No matter how much you workout or try to see the good in your body, being body positive for your kids isn't the easiest thing. Especially in a world where the bodies in the media are shown to look a certain, very limited, narrow way in order to garner praise (and garner the people who own those bodies love, which we're generally taught cannot be gotten except when "earned" through having a "perfect" body). But adopting a workout routine into your life, like starting the barre workout, can be the thing to make you more verbally and visibly body positive, for yourself and your kids too. Because if you hadn't noticed, they notice everything.
Being body positive on a constant basis means being able to praise your own form in a way that isn't giving yourself back-handed compliments or followed by all of your self-criticisms. Kind of difficult, I know, trust me. But practicing barre comes with a lot of things to amp up that body positivity and make you want to keep going back to it for more.
Barre is, at its core, a combination of ballet and fat-burning moves that also work to tone while working out your entire core muscles. You won't see a Shaun T type of figure doing 60 seconds of fast, intensive high knees, but you will be doing double the work with careful, precise movements that make your body shake in the best possible way. Barre also gives you the opportunity to learn what your body can really do, which is a whole lot more than you'd think.
When I started, I could barely get my heel to stretch up to my butt during the cool down period. Well, I couldn't even get it close to my cheeks. Now, I've almost got it down. Not the craziest accomplishment to some, but for me, that means my thighs are starting to work with me and let me get my true stretch on. And you know what? Guess who loves her thighs a lot more now. Bam! That's the thing about barre: It makes you more body positive for your kids because it makes you fall in love with your body like nothing else can. Here's how:
1. You Feel Like A Less Graceful Ballerina
When I started barre, I found myself showing off to my husband all of the new moves I was learning and he told me that I looked like a ballerina. Which, OK, was kind of the best compliment I could have asked for or needed, since starting the workout that was kicking my ass. But feeling like a not-as-graceful ballerina makes you appreciate what your body can do and what it can learn to do so quickly.
2. It's A Workout Your Kids Can Actually Watch You Do In Your Home
Since I can do barre at home, there have been plenty of times when my son would be in and out of the room, watching me, watching the screen I was mimicking, and then trying to do the moves himself. You really can't have enough opportunities to demonstrate to your kids what it looks like to make your body strong, healthy, and super functional.
3. Your Kids Will See You Sticking With It
It would be so easy to give up on something difficult for you, but if you stick with barre, pushing your body through each session, your kids will see that commitment and, again, nothing sad about that.
4. You'll Be Hella Strong In Due Time
I haven't been doing barre for the longest time, but I am already seeing results in terms of how my body looks and feels, and it's making me feel confident, which I have to think is obvious in most things I do or say. And kids notice those sort of things. They also notice you being able to balance small things on your very toned and lifted ass. So, there's that.
5. Barre Is A Reachable Goal
You only need a chair, maybe a floor mat, and some small weights. That's it. When you have no excuses and the moves are right there, in videos and even on YouTube, you have no reason not to strive for becoming a non-trained ballerina. How does this make you a better mom? I mean, finding ways to achieve incredible gains in the most flexible, attainable, lowest maintenance way possible? Yeah, I could see that being applicable to other parts of parenting.
6. There's Nowhere To Go But Up
Barre starts out pretty hard, but in a really good way. And it never gets any easier exactly, but instead you build endurance and just get better yourself. There is no giving up on your body because as barre gets harder, you get stronger. *Insert obvious parallel to parenthood here*
7. They Can Do It With You
The cool thing about barre (besides its super real results) is that you can do it at home, and your kids can mimic your moves along with you. Making fitness and self-care a family activity is probably the best way to instill a primary sense of positive feelings about those things in your kids.
8. You'll Be Randomly Doing The Moves Throughout The House On Any Given Day
Barre is just fun. You feel like you're moving fluidly, kicking those legs up high on either side of you (even if you actually look like a freaking fool). It still feels cool, though, meeting the potential your body has and praising it openly. The simple truth is, barre shows you what your body can do, and makes you really fall in love with your body, and suddenly it's like this phenomenal thing you can't stop playing with (not like that, guys). There's nothing that demonstrates body positivity to kids like a parent who clearly thinks their body is awesome.
9. They'll Notice That Very Real After Workout Glow
I don't mean the sheen of sweat all over your body, although yes, they'll probably notice that too, because barre is hard and your sweat will be so real that it ought to be part of the weather report. But I mean the way your face shines after working out, making you look like you never need another drop of makeup for the rest of your life (not that you "need" makeup, but like, you get it). Seeing mom looking the most pleased with herself when she's sweaty and makeup-free? Not a terrible thing for your kids to be exposed to.
10. Those Happy Hormones Are Obvious To Everyone
When mom or dad is in a bad mood, the kids pick up on that almost too easily. So when you're in a euphoric mood, thanks to barre, you'd better believe that that sort of attitude is contagious and that your kids are seeing where it's coming from.
11. You're Doing Something Healthy For Your Body
As opposed to killing yourself with workouts that push you too far, or starving yourself in an effort to achieve someone else's idea of a "perfect" weight or size. Barre is such a fantastic workout for doing things that fall squarely on the "working out to help your body" side of the line, as opposed to the "working out to the point of hurting your body, or because you hate your body" side.
12. You'll Master The Art Of The Humble Brag
Yeah, I know, you don't need to post to social media if you workout in order to make that workout count. But tackling barre sessions is no joke, especially since, by the middle of the workout, you'll be sweating in all sorts of nooks, crannies, and cracks. This is accomplishing a new workout routine that makes you feel like you're stretching parts of your body you never have before. So go on, clog up your friends' news feeds all you want. You've earned this. And if there's one body positive thing you shouldn't be ashamed to teach your kids, it's that they should never be ashamed to openly love their body and all that it can do.