Friday, February 14, 2014

Don't Let Your Self Esteem Issues Become Your Child's Issues

I've recently started working out. I am sixteen months postpartum and very healthy, but I've been wanting to lose some weight and get toned. I eat fairly well, whole foods with sugar and Starbucks in moderation, but I wanted to take that extra step for my body. Today I looked in the mirror and noticed some definition in my upper abs and obliques, and I was thrilled! Those ab workouts that kill and burn are starting to slowly pay off!

And then I looked down to my lower abs and frowned. That's my "trouble" area, you know... the mommy pouch from all the pregnancy-stretched skin. I'm starting to lose weight but that area is tougher to tone and exercise for me right now.

Instantly my confidence and excitement disappeared. And then I looked at myself in the mirror and went "why?" I looked at my back, starting to slim. I saw my arms which are now fitting in to tighter sleeves they wouldn't before. My progress has been slow coming over the past holiday season, but I already feel so much more better than I did. More energized, my pants are no longer tight but fit perfectly, and I look forward to the sweat from the gym and how I feel after. Endorphins!

Confidence has always been an area of struggle for me. My mom constantly nitpicked my weight and appearance from a young age, put me on diets, forbid certain foods, and pointed out flaws. I've always been incredibly insecure because of that. I was by no means a skinny stick, but as a teenager I WAS somewhat and curvy. I would kill to have that body now. Size 6/8 jeans, tiny waist.... I had that hourglass figure.

But I always thought I was fat.

Honestly, meeting my husband boosted my confidence. Countless boys could tell me I was "hot" and I didn't believe them. My husband's adoration and love really built up my security. I still hated clothes shopping and thought I had a big belly. I continued that thinking after my first miscarriage, when I began eating out of depression and gained weight. I continued that thinking while I was pregnant. However there was this glorious realization after giving birth of what a freaking rockstar I am and how powerful my body is, and that helped me respect myself more.

Naturally, I still struggled. I was the biggest I had ever been after giving birth. I was incredibly sensitive to that. And sometimes I do still struggle with it, it's an inner battle. A socially conditioned one too. But having my daughter, realizing my worth, and working out has definitely helped me.

We all know the whole spiel of airburshed magazine covers, no one looks like that, blah blah, and it's all true. Heck, I saw an article going around about "Lindsey Lohan's horrible beach bod" where she literally looked anorexic she was so skinny, but she had this itty bitty little stomach pooch they emphasized. It was disgusting (they're article and response, not her body).

Our culture is so obsessed with attaining the perfect body. It's brainwashed into us until we all have some issue related to it. Why can't we be taught to love our bodies? Or better yet, grow up with that mindset?

You do not have to be a certain size or weight to be healthy. If you want to lose weight, do so for your health and yourself not because you have to look that way for the approval of others.

What's especially worse about this obsession with weight and size (not health) is that fact that it's rubbing off on our children. Children as young as toddlers already have concern over weight. They think they need to look a certain way for people to like them. They think they look fat! I'm sorry, but that's absolutely ludicrous! And it's not only society and TV's fault, but it's ours too.

We look at ourselves in the mirror and exclaim "I'm so fat!" We point out every imperfection and flaw while shopping for clothes.

 "That makes my butt look big."

"That makes my stomach looked weird."

"That makes my arms look flabby."

From a young age our children are trained to think that's normal. To hate your body, to hide it's features and never be happy with it.

That's just not okay guys. We need to stop that cycle. I hate my self esteem issues, even though they are no where near where they were I still struggle. It's a hard mindset to break. So start by preventing that mindset in the first place. Our kids really deserve better. They deserve self respect and self love, no matter their size or shape.

By all means, be healthy, eat well, exercise. But don't let it become an unhealthy obsession. Don't forbid food because you're afraid of your kids becoming "fat." There's this awesome thing called moderation. It works well with treats or desserts!

Love your body so your kids can love theirs. If you need to get healthier, do it. If you want to lose weight, do it. But don't put their focus on it, and still love yourself in the process.

The same goes for make up. I've known a lot of people who legitimately won't go out in public unless they have a "done up" face. I've known a few women whose husband's haven't even seen them without make up. Make up is a fun thing, and can definitely boost confidence, I love it! It's not a mask however. It shouldn't define you, your face, or your self esteem. That's another thing we need to be careful of instilling in our kids. Make up is great at accentuating the beauty that is already there, but your beauty does not come from it. When I see seven year olds with a full face of make up I just want to hug them.

It's hard work, raising kids who will become adults and functioning parts of society. We want better for them than we have had, and that includes our personal issues, especially those concerning our appearance. Break the chain, it has to start somewhere. It can be hard, but you can do it, and you aren't alone. Your kids deserve it.


  1. Thank you for this. Its a great reminder. I have three daughters and they constantly notice and make remarks about my fat belly. I tell them its okay because being fat doesnt make me a bad person and I am still healthy. They make comments like, I dont want to eat too many cookies and get fat like mommy... These comments are hurtful but they are 8, 5, and 3 years old. I do my best to remind them that people come in different shapes, sizes and color and we should love everyone regardless. It does indeed feel like an uphill battle... One that I will continue to fight.

    1. Oh Mama it is SO hard sometimes. But it IS a worthy battle! We've got quite the opponent, the media is strong and everywhere. But what happens at home and the examples kids see in those closest to them can absolutely overcome the outside input. You're doing great! Keep it up! We have to work on loving our bodies as much as we need to teach our kids to love theirs <3