role model body image daughter

As a mother, of a daughter in particular, I refuse to be negative or critical about my body.  I realize that I am her model, and her muse, and the one who will carve out how she see’s women, and herself.  It has occurred to me that she will see as I portray.  She will judge as I present.  She will love as I accept.  It’s an interesting thing, being a woman.  Your body is so insanely powerful, and yet collectively many of us struggle with this force.  We doubt.  We criticize.  We hate.  Ourselves.  Our bodies.  We seek ways to improve, to be beach ready, to drop the last 10, but we rarely just appreciate the beauty of what it is. There is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

I have made a very, very conscious decision as a woman (mother) to not ever cast judgement about my body in front of my daughter.  I don’t follow a specific diet, or refuse to eat certain foods.  I don’t talk about diet.  I love desert as much as a huge bowl of pasta.  I don’t talk about calories, or carbs, or saturated fat.  I buy the food for the home, so I know what’s in it all.  I cook all of the food in the home, so I know how it’s prepared.  And we eat healthy, but not obsessively.  Because there is an enormous difference between the two in my opinion.   And I model (I hope) a joy of both cooking and eating.  We ‘take a shot’ on different sports and activities, and get busy outside, and indoors.  We are always moving, but not counting calories, or timing our efforts.  It’s not planned, it’s just play.

I don’t talk about clothing sizes.  I refer to whether things feel good and fit right, rather than commenting on how much smaller things can be.  I choose colour and pattern first, and could give a shit about the size of a piece of fabric.  What I wore a decade, or two, ago, has absolutely no relevance to me at this point in my life.  I don’t use what I wore as a beacon of hope, or a destination I want to reaffirm, or a goal that I need to achieve when I’m of a certain age.

My body made babies.  I did not breast feed my children, because I opted to formula feed.  But still my breasts are nowhere near as perky and high as they used to be and that’s totally cool, because now I wear bras that feel enormously comfortable, and allow me to breath properly.  I have the physical remnants of pregnancy left on my belly, like a magnificently exotic and one-of-a-kind tatoo meant, most certainly, for only me.  It’s my badge, my sign that says to the world (when I wear a bikini) that yes, I’m a mom.  It doesn’t say that I didn’t work out hard enough, or use enough tummy tightening cream, or loose the baby fat fast enough.  It says my body was a vessel, and the noise that plagued me before when I believed that my body couldn’t do enough is covered up and muted by what my body can successfully do now.  Which is just be.  Which just feels so incredibly sexy and powerful now.

I don’t strive for a perfect body, with really toned upper arms and a flat tummy, like the one I had when I was 20-something.  I lived in reach of perfection for years, bobbing up and down gasping for breath, and for clarity, and for an unrelenting need to be prettier, and thinner, and better.  And it was all for not.  It was an uphill battle that saw me sliding down more times than I could confidently step up.  It was cloudy, and muddy, and heavy to wade through.  It was lonely, and sad, and challenging, full of self-doubt and hate.  And why?  Because I wrongfully believed that I was what you saw.  I couldn’t be perfect, and I couldn’t see it.  So there was the struggle.   When I was 27 I realized that what I am is what I see.  And it’s good.  And it’s kind, and intelligent, and beautiful, and its a size whatever.

I went on a date with a man when I was 27 who was academic, intelligent, successful, driven, handsome, kind, trustworthy, dedicated, and loyal.  It occurred to me on the second date that I must have been these things too, since in life we attract what we are, and what we portray.  Three years later I married him.  It’s not that a man made me feel this.  It’s that only this man taught me that I was those things, too.

It’s hard to cast judgement about yourself when you see your children.  Your silly little grin.  Your wiggly little toes.  Your hard-working brain.  Your height.  Your weight.  Your tastes, and preferences, and choices.  How can you criticize yourself and be so hard when you can see you in your children?  I was determined not to let my children, but my daughter in particular, feel anything but absolute joy and peace with herself.  What she likes to wear, she wears.  What she likes to eat, she eats.  What she likes to do, she does.  No judgement.  Just love.

If I’m walking and I ain’t preaching, then what’s the point of walking at all?

Enjoy Your Moments with The Ones who Make Your Memories.

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