Follow:
Children, Feminism, Motherhood

I Lie to My Children

My daughter Zoey is three years old, with all that being three entails. Some people say it’s actually worse than the terrible twos. Somedays I would agree. In my experience as a mother the third year is an interesting one in the sense that it really walks the line between infancy and childhood. Two year olds are still very much babies, four year olds are not. Lately, in all of her obliviousness of societal norms, Zoey has been asking people to show her their bellybuttons.

I Lie to My Children

I giggle every time. But I remember the first time she asked me, I laughed and then cringed when I realized she was serious. Some mothers are awarded the fortune of having bodies left relatively unscathed by their giant pregnant bellies, I am not one of those mothers. I typically do not volunteer the sight of my tummy to anyone. And I am ashamed to admit that I have told my three year old daughter “no” when she asked to see my belly button. I am even more ashamed to say that when she asked me why, I responded with; “because mommy is fat.” Zoey just accepted this as fact, said “oh okay” and went about her day. She was unaware of the grave mistake I had made, and it was one I had made many times before in different situations.

I Lie to My Children

You see, I am not that fat. I am by no means a bikini model, but I can run 4+ miles without stopping for a break, run up all 8 bajillion stairs in my school library, and still land front flips on my kids new trampoline. But in that moment, I had taught my daughter that the way I looked was something to be ashamed of. Β I confirmed that only the flattest tummies should be shown and that stretch marks are secrets. I told her what was okay to look at and what wasn’t, all without really meaning to. I have the same affect on my son when I hide my imperfections from him, and then tell him that I don’t show X area of my body to people because I don’t like it.

As the most dominant influence in their lives as their parent (yes, their dad plays a role too. No, I am not dadΒ shaming here) I am shaping their perception of beauty everyday. I am defining their perceptions of themselves. I am shaping their consciousness with my actions more than my words, and I am sending mixed messages when I tell them in words that “everyone is beautiful” but I hide my own bellybutton from a three year old.

I Lie to My Children

And this is why I have learned to lie to my children. Just hear me out here…

I fully realize the impact that I have on my children. I realize that Jace hears me when I say casually that “mommy is fat,” and that Zoey sees me when I hide my insecurities. So I have come to lie to them, with my actions and my words, in hopes that someday maybe… it won’t be a lie anymore. When Zoey asks me to see my bellybutton now, I flash it proudly. My once adorably pierced naval is scarred and imperfect. But here’s the thing… she doesn’t even notice. Truly. She giggles, as she does at all bellybuttons, and goes on with her day. And I’ve given her the gift of self acceptance in the mean time. I’ve not taught her the lesson that there is something wrong with a post maternal body. She thinks that it’s just another bellybutton… and she’s right.

I hate everything about the way I look in a bathing suit, as I am afraid the majority of women do. But we live in Florida, bathing suits are an unavoidable reality and I don’t own a single one piece. I shop Victoria’s Secret’s swim sale like a boss, and I wear every single item I buy. I lie to my children as I don’t let on for a second that there a probably a million reasons that I could opt for a more conservative suit. I lie to them as I swim, tan, and play in the sand like I’m the hottest mom on the beach.

I won’t lie to you though, dear readers, it is not an easy fight. Lying is not second nature to someone like me, in all other instances I am honest to my core. I still hesitate when it’s time for the t-shirt to come off at the beach, but in the end…it always does. Body image in the Bikini State can be a real bitch, but it is a lie that I fight to portray. And somedays, I do in fact, believe in my own lie.

sigA

Share:
Previous Post Next Post

You may also like

  • I think it’s perfectly okay to not be comfortable showing skin (my own swimsuit is long-sleeved and has shorts and I love it and feel very sporty and cool in it)–but I like the way you handle it, too, choosing to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of teaching your kids valuable lessons!

    • Oh of course. I am not knocking modesty! We are all comfortable in our own ways. But modesty that is born of insecurity within yourself, that is what I fight with. I strive to exude to my children that I am comfortable in my “imperfections,” and that can certainly be done sans bikini as well! Thanks for reading Rachel! πŸ˜‰

  • I think it’s perfectly okay to not be comfortable showing skin (my own swimsuit is long-sleeved and has shorts and I love it and feel very sporty and cool in it)–but I like the way you handle it, too, choosing to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of teaching your kids valuable lessons!

    • Oh of course. I am not knocking modesty! We are all comfortable in our own ways. But modesty that is born of insecurity within yourself, that is what I fight with. I strive to exude to my children that I am comfortable in my “imperfections,” and that can certainly be done sans bikini as well! Thanks for reading Rachel! πŸ˜‰

  • It is great that you realized you were sending mixed messages when your kids are so young. I wouldn’t call it lying, I would call it being a good role model.

