By Crystal Karges
This post was written to contribute to the topic of Self-Care for the What Lola Likes blog by Crystal Karges. All facts, opinions, and professional tips are Crystal’s.
“Leaving the world in better shape than how you found it is more important than the shape of your body” – Renee Englen, PhD, Beauty Sick
What have you missed out on with your kids because wearing a bathing suit was involved?
Summer is synonymous with bathing suits, and for many mamas, this brings up a lot of insecurities.
If a swimsuit is necessary, some moms would prefer to sit on the sidelines that to step out in their bathing suit.
Maybe this is you, mama?
If so, please know that you are not alone.
Maybe putting on a bathing suit brings insecurities, shame, and self-doubt to the surface for you.
Maybe you have missed out on making memories with your kids and the people in your life that you love because you feel embarrassed about your body or uncomfortable in your own skin.
A huge part of the problem is that many of us have internalized the message that our dieting culture has screamed in our faces for decades: that our worth as a person is dependent on the size of our bodies or how much we weigh.
That we need to erase the signs of motherhood from our bodies before we can start really living, that happiness is associated with living in a thinner, flawless body.
How much of your life has been put on hold because of these lies and the arbitrary standards that our society has set for mothers?
Let me share some truth with you, mama.
You don’t need to wait for weight loss to happen to have permission to start living.
You don’t need to take up less space in this world to make yourself or others feel more comfortable.
You don’t need to miss out on making memories with your kiddos because you’re worried that your body is not good enough.
You are worthy, acceptable, and loved just as you are – right now, in this very moment in time.
You deserve to start living your best life without having to change the way your body looks or losing weight.
You deserve to respect yourself and be kind to your body, no matter how your body has changed.
And all that nonsense that makes mothers believe that our bodies shouldn’t change through childbirth?
Yeah, throw that out with the garbage, too.
Because bringing our babies into the world is a transformative process.
All those stretch marks and dimples and stretched out stomachs are proof that your body was capable of the miraculous.
Why would we hide it or cover it up, be ashamed of it or pretend it doesn’t exist? You are a miracle, mama. Your body is beautiful proof of that. And so our those precious kiddos of yours.
There is nothing wrong with you.
What is seriously screwed up is the toxic diet culture that forcefully shoves weight loss tactics down mothers’ throats, making women believe that weight loss is necessary to be happy.
News Flash: If you are constantly obsessed about changing the size of your body, you won’t have any mental space to enjoy the things that truly matter in life.
If weight loss is your prerequisite for living, you will never be happy with yourself – no matter what you weigh. Because it will never be enough to make you feel good enough. There is no magical number that will change your life. You will feel miserable no matter what.
That means that the way you can feel about yourself and your body are completely independent of how much you weigh.
You can allow yourself to step boldly into your one and only life NOW, without having to change anything about yourself or your body.
Here’s my encouragement for you, mama, because time is fleeting.
Don’t let your kids’ childhood and the moments you have with them slip through your fingertips for fear of your body not being good enough.
Find a bathing suit or whatever it is (A comfy t-shirt and board shorts work great!) that helps you feel comfortable playing with your kids.
No matter your body type, size or shape, you deserve to enjoy time with your kids – whether you’re at the pool, the beach, a waterpark, camping at a lake.
That time starts now, not someday.
The best part of this?
No weight loss is required. You can literally start today.
I promise you that your kids won’t remember or care about how much you weigh, what bathing suit you wore or what you looked like at the pool.
They aren’t looking at you through a lens of self-criticism or picking out the flaws that are only visible to you.
To them, you are their everything.
They want you to be part of their lives TODAY.
At the end of the day, they will remember that you were there, that you were part of their lives, that you were playing with them, laughing and enjoying them.
There is no magic number or weight that can make this happen for you and your kids, mama.
You are the only one who can intentionally take a stand against diet cultural and societal norms that want to keep you small and from enjoying the life you were meant to live.
Be the Person You Want Your Kids to See.
As you begin embracing a way of living that isn’t defined by your body size or weight, remember that your kids are also watching.
Our kids often reflect what they observe from us.
What behaviors do you want them to mirror, mama?
Do you want to raise children who are living boldly in their lives?
Do you want your kids to be kind to themselves and others?
How would it make you feel to watch your child sideline his or her life because they felt their body simply wasn’t good enough?
Bringing up kids who live confidently in their one and only bodies has to start with us and the way we treat our own bodies.
They are watching, listening, and internalizing their own perception about their bodies from what they see from us.
So let’s change the narrative around beauty and body size/weight, shall we?
Let’s teach them to be confident in themselves by doing the things we love.
Let’s show them how to respect their bodies by taking care of ourselves.
Let’s exemplify compassion and kindness by speaking to ourselves in a gentler way.
Let’s celebrate the beauty of body diversity by learning to accept our own bodies.
Instead of chasing an elusive dream about the body you wish you had, make a resolve to start living life in the body you have RIGHT NOW.
Time won’t wait for you, mama.
As you start speaking to yourself kinder and treating your body with the respect it deserves, you will learn to make peace with it.
Weight loss or changing your body is not a requirement for accepting your body or to start living. So stop waiting and letting life pass you by.
At the end of your life, you won’t care about the bathing suit you wore or what your body looked like.
All that will matter is that you were there for your kids, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
A Maternal Health Specialist, Child Feeding Expert, and Food & Body Image Coach for Mothers. Crystal is passionate about helping mamas build a peaceful relationship with food & their bodies so they can confidently nourish themselves & their kids and bring joy back to eating.
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