Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Why it's dangerous to shower with your daughter

The most dangerous thing you can do is to take a shower with your six year old daughter. It could potentially harm even the most confident, self-loving mothers out there.

I know because I recently took a shower with my daughter. Big mistake. There is nothing like someone pointing to every fat roll, patch of cellulite and saggy part of your body at seven in the morning.

I don't normally take showers with my daughter, but this particular morning, she came into the bathroom while I was showering and batted her sweet little eyes and said, "Mommy, I had a dream last night that I got to take a shower with you."

She looked so sweet and innocent standing there in her flannel Dora the Explorer pajamas. Besides, I thought to myself, what could it hurt, the worst thing that could happen would be she would go to school with clean hair and face.

So I agreed and before I knew it she has climbed in with me. And that was when it happened, I truly believe she was temporarily possessed by some kind of body-shaming-demon-from hell.

Her eyes glossed over and I swear in almost military fashion she began inspecting my body. I could see in her eyes she was analyzing every nook and fat-filled cranny.

First, she started with my belly, asking me if there was another baby in there, because it sure looked like it. Her glance went up my body slowly until she fixed on my breasts.

She pointed out that my breasts were really fat and asked why were they still so fat and full of milk. She was convinced it was for the baby I was carrying in my belly.

I told her there was no milk, but unconvinced, she advised me that once I had the "baby" I should lose weight.

And to put icing on the cake, she asked me if she too would be so fat when she was old like me. I tried to tell her I was still 25, but  she insisted that I was old.

She talked about my fat butt, as she called it and how big it was now. She asked if it hurt when I sat down. She asked why I didn't exercise more and try to lose weight. She talked about how she learned in school that people get fat by not eating healthy and that I must eat healthy.

I seriously could not get in a word, she just went on and on and on. And I couldn't wash my hair fast enough!

It was too early for this talk. I wanted to say so much to her, about how it's not nice to call people fat, that everyone is different. Most of all I wanted to tell her I loved my jiggly body. But instead I told her I was getting out of the shower, I was done. And it was true, I was done with her honesty, so I ran away.

But seeing myself through her eyes really helped me realize how it was time I stepped up and set a better example for her. Not to try to get skinny, but just to be healthy. For her, but most importantly for me.

So the next time I shower with my daughter she will say,"Wow mom you are looking good!"

And don't worry, after I had my morning tea, I gave her the smack down on body shaming. And most important I repeated myself like I always do, and told her:  I may not have the perfect body but it's mine and I love it, most of the time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why I smile when I hear a tantrum

Who knew watching a random child on the street having a tantrum could change my life?

Well maybe not change my life in a profound way like almost crashing in an airplane would, but it did make me start thinking about things differently.

It happened this morning, after I dropped the kids off at school. I was walking back to my car when I heard the loudest, most horrible blood curdling squeal you could ever hear. I turned around and behind me I saw a toddler lying on the side walk flapping around like a fish out of water. 

It immediately brought me back to when my kids were the ones cleaning the sidewalk with their backs. I remembered those days and I remembered when I wanted to run away and pretend like the child wasn't mine. 

I will never forget the time my son had a tantrum in the supermarket and an old lady just looked at me straight in the face and laughed as she walked by us. At the time, I thought it was rude, thinking how could she laugh at me during such a traumatic experience. But today, I realized why, and it was such a self-confidence-building-kinda- feeling.

She laughed because she knew what I was going through. She knew that in the grand scheme of life and raising a child, a tantrum was one of the easiest things you would  have to deal with, but it was an important rite of passage in parenthood. She laughed because she could see my future and she knew this too shall pass. Her laugh wasn't meant in a malicious way. 

And she was right about it all. It passed and I survived. And looking back on it, I can laugh now too. I can laugh about the time my son threw himself on the floor, kicking customers at the butchers because I wouldn't let him have another piece of worst. I can laugh about the time my daughter screamed bloody murder and began slamming her head against the wall at Ikea because I was trying to put her back into the buggy.

I can smile now when I see a random child hurling themselves down on the ground because it reminds me that I am a survivor. I am a good parent, maybe not the best, but my kids don't need the best, they just need me.

I will carry this with me through my parenting journey and remember it each time I am faced with a new challenge. I will remember that "this too shall pass" and to just be patient. And I will remember that all the important lessons in life my kids learned by having tantrums. It's all a process of phase after phase, and as my kids grow, I will grow with them. Just like I did each time they had a tantrum. I went from the cringing, embarrassed mother to a mother who knew exactly how to handle the situation.

From now on, I will smile every time I see a child having a tantrum and most importantly, I will pat myself on the back.