Friday, September 11, 2009

"Mommy, am I fat?"

Sarah asks me this almost every night in the bathtub as she looks down at her tummy.

"No, honey. You aren't fat. You are perfect!" is always my reply.

Because she is not fat and she is perfect.

I'm not sure where she gets this notion of being fat. I have been very careful not to use the "f" word around her.

I never stare in the mirror and call myself fat or ugly or big or gross or hideous or any number of words I used to use to describe myself at various points in my adolescence.

I never tell her she can't have a treat because she might get fat. And when I talk about eating fruits and vegetables I always tell the kids it's because I want them to grow up to be strong and healthy and never because I don't want them to get fat.

So where is all of this coming from? I wish I knew so I could make it stop.

I don't want my 5 year old to worry about being fat.

I've been wondering if it's because I'm Shredding and getting excited with the way I look and feel. When she asks me why I'm "taking my exercise" as she calls it, I explain it's because mommy wants to be healthy and strong. (Which is true.) I never mention that I want to wear a bikini or that I want to wear smaller clothes. (Which is also true.)

I wonder if she can sense it though. If my actions and my words, as guarded as they may be, are sending her the wrong message about her beautiful 5-year-old body.

I hope not. Because I want her to love herself, inside and out. And I don't ever want her to have to ask me if she's too fat or too tall or too freckled.

I want her to know that she's perfect. But it's more than just knowing it in her head.

I want her to feel that way in her heart.

15 comments:

Annikke said...

I know my kids get some stuff like that from school. Now a days there are many kids who are over weight, my kids are not over weight however, but because of the ones who are society is really pushing kids to exercise and watch calories. I just had to discuss with my kids that just because you eat a treat it doesn't necessarily mean you will get fat, we need to exercise too. (although, maybe mommy should be exercising...... you look great Beth!)

babyyahyah said...

my dd is the same way too. its very sad. she started talking about getting fat around age 7. I have never ever said the F word ever either. i just don't. i never weigh myself or say anything about that but still the society impressions this self image distortion upon children.

babyyahyah said...

my dd is the same way too. its very sad. she started talking about getting fat around age 7. I have never ever said the F word ever either. i just don't. i never weigh myself or say anything about that but still the society impressions this self image distortion upon children.

RR Mama said...

You just keep telling her what you are telling her!

Jaina said...

What shows does she watch on tv or movies? That can sometimes be a place for those kinds of things. My mom even saw behavioral changes when my brother read a particular book series starring a bratty, unpleasant child. Even he agreed that he needed to not read those books anymore.

You are modeling healthy exercise for her. I think it is great to show her how to do that, especially since you are focusing on the health part of it.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Sounds like you're saying everything right on target. But what is TV telling her? What is Hannah Montana saying? Or the people on Zach & Cody? Or her friends at school?

I HATE it when other parents don't think about what they say to their kids, and then their kids repeat it to my kids. SO frustrating.

He & Me + 3 said...

It is a fine line. Being thin and perfect is pushed in every form of media on our children. I pray that mine are always comfortable in their own skin and know that they are beautiful because that is how God made them...they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Denise said...

Amen, amen.

Lee and Beth said...

You're not doing anything wrong! I think that all girls ask the same question at one point or another. Society tells us that we have to be "perfect", and that if we have even a little bit of fat on us, we're not "perfect". It really is unfortunate that now we have children at such a young age thinking that they are fat. Just keep doing what you're doing, Beth. Just keep telling her how perfect and beautiful she is just the way she is!!

Grandma T said...

......it must be because her Grandma's fat! Oh, where's my celery stick?

Momisodes said...

I think you're setting a great example for her, and answering with the right replies. I hope the same for my daughter as you do for yours.

Rebekah said...

I remember the first time one of my kids said they were fat. Caleb was only 6. I thought it strange that a boy would be so concerned with his looks- especially a boy that wasn't 'fat' at all.

I try not to be negative about weight, but I do exercise and eat healthy. I see my kids picking up on that as just a part of life. Hopefull my 'lead by example' will carry on with them.

Nap Warden said...

Ugh...Miss Peach, after her first week of preschool came home and said "Mommy, Cameron says Fiona is fat."

Really, at 4? I'm bumming:(

Christine said...

It is pretty sad that or kids can even come up with questions like that. She is beautiful!

Corey~living and loving said...

I'm in agreement that she either got it from TV or other children. It is everywhere. YOu are doing a great job with her. I also say I am helping my body be healthy and strong when I exercise or eat certain foods.