Last week, I told you about my complicated relationship with my scale. How I need to be cautious not to let it dictate how I feel about myself, how it’s just one indicator of health. What I worry about the most is this:
And I’m trying to keep my unhealthy relationship from affecting my kids, who don’t need to have their perspectives skewed by a mom who calls herself fat when she isn’t really. They don’t need to hear me curse the scale and vow to go on some crazy not-healthy-for-me diet because there was a change of a pound or two.
In conversations in the comments and on facebook, as well as other weight-related issues that have come up in the past week, there’s a refrain I’m hearing a lot:
“Especially with my girls.”
Now, I can understand where these moms are coming from. It seems like it’s harder for girls to have positive self-images, that there’s more focus on a girls’ size(wanting to be a zero or a two… when really, have you ever heard a man described by the number on the tag of his jeans?), and girls are more likely to develop an eating disorder than boys.
All of these things are true. Please understand me, moms of girls, I’m not discounting this.
My mom had her own complicated relationship with the scale and I know it affected me more than it did my brothers, even though we all grew up hearing a women who was(and still is) very petite make self-depreciating comments about her weight.
So, I understand the “especially with my girls” comments I hear when it comes to weight and size.
But, our words affect our boys, too.
Maybe not in the way that if their mom whines that she’s wearing a certain size that makes her feel fat… they won’t see that same size on their jeans as a teen or adult and think wow, this must mean I’m fat.
And when they get on the scale and see a number that their mom called unacceptable, they might not feel like they need to go on a crazy diet like she did when she saw that same number.
But their attitudes about size are being shaped by their moms.
Some of it might apply to how they see themselves. If mom is making disgusted faces at herself in the mirror because she can pinch an inch at her sides, what if he can later do the same on himself? Is he going to react the same way to his own body? Remember that just because eating disorders aren’t as common in boys as they are in girls, it doesn’t mean they don’t happen.
And some of what boys hear can affect how they see others, how they see your daughters. Maybe a son can wave off his mom’s comments about her weight and not let them affect him personally. But he’s still hearing them, he’s still witnessing the way she reacts. And he’ll remember. He’ll remember that his mom cried when her size X jeans wouldn’t go up over her thighs and how she called herself a fat pig. And he’ll see a girl who wears that same size or larger and think well, she’s fat.
Moms of girls, I don’t envy your job. How you need to set an example for your daughters to follow.
But moms of boys need to remember that just because our boys will grow up to look more like dad than mom, it doesn’t mean that they don’t still look to us as examples. Examples of how to treat themselves and how they’ll treat the women in their lives.
So really, the expression shouldn’t be “especially with my girls” but “especially with my children.”
Last Week’s Pour Your Heart Out Highlights
- The Sisterhood of Mothers from Counting My Kisses: If all moms could give the kind of encouragement to other moms as Amy found, the world would be a much kinder place.
- Dear Struggling Friend at the Baby Shower from Working on a Project: “I don’t want to tell you it will get easier or better or that it will be your shower one day.”
- What’s Wrong with Warm Soup from An Everyday Blessing: “But I don’t want to view a bowl of warm soup as an inconvenience either. I want to see it as a blessing.”
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