How do you feel when you look in the mirror? When you look at pictures of yourself? Do you feel good about the way that you look? Or, do you have to fight back negative self-talk? When we become parents, we become our children’s first and most influential role model. Our kids are listening, mimicking and picking up on our energy, positive or negative, from a very young age. Our daughters, especially, are watching our life’s example and learning how to either love or hate their own bodies. As a mom of two young daughters, I try to be mindful of this fact. I want our daughters to grow up with healthy self-esteem, to feel valued for their ideas, intelligence, compassion, character and kindness. My intention is to raise girls who love their bodies and who have a positive self-image and a strong sense of self-worth.
Here’s a few thoughts to encourage healthy body image–both for you AND for your daughters:
1. Get your daughter involved in sports! Any sport will do. Soccer, tennis, t-ball, swimming, volleyball, track, etc. I ran cross-country in high school and college and competing taught me to think of my body as powerful, strong and beautiful. I also met great friends and teammates who both encouraged and supported me. I learned about healthy competition, team work, drive, setting goals, determination and the value in taking care of my body.
2. Look who’s talking! Be mindful of the fact that your kids are listening to what you say about yourself so do your best to be positive! Try not to say things like, “I look so fat,” or “I need to go on a diet right after the New Year.” Let your kids hear you say something positive about yourself every single day.
3. Practice good self-care so that your daughter will do the same as she grows up! Devote time in your weekly schedule for your own wellness. A lot of cities and suburbs have adult sports leagues like soccer, running, hiking or climbing clubs so consider joining a team! Or, if you like to workout with a friend, make a weekly date to go for a walk or run while the kids are in school or make a regular date to meet at the gym after work or after the kids go to sleep. If you are a stay-at-home mom, consider joining a gym that has child care on site. Do what you can to make yourself feel and look good from the inside out. I love to go for weekly runs and hikes in LA. It is my “me time” and I’m very protective of that time in my calendar. I have more energy when I make exercise a priority and I love the runner’s high I get afterward!
4. Smile! Let your daughters grow up watching you feel good about yourself so that they’ll grow up feeling good about their own image, too. True beauty really does come from within. A positive attitude, confidence and a warm, genuine smile will make any woman feel beautiful. And, let’s be honest, a good hair cut, blow out or a manicure once in a while doesn’t hurt, either!
5. Get dressed! It’s okay to spend time on yourself in the mornings. It’s actually healthy! Whether you are going to your office for a meeting with a client or whether you stay-at-home with your kids during the day, show your children that you value yourself. No matter whether I’m putting on yoga pants or running gear and my favorite Nike running shoes or if I’m putting on makeup and a dress for work, I do my best to show our daughters that taking care of myself is important.
“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” – Mark Twain
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” – Iyanla Vanzant
“People who love themselves come across as very loving, generous and kind; they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness and inclusiveness.” – Sanaya Roman
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brownn
“You have a great body. It is an intricate piece of technology and a sophisticated super-computer. It runs on peanuts and even regenerates itself. Your relationship with your body is one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have. And since repairs are expensive and spare parts are hard to come by, it pays to make that relationship good.” – Steve Goodier