I always imagined that I'd have a daughter, but when it actually happened, I was overwhelmed by these intense thoughts as to what she might, eventually, go through. I acknowledge that boys and girls have to deal with body image issues, but girls generally have to face more challenges on that (and many other) fronts, thanks to unrealistic beauty expectations and media messages and, well, you get the idea. It can be difficult to think that there's a way to protect your daughter from the inevitable (and sure, you won't be able to shield her from every dangerous message) but there are body confident acts every mom with a daughter can practice that will set an example and a standard of body confidence that your daughter can take with her when she ventures into the world, and is told that she shouldn't love the body she has.
Truthfully, some of these have been harder for me to put into practice, than others. When you've been inundated with messages that essentially tell you that you should hate your figure, for the majority of your life, it's difficult to change your way of thinking and/or treat yourself and your body with love and appreciation and confidence. I am borderline obsessive-compulsive, and you can often find me staring into the mirror, looking for stray eyebrow hairs to pluck. I have, however, made a vow to always go swimming when my daughter asks me to, regardless of how I currently feel about my body. It's not easy, but I want her to remember having fun with her mother, not watching her mother sit on the sidelines because she was too body conscious.
Which is why I ask that while you read the following list, you understand that I am directing these suggestions at myself, first and foremost. This is going to be a constant journey and struggle and effort for me; a part of parenthood I didn't necessarily see coming, but am reminded (day after day) of its undeniable importance. Plus, I don't know many moms out there who aren't works-in-progress, especially when it comes to body positivity. Having kids does a real number on your body image, but if you want to make sure your daughters grow up feeling strong and empowered, here are seven acts of body confidence you should be doing around them.