LOVE your #Mumbod Mamas or your daughters will hate theirs
So last year I went to watch the legendary Steve Biddulf (author of Raising Girls and Raising Boys) speak at Wimbledon High School and it was by far the most inspirational talk I have been to in a very long time. Steve has been advocating for Boys for over thirty years, he said they needed help, girls, well they were fine. That was until the last decade when the marketing execs got together and decided how to target the pre teen market. They held a big conference where they decided the best strategy was to literally to play on young girls’ anxieties including body image, which is so disgusting and unbelievable but because of this girls have been forced to grow up way too quickly. In his book he states 'they are loosing out on four whole years of peace'. The pre teen market has made them act like teens, 'when you're ten, you're not pre anything, you're just ten'. In his wonderful book, he looks at Girlhood as a quest with five important stages.
0-2 - Do I feel safe and loved?
2-5 - Can I explore the world?
5-10 - Am I getting along with people?
10-14 - *Finding their soul*
14-18 - Preparing for adulthood.
Girls naturally mature quicker and grow up faster anyway but now they are being bombarded with the wrong kind of messages during the soul searching part of their journey, they are having to deal with things they are not emotionally ready for. They are becoming confused and lost. Body image is a BIG issue. Self harm, eating disorders and mental health issues are on the rise and with social media invading their minds at all hours of the day, they can't get a break. Steve talks about TV being the third parent. We can do all we can as Mum and Dad but those media messages will still get in. So what do we have to do? We have to create POSITIVE messages. We need to show them how to love themselves by loving ourselves. The more I am part of this parenting gig, the courses I go on as a doula, the birth world books I devour, the more I realise the only way we truly have an impact is by what kids witness, what they feel and what seeps into their bones is the life they are a part of.
I've been on a long self love journey myself and I think that's important as a parent. I believe you need to bring fresh eyes, a neutral approach, understand their feelings and their individual reactions because one size definitely doesn't fit all and that is why parenting is so hard! But basically don't bring your own stuff to the table. Bring the good stuff and bring it in bucket loads but leave your own issues out of it. We need to heal so we can help our kids be more fulfilled. Self love is an act of kindness to yourself but also to those around you especially your little ones whose hearts are so open to what you have to offer them. If you can love yourself and your glorious mum/dad bod, they will too. They won't be body conscious because it just won't be a thing. Imagine growing up with a mother who you think is the most beautiful person in the world (because this IS what they think) and then you see her criticising herself all the time...where does that leave you? We all do it, it's so easy to be hard on ourselves, it's much harder to be kind and loving but our bodies and minds need it, we all need to embrace more love.
So Mamas and Papas, please no more body shaming, your bodies are beautiful just the way they are. And remember those little loving tots think you're basically J Lo or Will Smith anyway so get behind their eyes for a change :)