I have always been quite active, although not so much in the last three years, pregnancy does slow you down! (Cut to my Dad sending me an email attachment of someone who carried on kick boxing till the day she gave birth…) I’ll amend…pregnancy slowed ME down!
Now we have completed our family with the two girls, I’ve been enjoying slowly but surely increasing my activity. However, as a result of a slow three years/quite a few health issues and a penchant for Thai food, I am not a small woman. I’m a generous size 16 with plenty of junk in my trunk! (Ironically I’m not at my biggest, that award goes to Danielle circa 2012 when several factors saw me at my largest, that’s not relevant but I’ve mentioned it all the same…you’re welcome!)
Anyway, it is HUGELY important to me that my two daughters grow up happy and healthy. That they learn a healthy, active lifestyle; not as a punishment though – that part is important. I don’t want them to choose salad because they’re on a diet or go to an exercise class because they want to ‘be skinnier’. I want them to grow up with lots of activity as part of their every day so they stay active with hobbies they enjoy. I want to teach them about nutrition and help them explore lots of different/varied foods to be part of their diets. I believe that NO-ONE has the right to make any comment on anyone else’s body. No-one has the right to make anyone feel bad about the way they look. I’m not an idiot, or deaf. I’ve heard people make comments about me in the street, a group of young kids joking with each other that ‘who would sleep with me with an ass that big’ (referring to the fact that obviously someone had because I had a newborn attached to me in a holder). I’ve heard two women make a whale joke about me in a swimming pool changing room. I didn’t have the children with me at that point; but the fact that maybe they would have been more understanding if they knew I’d recently had a baby isn’t really the point. And in a way makes it worse, there shouldn’t be any validating reasons for anyone to make somebody else feel bad about the way they look. I’m not so thick skinned (pun not intended but a happy coincidence!) that the comments I overhear don’t hurt. I’ve spent many hours in front of a mirror wondering how and why my extremely handsome husband can ever bear to come anywhere near me. And it’s because I grew up it being ok for people (in the materialistic 80’s) to make comments about others appearance, 21st century ‘fashion magazines’ printing pictures with big red circles around imperfections (that kind of thing REALLY makes my skin crawl with despair at what the media does to society…ANYWAY!). My daughters are going to grow up (as much as I can help it) being confident about who they are, how they look and what they can achieve.
I’ve spoken about this at length before, but to help them get to that point, I must lead by example and walk the walk as well as talking the talk. This means I must treat myself as kindly as I wish my girls to treat themselves and others. Not easy, but I’m faking it until I make it.
Which means, this weekend, when at the beach, the knowledge that my thighs wobble a bit, and that I currently have an extra chin and a bit more tummy than I’d like HAD to be irrelevant. The important parts are the warmth in my smile and the sparkle in my eyes, that’s all my kids care about.
Health isn’t to be ignored, and I am slowly but surely getting my health back which will most likely lead to a lesser weight. But it has absolutely no correlation to my happiness. Not really. My joy is in a fantastic swim in the sea, my first of the year; my glee is in seeing my daughters laughing and enjoying the beach, not a slight wobble in my sizeable ass!
So I put on my swimming costume, and I proudly larked about on the shore with my two daughters in tow. Today I didn’t hear any comments, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any, or that I didn’t have any in my head. But it’s an important step. It gives me a boost, I did it and I had a bloody good day. So next time some kids in town make a comment they think is so witty or for no reason at all other than to impress their mates without thinking about how it might affect other people, I will attempt to concentrate on the lovely day I’m having instead of letting that unnecessary negativity have an impact.
My greatest triumph will be to see my daughters grow up confident, happy, healthy and unapologetically them. That’s the goal and THATS one hell of a motivation.