One of the most significant topics of conversation amongst women is body image, and I can tell you that while I want to have body confidence as a mom so that I can pass it down to my daughters, I struggle. I did not want to post this picture because you can see some cellulite on my thighs and I was embarrassed to show it to anyone, let alone the internet. But what message does that send my daughters who are watching me even when I don’t think they are? There are many times where I am horrified by what my mom body looks like in photos after kids and honestly it’s hard for me not to be critical when I see the dimples and the stomach pooch that won’t seem to leave me alone. I know I have grown babies and my body has been stretched like an elastic band three times, but it’s hard to keep that into perspective. The false expectations I put upon myself for what my body should look like is ridiculous. I don’t want my girls to do this to themselves as they grow up.
Photo credit: River Bennet
So anyway, I am posting the dang picture to celebrate my body image, and honestly, it’s freeing. And, funny thing is you probably wouldn’t have noticed it without me pointing it out.
Listen, going to the gym, getting strong, eating healthy and perhaps slaying some of that extra weight off is fantastic, but if I’m honest, I can do all of those things and still not be satisfied with my body. It’s like no matter what size I am or how big or small I get, I am unsatisfied with something about the way I look. The cellulite on my thighs in this picture just happens to be what I’m hyper-focused on at the moment, and I do not want to pass this unhealthy body image behavior on to my daughters.
I wish I could tell you that as a mom I have learned to love my mom body…which isn’t all permament by the way. But the truth is, I struggled not to be critical and love my pre-mom body, so it’s tough to appreciate this even squishier version. Ya know? I wish I didn’t have this internal body image battle every day and friends, I am going gang-busters on it because it’s not healthy or anything good.
I am posting this picture of me with my cellulite because flaws are reality and my two daughters need to see that. My daughters need to know that having a stomach pooch happens and cellulite on your thighs does too and that’s ok! I want them to see me choosing a healthy lifestyle as an antidote, not a body-bashing session that gets me nowhere. And yes, even the mental body bashing sessions that aren’t expressed verbally need to be stopped. Kids are smart. They pick up on those body image things.
I don’t want them to overhear me talking about how much weight I need to lose or see me grabbing the extra skin that hangs while I stand in the mirror in my bra and undies in disgust. I want them to see a confident mother who is proud of my body because of the beautiful thing’s it has done. I want them to see me getting to the gym and taking action because it’s healthy and good, not because I hate my body. That’s the behavior I want my daughters to copy. That’s the mindset I want to pass along. Even if I have to struggle and push passed all of the negative thoughts that creep in I’m going to do it because the world puts too much pressure on women’s bodies anyway; I don’t want them to get that at home also from me.
They will see me at the gym getting strong. They will see me choosing healthy food options. They will see me indulge in something chocolaty and enjoy it without one single comment of food guilt.
I want my daughters to love their bodies as they change because they will change. Whether they have cellulite on their thighs or not. Whether they have a pooch, stretch marks, saggy boobs or not. They won’t get much of that positive body affirmation from the world. But, they can learn it from me, their mother.