Now that Christmas and New Years is behind me, I walked into my bathroom with the clear intention to step on the scale. I pulled that devil scale out its lair with dread, and tentatively stared at it for a bit telling myself that it really didn’t matter what number I saw, it was time to get back to work.
I stepped on it, and looked away. Well this is stupid, I have to see the number. And there it was, a number I hadn’t seen in years since I’ve reached my goal weight…160 pounds. I felt a little panicky, how did I manage to gain 10 pounds in just one Christmas season?
I walked downstairs to make a coffee, inwardly fighting the positive with the negative. I have a goal now, no big deal…but, I can’t fit my jeans! I need to get to work NOW. My daughter’s little voice interrupted my inward banter. She sat at the counter colouring a picture of a Disney princess and without missing a beat of colouring she asked. “What’s wrong Mom?” I replied flippantly ”I can’t fit my jeans, I ate too much chocolate over Christmas!”
Now, I’m going to share the next part of the story with hesitation, because I feel a lot of guilt over it. It’s that crippling Mom guilt and it’s replayed over and over in my mind ever since.
My sweet little girl looked up at me and with sadness in her eyes she said “When I was in Kindergarten, A girl told me I was fat. Do you exercise so you won’t get fat?” I just stood there stunned. I didn’t realize that my own thoughts about my body image would be transferred to my daughter in that moment and that she equated exercising with the need to not be “fat”.
And that began our conversation about foods that give you energy and vitamins, staying active to be healthy and to have energy, and that she is most definitely perfect just as she is. I told her that I too was told I was “fat” in school, and she giggled at me and said “but you’re not fat, you are thin!” Those words broke my heart, because if I can’t accept my body, how am I going to expect my daughter to accept hers?! We are going to throw out the word
“fat” within our household, it’s officially the F-Word.
I share this story with you today, because I know that like me, there are many Moms out there who struggle with raising their children to have a healthy self-esteem. I believe it’s THE hardest part of the Mom gig…both in raising sons and daughters. With healthy self-esteem, comes self-respect and healthy decisions. A strong self-esteem will aid in preventing my kids from making decisions where they put themselves at risk…because they will value themselves far too much to be dragged down. In some ways I’m thankful I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem growing up, because it’s now a huge priority in how I raise my children. I believe I understand those issues a little better given my past. But there is no way, I will accept that for my own children.
I need to find a healthy balance, because I also want to raise my children to take care of their bodies. To be active (which in their world means playing and running outside), and to eat healthy foods. To equate all of that with taking care of their bodies, rather than relating it to aesthetics.
So these are my thoughts today, and I don’t have all the answers, but I am analyzing what I’ve done wrong, and the things I’ve done right. I am holding myself accountable, because like it or not, my kids are watching me. They are learning from me.
Active fun is on the menu for Winter.
To all you Moms out there: If we want to raise healthy, balanced children with self-respect…we better work on that within ourselves. If you are reading this post riddled with Mom guilt, and you have insights on this topic (or if you share in my struggle), I would love to hear from you! Drop me a comment.
From my heart to yours,