“Does this make me look fat?”
“Do these pants make my hips look wide?”
“It’s time for another Slim Fast!”
These were common comments and questions I heard as a kid from my mom.
There was rarely a time in my childhood where there wasn’t a canister of Slim Fast (it wasn’t always used, but the canister was always there). There was rarely a time when I remember my mom not wanting to lose weight or get started with exercise.
Time and time again, I can remember her asking for my opinion on what she should wear.
Even after several, “Mom, you look great!” she would respond back with a, “Are you sure? You would tell me if I looked fat… right?”
I’m not blaming my mom specifically for me having to battle with my own body image as a teenager and adult. I am not blaming my mom specifically for my poor criticisms on my own naked body. I am not blaming my mom specifically for feeling the need as a young 20 year old, to stand on a scale to determine my own beauty and worth for that day.
I am blaming lots of moms. My mom wasn’t the only one making a deal with the scale each day. I saw my mom do it, and my friends saw their moms doing it too. It was what that generation was taught.
It was my mother’s generation (and perhaps yours too) that felt that diet craze and the model influence first and I might boldly say, the most.
This whole “dieting” thing is still quite a new fad if you look back over history. Our grandmothers didn’t jump on a scale first thing in the morning (well, after going to the bathroom and stripping down so to ensure that there is absolutely NO extra weight).
We watched as our mothers looked at the scale as if it were a fortune teller. “Today you’re down 1 pound, it’s going to be a great day!” or “Today you’re up 2 pounds, better lay off the cookies in the break room.”
We watched silently as they became obsessed, we took it in, learned their tricks, and of course learned to accept this obsession as part of being a woman.
Kids are like sponges, and boy did I soak that shit up.
Future Moms Of America
If that’s not a club already, it should be! What a great blog name. But moving on…
My adorable niece
As a women approaching the time in her life when kids are on the horizon (no, we’re not trying yet)… I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting. A lot about what kind of mom I want to be, and what kind of mom I will be.
My mom did a wonderful job and there are so many things about her that I can only hope I’ll be able to do as well. But in the department of body image, there are a few parenting changes I would like to make.
But I can’t do it alone, like I said it’s not about changing what my mom did, it’s about all women changing and making an effort to instill different lessons into the brains of their daughters.
You’re right, I don’t have kids so what do I know? I know I want a daughter that is strong, confident and never questions her worth. A daughter that doesn’t look to the scale the help determine that worth.
8 Habits I Will Stop When I’m A Mother To A Daughter
I have had all of these habits at some point in my life. Many of them I have stopped, some of them I still struggle with. But all of them are things I do not want my future children dealing with.
No Scale In The House.
This is pretty self explanatory and actually I got rid of my home scale about a year ago. I do have a scale at the studio, but I weigh myself probably once every 2 months. I do not want my (hopefully) future daughter to think that the piece of machinery has any power of her beauty.
No “Diet” Food
I made this promise to myself a few years ago… diet food would not find it’s way into my pantry ever again. Instead of food with false promises, I have a personal promise to myself, my husband and our future kids to live off of real food.
Fast Food Doesn’t Have To Be “Fast Food”
When I was a kid, normal dinners included boxes of mac-n-cheese; Hamburger Helper, Shake-N-Bake, and yes, fast food. They were fast and convenient for a working mom. I don’t blame her, I just want to teach my kids that you can still have amazing food that isn’t from a box.
Good food doesn’t mean take forever to prepare food. Ya know?
Exercise Isn’t For Burning Calories
I want to be a momalete one of these days. I want my daughter to live a fit and health life not because it helps to burn calories but because it’s good for her body, it makes her feel good and it helps enrich other areas of her life. It’s not just about looking good on Spring Break or on your wedding day.
No Fatty Trash Talk
This is perhaps the hardest habit of all to give up. There are times now I complain about my body, I point out trouble zones, and ask Dan if this or that makes me look fat. And it needs to stop. Negative talk is contagious and each time I beat myself up over my body is an opportunity for someone else to do the same.
No Calorie Counting
I started calorie counting in college to drop weight. It worked of course, but it also gave me a way to micro manage my diet. I was losing weight with 1000 calories a day, how much would I lose if 800 a day? What about just 500?
This goes back to real food, I want to educate my kids on nutrition. Teach them what makes a food good, and it’s not how many calories are in it.
And yes, this is something I am still working on!
Working Out Isn’t Work
Okay, I guess for me, technically it is. But not really. I don’t want the girls to think I run for the sole purpose of working out. I run, I lift, I do boot camps because it’s fun. My body craves it. Exercise isn’t work, it’s an adult’s form of recess!
Food Shouldn’t Carry Guilt
Again this goes back to educating my future daughter about nutrition. Everything is okay, in moderation. When I was a kid I wasn’t taught portion control, heck I could eat an entire box of Little Debbies in a day! So as an adult it was a challenge to learn, and of course guilt follows after you down an entire box of cookies or a big old slice of cake.
I want my kids to know all food is okay, in moderation! There is nothing that is really off limits and you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating.
Food and emotions… that’s a whole other blog post.
This post is not about criticizing anyone’s parenting skills. These are simply reflections about my own life and what I want to pass on to my future kids. We only get one chance to raise our kids to be the best they can be. And I think that no matter how wonderful our own parents were (are), we have a desire to be better.
I would love your thoughts and opinions!