For those of you who have never seen me I am a petite (aka short) mom of two. I am most definitely not one of those super buff super thin women, but you would also not look at me and say she needs to lose a few (I think). Like many women my age, I have struggled with body image issues since having kids. Intellectually I know that I am a woman, and should be proud of my woman’s figure. My husband lovingly refers to my stretch marks as “experience”, and would much rather me spend the money on a therapist than actually go through with the tummy tuck I have been talking about for two years. I often wish emotionally I agreed with my intellectual self. However, I continue to watch tv, read magazines, surf ALL those crazy celebrity websites, and dream of what I once looked like. *Sigh*
When I think about talking to my younger self I don’t want to give her words of wisdom like be true to yourself or travel more, but rather to tell her to eat everything in site. Listen young self “you will not have that speedy metabolism forever, eat every french fry and thin mint you can, you will not regret it. Trust me. ”
But this blog is not about me. It is about a book titled The Heavy in which a mom – Dara-Lyn Weiss has put her seven year daughter old on a diet. Aggghh. Stop the presses. I have a seven year old. A seven year old who ordered salad with grilled chicken for dinner last night. WHAT ARE WE TEACHING OUR DAUGHTERS?
Weiss openly admits to humiliating her daughter and using a lack of food as a punishment. The story has a happy ending though. Her daughter is now a svelte seven and at a healthy weight. Are these the messages that we want to teach our kids? Our daughters? While I was horrified reading about this particular mommy-daughter dance, I can’t help but think the mom is battling a no win situation. If in fact her child did fall into the childhood obesity category, she as a mother was likely battling the silent judgments we are all guilty of. Is childhood obesity the fault of the parents? What about the responsibility? This mom took those judgments to heart and jumped into action.
Maybe (hopefully) I would have chosen different words, or used different strategies, but she did what she needed to do to get her child into a healthy weight range. Are we so critical of ourselves, and hold our own judgments so tightly that we cannot look at the issues of body image and childhood obesity with more critical eyes? How can we support each other, to create healthier WOMEN with bodies and self images to match. We need to come to terms with our own inner critics. We refer to our daughters (and sons) as smart and inquisitive, not beautiful and cute.
So please the next time you see me out with my sassy seven year old, please compliment her on one of her accomplishments rather on her big green eyes. You will be doing us all a favor.
Xo mom on the run