    • Oh thank you! I suppose it’s “lying with good intentions” haha! Glad you popped over. πŸ™‚

  • It is great that you realized you were sending mixed messages when your kids are so young. I wouldn’t call it lying, I would call it being a good role model.

    • Oh thank you! I suppose it’s “lying with good intentions” haha! Glad you popped over. πŸ™‚

  • Haley Janelle

    This is fantastic. I am a very big proponent for body image acceptance early on, and you are doing an awesome job just by being aware that this is a huge issue. Good on ya!

  • Haley Janelle

    This is fantastic. I am a very big proponent for body image acceptance early on, and you are doing an awesome job just by being aware that this is a huge issue. Good on ya!

    • Thank you. Having children has made me hyper aware of these issues, I’m trying hard not to indirectly pass my insecurities on to my own children.

  • Colleen C

    Okay, so, to be completely honest, I’m sitting here, watching a movie with my own 3 year old, sobbing a little after reading this. I’m very careful with what I say to my daughter about my own body and am so very appreciative that other moms are striving to be positive about their body images, for their children, as well. Thank you for sharing such wonderful bravery and truth. You go, Mama! xoxoxo

    • Aw, thank you so much. I’m so glad this resonates with more than just me. I think this generations of moms will be changing a lot of things, and in a good way. It’s a hard fight somedays, but a necessary one!

  • Colleen C

    Okay, so, to be completely honest, I’m sitting here, watching a movie with my own 3 year old, sobbing a little after reading this. I’m very careful with what I say to my daughter about my own body and am so very appreciative that other moms are striving to be positive about their body images, for their children, as well. Thank you for sharing such wonderful bravery and truth. You go, Mama! xoxoxo

    • Aw, thank you so much. I’m so glad this resonates with more than just me. I think this generations of moms will be changing a lot of things, and in a good way. It’s a hard fight somedays, but a necessary one!

  • Love this! I too have to be careful what I say and do around my kids. My daughter is almost 8 now, and it worries me how she perceives her own body.

  • Love this! I too have to be careful what I say and do around my kids. My daughter is almost 8 now, and it worries me how she perceives her own body.

    • Thank you. I worry about these things already and my kids are only 3 and 5!

  • You are awesome for lying to your children! We all should take your lead and do it too. I have sons and I worry that they will grow up thinking that all female bodies look like the ones they see on TV because all I do is cover mine up. This post deserves an applause!

    • yes yes yes! I worry about this too. Its a vicious cycle in which both genders are trapped. If more women were proud of their “regular” bodies, they wouldn’t seem so unusual.

  • You are awesome for lying to your children! We all should take your lead and do it too. I have sons and I worry that they will grow up thinking that all female bodies look like the ones they see on TV because all I do is cover mine up. This post deserves an applause!

    • yes yes yes! I worry about this too. Its a vicious cycle in which both genders are trapped. If more women were proud of their “regular” bodies, they wouldn’t seem so unusual.

  • Zainab Oke

    Its awesome that you’re lying to your daughter as well as yourself. I think of it as something like an affirmation. Even though you don’t necessary believe it and your actions are contrary to your words and thoughts they bring you closer to self acceptance and thus what you beleive in your mind are imperfections are nothing but the norm to your daughter(and son)

    • That is the goal! To no longer perpetuate the expectations that aren’t real for everybody, and hopefully my children will know better. πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  • Zainab Oke

    Its awesome that you’re lying to your daughter as well as yourself. I think of it as something like an affirmation. Even though you don’t necessary believe it and your actions are contrary to your words and thoughts they bring you closer to self acceptance and thus what you beleive in your mind are imperfections are nothing but the norm to your daughter(and son)

    • That is the goal! To no longer perpetuate the expectations that aren’t real for everybody, and hopefully my children will know better. πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  • Great post. I think of this as “fake it until you make it”… both in terms of your own body image and society’s expectations.

    • haha! Yes I guess that is true. Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

  • Great post. I think of this as “fake it until you make it”… both in terms of your own body image and society’s expectations.

    • haha! Yes I guess that is true. Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    Where are you in Florida? I’m in WPB!

    • Sarasota area! But I’m always happy to find other Fla bloggers, were a minority it seems! haha

  • Dana Brillante-Peller

    Where are you in Florida? I’m in WPB!

    • Sarasota area! But I’m always happy to find other Fla bloggers, were a minority it seems! haha

Read previous post:
Grunge + Booties

You may or may not know by now... that I'm obsessed with booties. Short booties, tall booties, heeled booties, and...

Close