Buff: being in good physical shape with fine muscle tone
Maybe this is the mom in me, or possibly the fact that we spent the day yesterday at Wet ‘N Wild here in Hawaii. But, as I think of today’s Daily Prompt Word (Buff), my mind immediately goes to Maui from Moana. I mean, check out those buff muscles! He even sings about himself saying, “I know it’s a lot: the hair the bod!” I always flex my puny muscles when the kids and I sing that part. I don’t know why, but they laugh a little harder than necessary when I flex my muscles and say I’m “buff like Maui.” Hmmmm….I might need to take a break from hiking and start picking up the weights myself!
I also can’t help but think of Vin Diesel and The Rock. Duane “The Rock” Johnson is a legend here in Hawaii. A few of my friends have been so lucky as to have met him while he’s been here filming various movies (nice guy I might add). He even hosted an amazing event here at Hickam Airforce Base called, Rock the Troops. And, Vin Diesel…well, look at him-he’s Vin Diesel. If these two meat heads don’t scream “buff” then what does!??!?!
Ok, wipe the drool off your lips and lets move on…
Like I said, my family spent the day at the water park yesterday. Talk about a great place to “people watch.” It might even be better than Wal-Mart! But wait! Before you think I’m a judgmental person-I’m not at all! I may giggle a little inside at some of the very questionable outfits and choices in swimwear…(Have you seen this hilarious video by “imomsohard” about mom’s swimwear choices? If not, check it out here. There’s a little colorful humor but it’s all in good fun)
But, the bottom line is that it makes my heart jump for joy to see these parents out enjoying the water park with their kids and not worrying about what they look like!
As I stood there in the water watching my daughter try her hardest to make her way across this water obstacle, I couldn’t help but think to myself:
“this is what my daughter will remember!” She will remember that I was standing there cheering her on—not that I felt like a busted can of biscuits in my swimsuit!
When I looked around me, I noticed MOST of the moms and dads around me playing had a few extra “love handles” and mascara running down their faces. When I looked at the lounge chairs, I saw the parents sitting there with their perfect “beach hair” and “beach bods.” These were the parents that, in my mind, should be out enjoying the water with their kids because they look GREAT and probably feel the most confident in their swim gear! I’m slightly jealous of them. The difference between the two??? The mascara streaked faced moms had smiles on their faces where as the magazine worthy moms sitting on the sidelines didn’t even notice their kids. (don’t get me wrong…I’m that mom sitting on the sidelines some days too. I talk about that in my blog post: Be the Mommy You Want Her to Remember)
That’s when it really dawned on me that I need to be less judgmental of myself. If you watched the video I mentioned earlier, you may have noticed her say one line that REALLY stood out to me amongst all of the humor:
“I want my daughter to love her life and to love herself and she’s not going to do it because I tell her to do it. She’s going to do it because I teach her to do it!”
I need to love MY body enough so that my daughter will want to love HER body!
My daughter was born with an “outie” belly button. I’ve always secretly feared that she would be self-conscious of this some day (I would be). In my best effort to be ahead of the game, I make a point of telling her that it’s a “special” belly button and that’s why it looks different from her brothers (or mine). The other day, she saw a very pregnant lady at the pool rocking a bikini and she was at the point in her pregnancy where her belly button had “popped out.” My daughter got so excited and said, “mommy! Look at her belly button! She’s special like me!” Her face just lit up in excitement at finding someone with a special belly button like hers.
It made my heart smile at seeing her so confident in herself with something that I thought she would be embarrassed about. She even wants a bikini of her own like the lady at the pool so that “everyone can see” how special she is! I’ve always been against bikini’s for little girls. In my opinion, I just don’t feel it teaches modesty. In fact, I rarely wear one myself for this reason (not just because I don’t think I look like a model). But, seeing her want a bikini so much because she wants to show her special belly button, has had me second guess my decision of no bikinis. If it’s something that will make her feel confident and proud of herself, then I just might let her. Maybe that is teaching her a bigger lesson than I’m trying to teach her about modesty.
The main thing, is that I want her to feel confident and proud of her body no matter how it looks and no matter which style of swimsuit she is wearing.
I suffered with a body image disorder when I was younger (and probably still do to a certain extent if I’m honest) and I think that’s why this subject is so important for me. I long for her to have a healthy view of herself because I know how miserable it can feel to not have that.
I have several girlfriends who have “perfect” bodies. They work hard for them and that’s great-they look amazing! They prove that you can be moms and have smokin’ bodies! However, my focus since I’ve been a mom has been different. I still eat healthy and stay active. But for me, I know it’s not healthy for me to be back in that mentality of being focused on working out to “look and feel good.” I’ve had to find other ways to exercise—thus the hiking!
I just don’t feel mentally, I can put myself back in that environment and mindset of focusing so much on my body appearance. It used to be on my mind constantly. In fact, I used to work out so hard and not stop until I felt like I was ready to puke. THAT was a good workout. There was no “light workout” for me. It was all or nothing. Sure, I may have literally been 100lbs and had that rock hard body some were envious of…but I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t good enough…it was never good enough.
I want my daughter to see me living a healthy lifestyle and how it doesn’t have to be a main focus of my life. I want to teach her that we can make healthy choices like eating clean, natural foods and by being active. We don’t need to have sculpted abs or live off of protein drinks to have a body we are proud of. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be rock hard to be something we are proud of!
I may have a little pudgy belly, she may have a outie belly button…but in Gods eyes and in OUR eyes…we are beautiful!
Authors note: I’ve never really spoke out loud about my struggle with body image. Thank you for being a safe audience for me to do so.
If you also have or currently struggle with this, I encourage you talk to someone about it. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to get better. You do not have to let this body image lie weigh you down! Message me if you need someone to talk to.
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8 thoughts on “Teaching Her to Love Her Body”
thank you 🙂
Lovely piece! I enjoyed reading it I think it’s great that you are teaching your dd to have a positive body image. By seeing you confortable and confident in your own body making healty food and fitness choices to fuel your body will go a long way to counteraxt all the negativity out there.
Magazines, ads, social media all have one ideal body for our girls to aspire to and it exerts a lot of pressure on them. Way to go in showing her that our regukar bodies that majority of women have are cool too.
I absolutely love it!
Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. You made my night!
This post changed from my initial thought and was hard for me to write but good to get out at the same time. It was therapeutic in a way even bc it’s not something I usually talk about.
You are so right on about the media portraying the “ideal” body. I know first hand how impacting it can be. It adds so much pressure to be perfect.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment!
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And yes, sometimes writing does that doesn’t it? Helps us release thoughts and ides we might not talk about.
It was a great piece. Keep on writing!
Thank you! I hope you keep reading!
Was her outie caused by a hernia ?
I think outies are from some sort of hernia from my understanding?