A box arrives from Zulily carrying a beautiful navy polka-dot dress.
I excitedly open it. Smiles. Joy.
The package has arrived just in time for a business conference I am attending.
I feel the dress material in my hand, it is perfect.
Comfortable. Professional. Beautiful.
An a-line dress, tailored just-so, can make that baby tire of mine magically disappear.
I unfold the dress and my heart sinks. Online product photos can be deceiving.
“Aren’t you going to try it on Mom?” my daughter asks.
“It is going to be too small,” I reply as I grab my tummy.
I do try the dress on. I suck in my stomach.
I turn every which way in the mirror.
But no matter which direction I turn, I find…
My family feels my mood shift. My two girls attentively offer compliments.
“I think it is pretty,” my youngest smiles.
“I like the polka dots,” my older daughter reassures me.
I walk around the house for a few minutes in the dress flustered.
As she heads out the door for practice, my little Rose asks,
“Are you going to keep it?”
I stand for a moment. “The material is so soft, it is a shame it doesn’t fit properly.”
She tells me, “Well, if it is comfortable, then it is a perfect at-home dress.”
A smile grows across my face, “YES. You’re right. It might not work for this conference,
but it is a lovely, everyday dress. Thank you for helping me see that.”
Twenty-minutes later I am packing for the conference,
pulling out different dresses and blouses.
The self critiques begin.
I look fat in this skirt.
Who are you kidding, this will never fit again.
Why do you call it a baby tire? Your baby is EIGHT.
And then… it blindsided me. It literally took my breath away.
Are you familiar with this parenting philosophy?
With all the “positive parenting” info I read, I foolishly believed that this only included my criticism of the girls themselves. But as I sat in my laundry room it hit me like a ton of bricks.
They are listening.
Our daughters are listening to to the way we speak about our bodies. Your criticisms of your own body will influence their inner voice.
My friends, be kind to yourself. Be aware of the power of your words.
P.S. My friend Stacy over at Kids Stuff World introduced me to the site A Mighty Girl this week. Check out their post Ten Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls for some great book selections about developing a healthy body image.