Last week, I came across something disturbing AF on social media. A body fat measuring scale for…………..KIDS.
Holy effballs, you guys. I immediately wanted to throw up in my mouth a little, because this is potentially what we are doing to the NEXT generation. Did you know that HALF of teenage girls have been on a diet? I mean, I thought we were doing better than this at this stage.
Then, I got raged up. I mean, what in the ACTUAL eff?
Then, I started thinking critically. Instead of freaking out (well,I did internally)….I thought for a few days on what we CAN do to help our littles NOT deal in the body image ick that so many of us deal in.
Said another way, what things can WE Mom Bosses do right now to breed healthy confidence, and not shame or fear surrounding bodies or food. Or, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t instill a nasty body image yuck cycle in those littles.
I’m definitely not an expert in this area. I mean, I get caught up in body image yuck and have to check myself lots! Having little girls has made that CRYSTAL clear. My four tips aren’t exactly mind blowing. However, they might create a stir in YOU, as you begin to have to deal with and/or unpack all the body image shit that YOU deal with internally, whether you know it or not. This definitely isn’t meant to be a blame game for anyone (including myself), but it’s an opportunity to be aware and do better as we go.
And guess what? We can talk and say all the right things about body image, but if WE don’t act the part, well, that’s not super awesome. Actions always, always, always speak louder than words. So I’m going to give you a variety of topics to process, with lots of questions. This post isn’t about “how” to do this so much as to get you reflecting a little bit so YOU can figure out YOUR way of addressing this.
Check YOUR language. How are you talking about YOUR body? How are you talking about YOUR food intake? What descriptions are you making of your body? What words are present as you talk about health and weight and food? This is a big damn clue, mamas. We have a big opportunity to use lots of positive words around body image and food stuff.
- Eating lunch gives me LOTS of energy.
- Veggies give me big muscles!
- I like how this outfit makes me feel.
- I love my legs!
Mamas, we can go lots of places here, depending on the ages of your littles. But more importantly, it starts with how YOU are talking about YOURSELF so THEY can learn, too.
Check YOUR actions. Are you marching to the scale every day to mourn? Are your littles seeing that? What about the mirror? What kid of expressions are your littles seeing when they are in front of the mirror with you? Disgust, pinching skin, and yuck? Or power, smiles, and appreciation? I think lots of things can happen with mirror time that can be opportunities for learning and growth. Yes, there are the muscle flexing times, I mean, DUH! I think you can probably learn lessons from a bad day in the mirror, too, with a kid. I mean, everything ISN’T rosey all the time in life and with body image. Mirror time can easily be a time for reflection and appreciation, or even just to make yourself laugh with crazy faces and whatnot. Oh, and are you always making yourself different meals than your littles? Or are you eating what they eat to some extent? If littles are eating pizza and mom’s plate is completely different, won’t there be questions…or even assumptions….that mom’s can’t eat like everyone else?
Measuring weight and body fat on a child is probably just not a great choice. I’m no expert, but holy hell, getting the “how much do I weigh” and “do I have too much body fat” and “am I the same clothing size as my friends” thoughts into a child’s head is probably not ideal at all. This can easily lead to “is this the right weight” or “am I too big” or a whole bunch of other yuck that just need not be present at home. Of course, littles get exposed to things in the real world and at school and from social media, but holy hell, if we can keep home a measuring free zone, well….I think we can teach them that measurements aren’t the norm.
Face those conversations instead of avoiding them. I mean, it can be easy to avoid or change the subject on a hard body image topic. Avoiding doesn’t give littles an opportunity to learn a positive way (unless you are trying to avoid the “where do babies come from” convo and trying to make dad be the teacher on that one, lol). I don’t know about YOU, but having these conversations at times feels like insane therapy for ME. Having to face MY shit head up and put the conversation and lesson into words a four year old can interpret and learn from helps ME realize some of the yuck I’m STILL hanging on to in the back of my brain. It simplifies it for me, to be honest.
Oof, you guys. There isn’t one way here in my opinion. But there are a lot of NOT awesome ways, too. Ultimately it probably depends on the context and atmosphere and YOU and YOUR littles.
What say you on this topic? I’m ALL ears. Because if we unpack OUR shit, we can help our littles nix some of that baggage.