Monday, May 5, 2014

Because she needs to hear it from me, more than anyone

I told my daughter the other day that I love my body. And it was not a lie, actually. I'm not saying my belly and I don't have our bad days together, or that I never shoot my thighs the stink-eye, or that I don't cringe when I see photos of myself, or that I have some weird, reverse-dysmorphia where I see rock-hard abs and defined biceps where my far more typical lady-softness is.

I'm saying that, in general, I love this body, I make no apologies for it, and my kids need to know that.

My daughter needs to know how cool I think it is that my thirty-three-year-old ass can do gymnastics. My son needs to know that my body is mine (and his is his, and everyone's is his or her own) and respect that. My daughter needs to know that fashion and "beauty" magazines are ridiculous and stupid (which is why I regularly show her things like THIS and we laugh together) and that mama does not compare herself to the photographs inside them. My son needs to know that a woman (or a man; who knows?) does not owe it to him to be skinny, or even just thin.

That blurry, purple and grey, flying thing is ME.

My kids need to know that mama is proud of this one body, the only one she will ever have, and that she values its awesomeness enough to respect it and try to make it last as long as possible.

So we were in the car and I can't even remember how the conversation came up, but I said, in so many words, "I really love my body." Because how many among us ever heard our mothers actually say those words?

And then I explained why I love it, and how important it is to me to give it respect and thanks for the awesome stuff it does for me. And I mentioned that it irritates me how the media uses computers to make changes to women's bodies in magazines or on tv, and how indignant I feel when I hear talk of how women are supposed to look because genetics aren't one-size-fits-all and that's just science, people. And she was really, really listening.

And I really, really hope it meant something to her, because I'm going to say it again, and again, and again.

One of these days, something will make her doubt the value of her own body. A model in a magazine, or an off-handed comment, or a tv show, or a super-fit friend or acquaintance, or a scale with all its stupid numbers. Something will put a chink in her body confidence armor.

And I want her to be armed and ready to shut that shit down.


  1. Great job capitalizing on an opportunity to build your child up for the rest of the world who will try to take her down. This is the job of a parent and its our responsibility! Too many women are still playing high school games with their own children. It makes me sick. Its not enough to love these little ones we create. We have to take responsibility for who they are as adults by taking opportunities like this to teach our children emotional maturity.

  2. Thanks, Theresa! I totally agree with you. It can be so hard to do, because we've been subjected to the same pressures they have and for far longer, but I feel like I have to try.

  3. Wow. This was so powerful. We so often forget how important it is to tell ourselves that we're beautiful. I wonder how greatly the world would improve if every mother told herself and her daughter that they were beautiful. Bravo, miss lady!