Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Mommy, Don't Say That!"

I was at Kroger the other day when I witnessed a young girl, probably 9 or so, playing with the underside of her mom's upper arm.  The mom was not a big lady, I am guessing an average size 12, but I could tell she felt embarrassed. She immediately stopped her daughter and said, " Don't," and then added "I am so fat and my arms are ugly." Her daughter looked sorrowful, then concerned and said, "Mommy, don't say that, you're beautiful."

The child's words repeated over and over in my head all day, "Mommy, don't say that."

It made me think about this age's standard of beauty. It also occurred to me that this child felt as if she were somehow responsible for her mother's self esteem and wanted to make her feel better.

To be sure, you want to be healthy. I am overweight and I know that, while I am healthy for the moment, being overweight, obese even, puts me at a greater risk for some unsavory things that could compromise my health. But, negative talk in front of our children, even to ourselves in front of a mirror, is detrimental to our relationships.  It also puts our daughters and sons at risk of falling for the world's idea of beauty and most people will never attain that.

Our kids love us. We are their mommies. My youngest daughter recently told me I was the most beautiful person she ever met.  She really does think that. Instead of saying what was in my head - "You haven't met a lot of people then!" - I only said, "Thank you, Baby!" and gave her a big hug. I told her she was the most beautiful 6 year old ever. She said, "I know!" HA!  :) :) :)

If the children who really believe that we are stunningly gorgeous and the smartest people ever,  hear us criticize ourselves and put ourselves down, they tend to think they will never be smart or beautiful, after all, if the person who currently rocks their world can't be, then neither can they.

I felt sad for the child in the store, who so wanted her mother to be happy with herself.  She felt the burden of her mother's own lack of confidence. When we put ourselves down in front of our kids, they will take that cross upon themselves.  It is not fair to them.

So, Mommy, don't say that. Don't put yourself down, or others who look less than your idea of beauty. Allow yourself to live freely in confidence and know - you are beautiful. You have children who sincerely believe that. Don't let them believe otherwise.  Don't allow them to bear the burden of making you feel better - because they will bear the burden.

Allow them to believe you are beautiful. Allow them to believe they are beautiful.

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