It Makes Me Sad


My girls love the camera.

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They cheese it up then immediately demand to see the picture.  I oblige and they smile at the image of themselves and declare, “That’s a good one!”  I’m not sure exactly what the qualifications are for “a good one” but so far they all fit the bill.  Their favorite books are the ones I make for them on Shutterfly with their own images in our special family memories.

It makes me sad to think that one day, they may cringe at themselves in a photo –  deem to be a bad picture.  Or worse, avoid the camera entirely…like their mom.

My girls love their bodies. 

Spring 2013 888

They do not think of their bodies as round or flat or big or little but instead as tools that can climb up to the highest slide, or run fast across the field.  They are curious and content when they look in the mirror.  In fact, my youngest insists on being naked at all times because “my body is comfy”.  It’s so refreshing to me that those are the words she chooses to tell me that she thinks clothes are restricting.  At 2, her body is comfortable to her. Love that.

It makes me sad to think that one day it may not be.  One day the mirror may be used for critiques and body parts shamed rather than celebrated for the powerful tools that they are.

My girls love to shop.

They get excited about the possibilities that lay a midst racks of new clothes.  They never give a passing thought to clothing size or flattering styles.  On our last shopping trip, I let them get the matching outfits they had been eyeing and my oldest daughter was so excited she squealed, “Sissy, these are going to look great on us!”

It makes me sad to think that one day clothes shopping may be a dreaded activity.  That the dressing room may be a place of tears and frustration rather than excitement.

My girls love to put on their bathing suits

bathing suit

They are total water babies and jump up and down when I announce it is time for water play or swimming at Papa’s pool.  In the words of my 2 year old, “I like my bathin’ soup!”

It makes me sad to think that one day they may avoid a pool party, lacking the confidence they have now in their “bathing soup”s.

When I observe them now in all the ways that they are comfortable and confident in their bodies, I can’t help but feel pangs of sadness for the day (not far enough in the future) when they question, or cringe, or critique, or worse.   How many times do I need to tell them they are beautiful and perfect for it to fill them up to the very brim and never once doubt it?

Of course, telling them they are beautiful is not the answer (and, perhaps, may be part of the problem) – it is a wide-sweeping societal change that we need.

We know this.  We are working towards this.

But it makes me sad that we might not get there in time for my beautiful girls.

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5 comments on “It Makes Me Sad”

  1. Such a great post and yes, very sad that we tend to evolve to the point where superficial traits are deemed bad or good. If only we could preserve the innocence of childhood, this world would be a wonderful place…

  2. Oh Elise I feel your pain. I tell my girls they’re beautiful the way they are but can’t embrace that myself. My low moment was
    When one of them used the term “fat” and I knew where she’d heard it…from mommy everytime she passes a mirror or dresses to go out. I now make an effort not to use those phrases and to talk more about being healthy and happy and accepting.

  3. Awww, this is sad. Even if the issue doesn’t go away in time for your girls (and I’m sure it won’t), just the fact that you are aware of it is going to make a difference in their self-esteem. {hug}

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