Our Bodies, Our Selves, Our CHILDREN'S Selves
It's Love Your Body Day. That's a good thing, and, also, a very, very sad thing.
It's a good thing for the obvious reasons. We should all love our bodies, all the time. But there's the issue that makes it sad: we should love our bodies all the time. Not just for one day. Always. Which, I know: OBVIOUSLY. We know this. We know this well. We should love our bodies every day, every time we look in the mirror, every time we glance down at the landscape of our physical selves. For our heart's sake. And for our sanity's sake.
And for our kids' sanity's sake.
I've written about wanting to love my body. Most of us have written something on the theme, at some point. But I was reminded the other day, by an anonymous post that was submitted to the Basement, that there's a good reason why we should make every effort to love our bodies, and be vocal about it: because our kids are listening.
The author writes:
I can remember the first time my mother called herself fat in front of me. I was 4. She had just had my sister, and was depressed. She cried. I understood then that being fat was one of the worst things in the world. It was to be feared and hated. Skinny people were worthwhile. Fat people were not.
I grew up scared to mention anything about my mother’s appearance, even if I thought she looked pretty. I knew what the answer would be: “Oh, my rolls are showing. My butt looks big.” Though she always told me I was beautiful, talented, smart, loved and worthwhile, I knew differently. I, after all, was just like her.
And I felt those feelings festering inside myself. And I hated myself for being weak like her.
She goes on to say that she's frightened to have children, because she's frightened to pass on this legacy, which in her case developed into an eating disorder:
I’m scared to get married to the man I love, the man I have lived with for nearly three years, because I’m scared to have children. I want them desperately, but I don’t want to see the click in my daughter’s eyes the first time I slip up and she, too, equates fat with worthlessness.
We need to love our bodies for own sakes, of course. But isn't it as important to love them so that our children will learn to love theirs?
So, maybe, if you do decide to do a post for Love Your Body Day, consider writing not only about how and why you love your body - or strive to love your body - but also about how you impress that love upon your children. What are you doing to ensure that your children grow up with a healthy body image? To ensure that they love their bodies every day?
(Oh, and? It's also Blog Action Day, and the theme is poverty. BlogHers Act Canada joined in: check out Sam's post here. And then write your own, even if it's no longer the 15th - because every day is a good for blog action, just as it is a good day for loving your body out loud. DO BOTH.)
Catherine, aka Her Bad Mother, is working her arm muscles and learning to love her muffin top, although not necessarily in that order.