Modeling with Care

I started to hear this word used a lot as I became a parent.  The concept sunk in and I became very aware of how I treated myself, others and my every day.  Now my Ella is almost five and really watching, listening and taking in everything.  One day last year, I picked her up from school and she told me, as she lifted up her skort, that her thighs were fat while patting and squeezing them.  I said, “Ella, you are so silly, your thighs are not fat!”.  Well, this year, twice more.  Last week, she told me she only wanted fruit for breakfast.

No cause for alarm as she can polish off a huge bowl of Haagen Daz’s chocolate chocolate chip and still want more.   I don’t think she really ‘knows’ what she is saying but I’m not sure where she is picking up on this negative body-talk, perhaps at school?   I contemplated talking about this with her teacher so that she was aware that my little girl was discovering the dreaded body-image-attack.  I then reconsidered and realized that the foundation of support must be built at home.  Everything outside of our home is and always will be out of our control.

Now, I occasionally ask her about words like ‘fat’ and ‘pretty’ and ‘ugly’.  What makes a person beautiful?  What are some things you love about that friend?  Perhaps it is because she makes you feel good and you have a great time together?  It’s so imperative for me to help her to realize that what makes a person beautiful is not necessarily how they look but how they treat themselves, others and life.  I know she will come across other girls she may feel are ‘better’ throughout her journey.  And they just may well be better at something else.  I just hope I can do my part as a mother to instill enough self-love/confidence in her to celebrate and be inspired by these people rather than feel threatened.

Back to the modeling.  I hope for her to try and escape the notion that you have to be a ‘model’ to be beautiful, to consider the possibility that it is from within.  To realize it’s the light that shines from within those big brown eyes that is so beautiful.  Well, it starts with me and how I exist.  For this, I am grateful.  This little blonde reminder causes me to check myself, my life and how I am treating it and others.  Not only for her but for me, too.

The greatest gift is wrapped in a smile, it’s a compliment (and a super-model)!