My only resolution
I’ve already confessed that I’m pretty good at throwing myself some pretty epic pity-parties. Seriously, button me up in some too-tight pre-pregnancy pants and keep me up past 10 pm and I start to spiral out of control and into a good ol’ fashioned self-loathing session. A couple of weeks ago, I was I literally whining to Michael about one thing and then interjected out of nowhere, “Plus, I don’t feed our kids enough vegetables!” before I buried my face in my hands in a very dramatic Snow White-running-through-the-forest-to-escape-a-creeper-with-a-shank kind of way. The negative thoughts spread through me like venom from a snake bite, and word-vomiting my self-proclaimed flaws all over my unsuspecting shoulder to cry on tends to help me feel like I’m purging the negativity right out of my system.
But I’m trying to change. Because, it’s January and this year, I only made one goal----to be nice to myself. I realize that kind of sounds like a cop out resolution, but I see it as kind of an umbrella goal. Like maybe if I can be kinder to myself then I can keep the drops of rain (body image issues, comparing my weaknesses to other people’s strengths, etc.) from soaking me and the little girls I’m raising to the bone.
It’s hard because I am a queen at fault-finding… especially when it comes to my appearance. As a teenager I was constantly pinching my love handles while frowning into a mirror. As an adult when I finally reached my “goal weight” I obsessed over every ounce gained on the scale. Annoyingly, I referred to myself as fat far too often and crashed dieted way too much. I was mean to myself. Just mean.
After having a baby I made jokes about my extra skin and stretched out stomach. I tried a variety of extreme diets. I went to bed hungry and made different meals for myself than I did for my family. I worked out on an empty stomach way too many times. When I hit a weight that I was okay with I posted before and after pictures…the before pictures being only 4 weeks after I delivered my baby. Like that’s even fair.
Basically, if someone had treated my daughters the way I was treating myself, I would have punched them in the face. I’m over here, trying to raise strong, confident, and brave girls. They will get plenty of body-shaming rhetoric as they grow older---they do not need to hear it from me. Because if being a mom has taught me anything, it has taught me that they are watching me. So, is it really important that they see me fit back into my wedding dress? No. They need a mom who is healthy and strong. One who exercises and is a good example of eating a variety of healthy foods. One who is ok with the fact that her body has changed as she has grown older. One whose happiness is not determined by a number on a scale. One who recognizes that her weaknesses might be someone else’s strengths and that doesn’t make her less than.
You know that part of Mean Girls, when Regina George tells Caty, “You’re like, really pretty.” And Caty says, “Thank you.” And then Regina replies, “So you agree? You think you’re really pretty?” I want my daughters to be able to say “YES!” and not to be vain or conceited---just confident. Why do so many think it's a bad thing to agree with anything good said about them? We don’t have to deflect compliments to be humble and kind.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been working on viewing myself through a much kinder lens by trying to treat myself the way I treat my daughters. I don’t dismiss their talents and point out their flaws all the time. I celebrate them and praise them and just think they are beautiful little miracles. I love how quickly they believe me, too. When I tell Ellie that she is smart, or pretty, or nice she replies, "I am." Oh, what would I give to ensure that she could keep that confidence with her for the rest of her life?
Loving myself the way I am is still a work in progress in many ways, but I already feel so much lighter and happier. A friend of mine complimented me on my figure the other day, and instead of hurling out all of my usual retorts I smiled and said thank you... and it didn't even hurt! It was weird, but you know, it's the new me. 2019, you are shaping up to be a pretty great year.