There was a run of stories on the blog-o-sphere last year about how to talk to young girls about their bodies, what with Kate Middleton reminding the entire world that a woman still looks pregnant two days after giving birth. Scores of Mommy bloggers posted feature stories about personal body image traumas they have overcome and the lessons they would share with their little girls. I got to thinking, how do I want to talk to Maya and Ella about their bodies? One place I looked was how does Mommy talk about her body? I realized that I am already laying a foundation for this issue now, so what does it look like?
Not so good.
Maya wanted to sit with me on my outdoor chair during Camping Weekend. I told her she can’t sit with me because “Mommy is too fat”. It just came out, this self-deprecating way of reminding myself to lose some weight. I said it more for me than for her. I say this often to myself: while I get ready for work, while I am getting into the shower, pretty much every time I pass a mirror.
Upon reflection, I berated myself later for speaking to her this way about MY body. I told myself, As a Mom, I need to change the way I talk about myself. But the truth is, I have to change the way I talk about myself for me first; using your kids as an excuse to change sets a precedent for using your kids as an excuse for failure.
So here I am changing the way I talk about my body. It goes something like this …
Mommy loves her body, kiddos. Mommy’s body has gone through a lot, and it’s still ticking. Pretty impressive, huh?
Mommy has tons of scars on her knees because she fell down while playing outside. It happens; you will get them too.
Mommy has birth marks on her arm and leg. The one on my leg is special because Aunty Nadia has a similar birth mark on her leg too. Our birth marks connect us. Isn’t that fun?
Mommy also has a tattoo. I chose to do that to my body years ago. Yes it hurt, but it remains special to me. I hope to get another tattoo; maybe you can go with me when I get it.
Mommy had to have stitches on her foot when she scraped it underneath a piece of wood. That hurt a lot. But Mommy is okay.
Mommy’s belly has lots of ripples in it because Mommy got very big carrying you two little munchkins for 9 months! That’s a long time. My belly button still makes the same sound yours does, though, so don’t worry. Mommy is okay.
Mommy’s butt may have taken up a lot of room on that outdoor chair, but that will never again mean that you cannot sit next to me. I’m sorry about that, Maya. There will always be room for you next to Mommy.