In just one day, my daughter turns five. Each day, as her self-awareness grows, she's faced with more opportunities to compare her body to the bodies of others, and each day I find myself renewing the battle for maintaining her positive body image. Trust me, it's definitely a battle. Thankfully, there are body positive statements every mom should make, and can make, in front of her daughter that not only assist me in encouraging my daughter to view herself as someone strong and beautiful and capable, but overall just makes this important battle just a little bit easier.
As a woman who has been unhappy with her body in all kinds of ways for most of her life, it's been a struggle to always present a body positive attitude and example to my daughter. This spring and summer, as I hit my highest non-pregnancy weight, it took all of my willpower not to constantly berate myself in front of her. However, choosing to be more positive has been an incredibly important lesson for me, and I can feel small changes in how I see my body, after months and months of trying to stay positive for my daughter's benefit.
I'm forgiving myself more, I'm loving myself more, and I'm more compassionate with myself when the imperfections jump out at me in the mirror. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I don't see the imperfections, but I'm working hard to ensure that it's not what my daughter focuses on as she grows up. If that's something you're aiming to achieve with your own daughter (and I truly hope you are), here are 10 body positive statement every mom with a daughter should make in front of her kids.
"You're Already Beautiful"
It shocked me how early my daughter began talking about how she would look so pretty if she just had bows in her hair, or wore a skirt, or something similar. Every time, I've countered with, "But you're beautiful already!" and wondered whether it was enough.
"Isn't It Amazing What Our Bodies Can Do?"
One of my best friends constantly reminds her kids how extraordinary their bodies are, and I love her for it. She is one of those rare women who was raised in a way that was completely body positive from the start, and it shows in how she talks about her body and her kids' bodies. They are amazing machines, and we need to appreciate all that they are capable of.
"You Look Amazing No Matter What You Wear"
Occasionally, an older-generation relative will see my daughter in a nice outfit and tell her how pretty she looks in it. My husband and I are always quick to add that while she does look pretty in that particular outfit, she looks amazing in every outfit.
"Look At How Strong You Are!"
I love celebrating my daughter's strength, especially because she is on the bottom end of the growth spectrum. As a petite girl, I worry that she will always be told that she's "so tiny," and with kids constantly having fun lifting her, I want her to remember that "small" can be strong, too.
"If These Clothes Make You Feel Good, Then You Should Wear Them"
To say that my daughter has a unique sense of style is putting it mildly. Today, for example, she went to school wearing Frozen leggings and a black tank dress with coral and green frills at the bottom, paired with a blue polar fleece hoodie. It's worth noting: it's 80 degrees outside. There was a time when I worried about matching outfits, but I've since embraced my inner lazy mom, and allow her to dress in whatever she feels comfortable in, because who needs another cookie cutter, girly outfit?
"Don't Wait For Anyone Else To Tell You You're Perfect. You Already Are."
I never want my daughter to look for her worth in someone else. I don't want her to need outside validation. I can't guarantee that she won't, but I will keep drilling it into her in the hopes that it will stick, especially as boys (or girls) come into the picture, down the line.
"There Are A Million Different Ways To Be Beautiful"
There is such diversity in beauty, but it can be hard to see that when you look at what (and who) is visible in the media and/or listen to what our society has arbitrarily decided is beautiful. I want my daughter to understand that beauty really does take countless different forms because, with that attitude, there's room for everyone to be beautiful.
"You Don't Need To Look Like A Celebrity To Be Pretty"
Our culture is celebrity-obsessed in a way that previous generations can't wrap their heads around. There's no point in lamenting what we can't actively change, so we need to make sure that our daughters understand that those beautiful bodies and faces aren't the only type of beautiful out there.
"I'd Love To Go Swimming With You"
Does this not sound like a body positive statement to you? I really believe it is, because it means that you aren't thinking about how you look in a bathing suit, when you respond in the affirmative. Or, if you are thinking about that, you're not letting your daughter know that how you look in a bathing suit bothers you. You're letting her know that what's important is having fun with her.
"Do You Know What's Beautiful? Smart Is Beautiful. Strong Is Beautiful. Funny Is Beautiful."
I want my daughter to understand that it's her character, her personality, her essence that is what makes her beautiful. Girls (and children in general, honestly) can be so mean as they grow up and work out what's important (which is, so often, what's on the outside rather than the inside), and I want my daughter to be looking inside herself, as well as her friends, to determine a person's worth.