It was a beautiful, sunny day- like most days in San Diego. I found myself, having taken the day off, heading North to Mint Studio in Carmel Valley. The last thing I wanted to do (on any day really) was strip down into my bra and underwear- stand in front of a white backdrop in a store front AND pose confidently. BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS MAMA DID.
Why? I did it for my daughters, for my son, for myself and for you. BODY IMAGE is my #1 issue. I am confident in so many things; my intelligence, my creative abilities, my desire and ability to help people. But the one thing I am not, is comfortable in my body, especially my Mom Bod. Body Image is something I struggle with daily. And I KNOW I am not alone.
Being a Mother, it teaches us so much. Children learn, not only by what we tell them, but what they hear us tell ourselves. Day in and day out, we can smother them in positivity! But despite all the messaging we send to them about how “beautiful, strong, smart and amazing” they are, other negativity is doing it’s job. My negative body image is like “the elephant in the room,” and that’s not a fat joke. They say a parent’s words become a child’s inner voice. I think the problem is, they don’t specify that the words don’t even have to be directed at the child for the ideas to stick.
When you grow up getting picked on, and home life wasn’t exactly stable, it can lead to a lot of issues with body image, self- worth, etc. I spent a lot of time listening to negativity coming out of ALL the women’s mouths around me. Most of it directed at their own imperfections, when I couldn’t even see their flaws.
“I need to stop eating… I’m getting so fat… this is gross… look at this stomach… these thighs are so big… if I could only get plastic surgery… I need a facelift… I need to work out.”
If they hate their “fat, cellulite or rolls”, how was I supposed to love mine? My flaws were even more obvious.
BODY IMAGE problems in our society are a huge issue, especially since media glorifies anorexia/waif thin models and photo shops ads beyond recognition. How are we are ever to reach this unattainable level of beauty? If a size 18 has the same issues with trying on clothes in the stores as a 00, who is to blame?
Women’s bodies or the fashion industry?? Even the stars in magazines argue that they don’t even look like their pictures!! Hundreds and thousands of dollars every year are spent on “correcting” our flaws. If we spent as much time and money on addressing our mental health, this world would be a much better place.
So what did I learn from the Mom bod photo shoot?
- I AM NOT ALONE in my self-esteem issues. And honestly, IT WAS SAD. I was in a room with 30 + women who I believe are gorgeous and many of them were more concerned about their appearances and being more covered up. I AM overweight, I DO have cellulite AND stretch marks, rolls AND lumps. Yet they were hiding?? What must they have thought of me, if they feel that way about themselves?
2. SOMETIMES BEING VULNERABLE, IS WORTH THE RISK. I stripped down and bared WAY more than I ever have before. And now it’s out there (all over the internet) and guess what? I DIDN’T DIE. I was nervous and mortified for a few hours. Talking about wanting to throw up! AND? I ONLY received positive feedback.
Maybe I surround myself with gracious and amazing people. Or perhaps they kept their rude comments to themselves. But they were right, I AM BRAVE, but I also have to be for my children. For my daughters especially. I have to teach them that it is NOT OKAY, to not love ALL of who you are. And that these bad feelings, these self-esteem issues, these are real problems in our minds and in our society. Every day we have to take strides to change that.
Jump on board with the #BodyPositiveMovement!
3. Teach your children to LOVE THEMSELVES! This isn’t about glorifying unhealthy behaviors! It is important to stay active and take care of yourself. But I agree, that our focus should be on healthy lifestyles and not skin rolls, stretch marks, etc. So many of the things we hate are parts of us. Our flaws make us beautiful and unique. And guess what? If we focused more on OVERALL happiness rather than a number on a scale or a pant size, we would be happier.
Your goal should be to fill this world with beauty and positivity. Surround yourself with like minded people that want to #SPREADLOVE. Frankly, our children are already beautiful. We want them to be kind, friendly, caring and compassionate. They should be empathetic and help others. We will strive to teach them to be smart and strong inside and out. And most of all, let’s teach them to focus on those things inside of themselves, and their inner beauty will always shine through.
This is a topic I have have blogged about before (and am sure I will again!) Check out: Be Careful What You Say, Children Will Listen.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with eating disorders and/or severe body image issues, here are some resources for support:
Can’t forget to give a shoutout and AMAZING Photo credit to the talented Crystal Carr of Crystella Photography