Sunday 15 April 2012

Seeing Myself Though My Kids Eyes... Not So #SilentSunday

I was sat reading my book the other day, happily waiting while Miss E and Miss M went on a big soft play frame at Butlins and all of a sudden I heard a frantic shout 'Mummy, Mummy, Mum' and as I looked around I saw Miss E waving at me and saying to her new friend 'that is my mummy, the pretty one with the long curly hair'. She looked so proud as she pointed me out.

This really got me thinking about how our kids view us and how much more positive their perception of us is. Just think how great it would be if we could view ourselves in that positive light, how much more empowered and confident would we be? We all know that we teach our children what they learn about body image and feeling happy with themselves and that what we say does not matter one iota if we are not backing it up with our actions and our every day comments.

If you asked me to describe myself, the first thing I would tell you is that I am fat, overweight or if I was being kind to myself then I might say I was 'very curvy'.  Amazing really that I let this one fact cloud all the good things I do and I am. It does not even occur to our children so it really begs the question of why we allow something as rubbish as our weight (or any other negative held perception of ourselves) to matter to us.

Of course this would not be how I would describe myself to them but they could easily overhear a conversation.  Any kind of negative word should not be uttered about myself really. I am not naive, I know that some things about me are negative but I have a choice to either do something about them or forgot them to be frank. Whinging and being cross at my lot in life will achieve nothing.  So I make an active decision not to do that.

I have specifically added the photo above as I do not like it at all.  I look at myself and I see fat, fluffy hair and a distorted smile and I wonder if that is called vanity?  Why do I look at 99% of all photos of me and hate them? However, what I remember from this day is fun, time with my kids and my brother and a thoroughly good day.  At this point the kids and I were having a real laugh trying to get a decent photo and that is why the tickles started.  Surely that memory is far more important than how I look?  Yes of course it is and that is why it is here.  God forbid that I ever fall ill and die before my children but if I do how important would it be that they had loads of photos of me with them having fun and living life.  Makes you think.
As a way of helping me accept that I am OK, good enough, a Mummy to be proud of, I asked my kids what they loved about me and here is what they said -
  • You snuggle with us at bedtime and watch Madeline
  • We do prayers
  • You cook us yummy food
  • You play games with me
  • You look after me when I am poorly
  • You are soft and cuddly (hmm a new way to view my fat)
  • You buy us sweets
  • You help me with my homework
  • We go swimming together
  • We do nose kisses
I have to say that by the end of the conversation I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. Next time I describe myself to someone new (or someone who can not see me) I must remember to start with something like, I am kind, I am giving or anything other than I am fat!

Fat does not have to define me.

I do not have to be labelled.

Whilst on holiday I attended a parenting seminar and when it finished I met dh and the kids and JJ asked where I had been, I jokingly said 'I have been learning to be super mum JJ'.  To which he answered very seriously, 'you don't need that mummy, as you already are supermum'. At age 8 JJ is mature enough that I was able to ask him if he really meant that and he said 'of course, you are the best mummy in the world'.  Ohh what a marvellous feeling to be loved and appreciated.

I highly recommend that if you have kids old enough you try this with them.  See what they have to say about you, I bet it will give you an unexpected boost!

Next time you are tempted to be down on yourself, remember the high regard that your kids hold you in and know that God feels that way too.
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