The other day I offered my sweet 6-year-old a homemade muffin, only to have him turn it down. He'd eat muffins exclusively if we let him, so I asked if he was feeling OK. He replied, "I shouldn't. My friend told me to lose weight." My son is 6. My heart broke, then shattered when my son asked, "Do you need to lose weight, too?" In that moment every awful thing people say to "plus size" moms like me bombarded my mind; things that make me feel less than.
I want all of my kids to grow up to love their bodies, and I want them to know that they deserve love no matter what they look like. Unfortunately, as a mom who is overweight, I have learned firsthand that society bombards our children with an entirely different message. Being healthy is synonymous with being thin, anyone who is overweight should want, desperately, to be thin, and unsolicited weight loss advice should be shared ad nauseam because, again, our entire goal as humans is to be conventionally thin and attractive. If you're not thin, or you have no desire to be thin, something is innately and morally wrong with you and you should be shamed and judged into losing weight (often in an unhealthy way) until you meet an unrealistic standard of beauty. I don’t go a day without being subtly or overtly fat-shamed by my friends, relatives, and even people I’ve never met before, so trust me when I say that these overt social messages are, unfortunately, working.
I’ve started talking back and confronting people head on, because not only does it need to stop but, obviously, my children are listening, too. I don't want my kids to believe that my worth as a mother, and a woman, hinges on my ability to weigh below a certain threshold, lose the so-called baby weight, or shrink myself down to a certain size. Being fat does not, and never will, make me a bad mom.