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When Mama Says She’s Fat — I Ain’t Down With That

An article called “When Your Mother Says She’s Fat” was just recently floating around on my Facebook feed. And because I’m always interested in the impact moms have on their daughters, I had to click through and read it. It’s a heartbreaking yet uplifting post with a great message about how much mothers impact the way their daughters see themselves and the world.

Moms are such a central figure in a little girl’s life (and boys, too) and in the absence of circumstances that separate moms and kids, moms are often THE central figure. They’re who kids look to for help with everything. Daughters think their moms are the best, coolest, prettiest, most capable beings on the planets. Nothing against dads; dads are perfectly capable of nurturing and caring and tending. But there’s just something about mom. They’re the ones who can fix owies with a kiss, can calm with a simple hug, can help kids fall asleep just by being there. They’re also the first source of hearing body hatred, “I’m fat” moans and “I’m on another diet” groans, when they should be the first line of defense against body-image issues.

In reading the article, I started wondering how the self-bashers would react if they heard their son or daughter beat up on themselves. How would you feel if your 5-year-old was complaining about being too fat? About not being perfect? How would you feel if your preteen said he or she was ugly? We’d likely, hopefully, be appalled. Because as parents, we love almost everything about our kids. From their stinky feet to their hair that gets matted during the night to their chubby thighs and huge, strong personalities. We think they’re beautiful and perfect, even when they’re far from perfect angels. We wouldn’t change a thing. (Except maybe that sleep thing.) We love our kids as they are. And we need to remember that they love us as we are. They look up to us and admire us and emulate us, flaws and all.

So next time you’re being critical or hard on yourself, check it. Reverse your thinking. Remember that you’re beautiful. And if you have a hard time spinning your thoughts into a more positive direction, at least work on keeping the negativity to yourself. Like the writer of that poignant article says, the cycle stops here.

Check yourself before you wreck your body image and that of your kids. —Erin

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