from the media.