This is a topic so near to my heart, well, it IS my heart, it's all about my heart -- with my three girls' names tattooed all over it.
Here's my mission. I want all of us, anyone who works with me or follows my blog or joins my facebook group, to make a pledge. Today.
"Today, I will stop the vicious cycle of moms training daughters to hate their bodies. I promise to love HER and respect HER for how uniquely beautiful she is. No more obsessing over food or degrading comments. No more punishment for eating dessert or for not meeting the high standards of supermodels and celebrities. Today, the cycle is over!"
Some of you may be thinking, "My God, Jenn, I would never do that to my daughter. That's pretty harsh and I'd never compare HER to anyone else. I love my daughter!"
Well, guess what? The HER I am talking about isn't your daughter, she's YOU.
SHE, is your body.
-- Every time we look in the mirror and sigh, pissed that these skinny jeans aren't living up to their promises...
-- Every time we eat a delicious, gooey treat with our family, making those audible "MMMM" sounds, and then push it away exclaiming "Oh why am I eating this? YOU guys finish it I can't have any more!"
-- Every time we serve ourselves salad, or worse yet a shake, while we serve the rest of the family a "normal" dinner...
-- Every time we are given a compliment and respond with, "Thanks, but I still need to lose 10 pounds!" -- Our daughters are watching. Our daughters are learning from us. We are training them to be their harshest critics.
Have you seen the quote making it's way through Pinterest and Facebook?
"and I said to my body, softly,
'I want to be your friend'
It took a long breath and replied,
'I've been waiting my whole life for this.' "
-- Nayyirah Waheed
Those words brought me to my knees, literally, in tears. THAT is how hard they hit home. My hope is for my daughters to one day read that quote and giggle, wondering what it's all about.
I remember thinking my THUMBS were too fat, fatter than all my friends' thumbs, when I was in KINDERGARTEN. And I hated the number 5 because it was F.A.T. What...the ...F*ck??? (I mean seriously...that's messed up! Ahhh poor baby Jenn!)
I've dieted since I was twelve. I was 97 pounds and was afraid to reach 100. All of my daughters have BEEN twelve and the third is is just a year older. At twelve they were babies still. Young, innocent, beautiful creatures who I could never imagine hating any parts of themselves, as I did, at twelve.
I can't say my kiddos never felt this way at twelve. I know I hear comments from the older two now, and it breaks my heart. I can't tell you my actions never contributed to their self doubts or body image. (in fact I know they have -- nothing beyond "you look great" really should ever be uttered to our kids...there is no "helping" mamas. I assure you. I learned that the hard way. And I never commented on size I was commenting on fashion choices!) I am prepared to be blamed for EVERYTHING. But I can assure you, hand over heart, I consciously tried to not be that person.
The person who taught them that body loathing is part of being a girl.
Our daughters' world, what they see and hear every day, is telling them how imperfect they are and how they can be fixed. Frizzy hair, flat hair, yellow teeth, bushy eyebrows, acne, eyes are too small, breasts too small, butt too big, but too small, nose, ears, belly...what body part aren't advertisers trying to fix? Ads are one thing. Never mind social media -- introducing the thigh gap "goal".
But what they see and hear at home,
that's where it can begin,
Whether we think they are listening or even care for that matter, because our teens roll their eyes at most anything we say, what we teach them DOES matter. Diets were a constant in my household growing up -- my mom is amazing and it is NOT her fault. But Weight Watchers was always a part of dinner conversation. Even my grandmother, my sophisticated, thin, beautiful Mama, told me she kept her figure thanks to cigarettes. She later died from smoking related cancer.
I wrote the above half of this blog in 2015 - soI fixed the ages etc. - I'm back to finish it as I recently heard one daughter say that her friends' moms tell them they are FAT.
I'm sorry. You may be a mother -- but that gives you NO RIGHT to comment on your daughter's body that way. ZEEE-RO.
I felt devastated for the girls, who's brothers get to eat junk food not allowed for them. (for the record, not that it even mattes, these girls are THIN!) I was furious at the moms -- seriously, hold me back people! But also, I felt sad, and ok, compassion, for those moms. I can only imagine what they were told growing up. What they witnessed their mothers do when they watched, like star-struck little girls, as their own mothers dressed for a night out.
Imagine these little girls watching their mothers with the awe only daughters have for their moms -- only to hear vile words coming from their mothers' mouths as they pinched and squeezed and sighed and tossed outfits aside.
Imagine how these moms feel about their own bodies...now.
It starts with us.
And, as a Hashimama, who NEEDED to change her eating habits -- please take my advice -- if you are eating for autoimmunity, tell your kids why. Don't allow them to see your plate filled with "different" food and think "diet". Tell them it's all about health. Let them ask questions. Don't force your diet onto them. Just cook healthy food. Don't buy junk. Maybe just a tiny bit. And if they buy junk on their own, just keep cooking healthy food.
End the BODY BS. Take the pledge. Please share this blog article and hashtag #endbodyBS
And, if YOU want to change how you feel about and speak to your body, let's talk. Things can begin to change right away. I promise. Set up a call here.
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