This morning, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed this conversation a girl I knew in high school posted between her and her two year old daughter. Names have been changed.
Me: So Peyton, can we try the gym play place again tmrw so mommy can work out.
Peyton: No. I love you too much. You r my favorite friend in the whole world. I miss you when you work out.
Me: I know. I miss you too but it will be fun for you and mommy can go get skinny.
Peyton: mommy, you are the skinniest mommy ever. You are so pretty too.
Me: well played, kid. But we are still going
Lets hope we have less tears tomorrow!
I was livid.
Granted, as a non-parent, I can appreciate that things may fly out of your mouth when you don't expect it. The girl in question is very small, and looks healthy. But why, why, why, why, oh, why would you tell your two year old daughter that the reason you are working out is that you want to get skinny?
Judging by this little peanut's reaction, she can already recognize that her mommy worries about being seen as skinny and pretty, and that these things are important. But more important? Emphasizing, from an early age, that skinny isn't as important as HEALTHY. We look at all the Dove beauty ads, and the articles about including more plus size models and applaud, thinking that the beauty norms are changing. I argue, though, that nothing will really change until we start changing the way we talk about how we look to our children.
Growing up, my mom told me over and over again that I was beautiful, that I should work out to be healthy, that I need to watch what I eat to ensure that I have a lot of years of life to do the things I want to do. However, she herself constantly gets dressed and comments on how this looks big or that looks fat or that she needs to work out to lose weight. While I feel like I could lose weight, I also know I need to do it for health first, and hearing my mom narrate her expectations for my body in terms of health but hers for herself in terms of beauty always bothered me.
I don't know what kind of parent I'm going to be someday, and I think raising daughters in today's world is an incredibly difficult task. After reading that discussion on Facebook though, I've realized that we need to start from the ground up. We, the well educated, multitasking, sometimes put together moms and future moms of the world need to shift the focus in the way we talk about ourselves in front of our kids. Let's start today, shall we?
How do you talk about yourself in front of your kids? Am I crazy for thinking this conversation is horrid?