Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
A few weeks ago, I took a long look at myself in the mirror and said, “Ok SassyGirlTye, you have got to do something about your weight!” I decided right then and there that I was going to stop being lazy and start exercising and adopt an overall healthier lifestyle. The first part of my plan of attack was to begin exercising 5 days a week, for 30 minutes a day. Now, I had been thinking about doing this for a long time, but this time, after seeing myself in the mirror, I knew I had to do something. So, I dusted off my old Insanity Max 30 DVDs, popped it in the DVD player, and started huffing and puffing (and cussing Sean T out in my mind).
After about 5 weeks into this program, I went home to visit my parents. My mother looked at me and said, “It looks like you lost some weight.” I was so happy. Someone could actually see the progress that I had made! I’m sure it showed on my face. Then, my father walked in. He took one look at me and said, “You look like you gained some weight.” That’s all it took. The moment was ruined. I was so hurt because I had been working really hard those last few weeks! When my mother got on him and told him that he can’t tell a woman she’s gained weight, my father proceeded to inform her that I was his daughter and that he could tell me that I gained weight, and on and on and on it went. Finally, I had to tell him that I got it. In fact, he said that I gained weight about 5 times already. I had more than gotten the message.
On my way home, I thought about that exchange and I decided that I would not make my daughter become self-conscience about her weight or her body image. I resolved that my daughter will grow up loving her body, and not feeling as if she has to conform to what the media says her body should be. But I wondered, what messages had I already sent her? My daughter is 5’7’ and is as thin as a rail. Every time I see her flat abs, I get jealous! I tell her that I remember when I used to be skinny like her. Oh, I miss those days. I could eat anything I wanted and never seemed to gain weight. Anyway, I wondered, when I tell her that, what does she hear? Does she hear that she must be skinny? Does she hear that skinny girls are considered pretty? When I tell her that I’m exercising to lose weight, and I dismiss her comment that I look fine the way I am, what does she hear? Does she hear my dissatisfaction with my own body? Does she think that if I’m not happy with my body, she cannot be happy with hers? What is she really learning from me?
I remember when I was my daughter’s age. My mother and aunts used to tell me that once you gained weight, its hard to get it off. They also drilled in me that my clothes size should never be in the double digits. I heard that repeatedly. I don’t think they realized what an impact it had on me. I remember a few years ago my mother bought me a dress. She had me try it on. The dress fit nicely, but I didn’t really like the style. Then, I looked at the tag. It was a size 10. I told my mother that I didn’t want the dress because it was a size 10. Now, to be quite honest, I don’t know who in their right mind thought that dress was a size 10. It was nowhere near a 10! But it didn’t matter. The tag said that it was a size 10, and even if I had liked the dress, I was not going to take it.
Many people have told me that I am not fat. However, when I get on the scale or look in the mirror, I tell myself differently. And, I know its not just me. I have friends that tell me that they are trying to lose weight just to get to my size. I guess my friends and I, and probably most women, need to learn to love the bodies we have. Besides, we don’t need to pass these negative feeling about weight and body image to my daughter, or any other young girl.
So, be careful of the messages you send to kids. They can have a lasting effect on them.
So, now you know and ….. Consider Yourself Warned!
What messages have you been sending to your kids?
SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.