I gave birth to my third baby less than a year ago. I’m not where I’d like to be weight-wise. It’s never taken me this long to shed the extra baby pounds, but I’m on the struggle bus this time around.
Normally it would consume me and I would talk about it to anyone that would listen, but something is different now. I have a three-year-old daughter, and she hears everything I say. I never want her to hear the way I can sometimes berate my body. I don’t like that I do it, but it just comes so naturally for me. I’ve never noticed how saturated our world is when it comes to appearances for women, especially this time of year: swim suit season is on its way.
Bathing suits flood the aisles of Target, and I dread walking by them. I think horribly mean things to myself about my body, but I never say them out loud.
I don’t love my body but that won’t keep me from trying to teach my daughter to love hers. I don’t love my body but I do love what it’s been able to do.
From an early age, girls are taught to care about the way they look and dress. I want to shield my daughter the best I can from these toxic messages.
My daughter is strong and independent. She is outgoing and a spitfire. However, most of all she is confident and so sure of herself. I never want her to let go of that. I don’t want this world to take that from her. She dresses herself completely. I rarely choose her outfits for her (mostly because she won’t let me even if I tried). More times than not she is sporting an Elsa gown or her favorite leggings with her favorite shirt that (by my standards) do not match. Princess shoes usually complete the outfit and she feels good about the way she looks and the outfit she has chosen.
Sure, we get looks in the store or family members commenting on the fact that I let her wear “that” into public. But I will not only let her dress the way she wants, I will encourage it because she feels confident and empowered. I don’t want to diminish her confidence and her self-love. The world is going to get plenty of opportunities to do that. There are going to be so many things that are going to attempt to tear her down.
I will not be one of those things.
When I was young I remember the role models I had and the women that I looked up to cared very much about the way they looked. I asked as early as 6th grade if I looked fat in what I had on. Often times I was given suggestions on different things I could wear or told that I shouldn’t eat certain things. That tears a young girl down quickly. I didn’t look good enough and I didn’t feel good about myself. I still feel that to my core. I’m 30 years old and continually working on fixing that and learning to love myself.
There is more to self-love and self-worth than the way you appear on the outside. My daughter will know this. I want her to know that it’s awesome to love the way that you look but that isn’t all there is. And it’s definitely not the most important thing about a person.
I struggle daily with these things and I’m learning, but I will do everything in my power to keep her from knowing this struggle.