In other words, I couldn't say no.
As soon as I sat at the table, I transformed into my usual self - the self they all expected me to be. I was happy, fun, naughty, talkative, socially comfortable and very glad to be there.
A late arrival to the gathering, one of the ladies in our yoga group joined me at the end of the table. She doesn't know me well but did know that I had surgery. We began a conversation about body image and our children.
She is 10 years older and by no means in bad shape. Yet, I could feel her insecurity. I could sense her discomfort in her own skin.
Perhaps I was projecting? I've noticed that I feel self conscious when discussing body image with women. I could see her eyes on me when I would leave the table. I was feeling judgment and when she finally asked me, "Well? How did you lose all of the weight?" I found myself explaining in details so that she would feel better.
I still don't know why I do this. How am I going to teach my daughters to accept themselves and their bodies when I feel guilty and the need to explain to everyone that "No, I haven't always been thin" and "Yes, I eat whatever I want" and "Yes, I work out but I did when I was fat too"?
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say?!
My daughter Rose is 8 years old and stands at shoulder height to me. I'm 5'5". In other words, she will tower over me at some point during her teen years.
People are constantly telling her how tall she's going to be. At first, she didn't think much of it. Then one day, someone said that she would be taller than me. Later that evening, she cried to me before bed.
"Mommy, I don't want to be taller than you!!"
I could see her point. There is a fear with my daughters of my growing older, not being the one in charge anymore, of the future where Mommy doesn't fix everything. I suppose the thought of her looking down at me scares her a little.
We've discussed these fears as they come up and she seems to be comfortable again. I'm also doing what I can to point out that she should stand tall, shoulders back, chest out. Be proud of her height.
So far, so good.
Then one evening, we both received a gift while watching TV.
"Wow Mommy! Taylor Swift is TALL!"
I googled her height and yep, she's 5'11".
My girls ADORE Taylor Swift. And now I have a little girl who stands prouder than she did before.
”A mother who radiates self acceptance and self love actually vaccinates her daughter against low self esteem."
I've always loved this quote. I hope that I'm doing my best to radiate self-acceptance to my daughters. I'm also doing what I can to teach them healthy habits like a diet based on moderation, not deprivation, and that exercise can be fun.
I'm a single mother raising two little girls. They don't have a daddy around for daily doting and compliments. I'm not even sure their dad notices their beauty, or if he does, I doubt he mentions it. He's just not that kind of man unfortunately.
So... its up to me to vaccinate them against low self esteem. God help me.
Mommy's got quite a job ahead of her.