Ok, it’s not quite that straightforward, and I don’t think I’m a terrible mother so please hear me out.
I try not to swear in front of my daughter, but I swear a lot and so sometimes it happens. I decided that it was better to teach her that as an adult I am allowed to swear, but as a child she isn’t, and she understands and respects that. She knows that sometimes I will say a naughty word, and that is okay because I’m not perfect, but that it isn’t okay for her to say these things because she is a child.
I always thought as a mother I would never swear in front of my children, but some things you just kind of decide as you go along. And actually it’s become much worse in my head for me not to say certain things other than swear words.
It makes sense to me to teach my daughter that she isn’t allowed to swear, but sometimes she may hear an adult swear – because we are allowed to do some things that children aren’t.
However; I never want her to hear me say that I am fat, or that someone else is fat, or for her to get the impression from something I say that being fat or not completely slim is the worst thing in the world.
A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem. – Naomi Wolf
I really don’t have a lot of body confidence right now; I know that I can look and feel a lot better than this and it really affects me. But I also know deep down that this doesn’t change who I am as a person; it doesn’t make me worth any less and it doesn’t make Ava love me any less. She doesn’t care at all what I look like, she loves me for me and because I’m her mother.
It’s so important to me that she never hears me talk about feeling ‘fat’ or ugly, or in any way that puts me down. I have to stop any negative words about myself spilling out of my mouth whilst I look in the mirror at my body, and she is standing by my side. I don’t want to put those things in her head. At the moment she couldn’t care less about the way her body looks, as it should be. She only cares that it allows her to run about the playground at lunchtime with her friends, and to dance around the house, and to show me how good she is at hula-hooping.
And I wish I was like that.
It makes me so sad that we get to a certain age and start to care more about the way we look, start to compare ourselves to others, and start to feel bad about these amazing bodies we were born with, that allow us to do and feel and experience so much.
I know that one day the same thing will most likely happen to my little girl. She will look into the mirror and start to focus on the little things that she doesn’t like, run a critical eye over her bare skin instead of a loving one, instead of seeing this amazing and beautiful person looking back at her. And it makes me so sad.
But if I can limit how much negative self-talk she witnesses whilst she is growing up, if I can keep any shitty thoughts about my own body to myself whilst I’m looking in the mirror, and if I can build her up as she grows so that she is strong, and confident and loves who she is; then maybe things could be different for her. Maybe she can be happy with herself and what she sees in the mirror, whatever size and shape she becomes.
I will try my best to not be negative about my body in front of her (and work on not doing it at all), and I won’t say the word fat in front of her if I can possibly help it. I don’t use the word around her and yet she has still come home mentioning it before and it sounded horrible coming out of her perfect little mouth. She has also shouted ‘SHIT!’ as she knocked something down the stairs and that didn’t sound quite as bad (she has only ever sworn a couple of times in her life, so no I’m not worried that my swearing will make my six year old start swearing).
I want my daughter to grow up full of confidence and with love for her body and what it is capable of. I want her to go through life being proud of her body and the way she looks, and how absolutely amazing she is.
And it is much more important to me that she doesn’t hear me complain about being fat, than it is for her to hear me swearing once in a while.
What do you think? Do you ever swear in front of your kids? Do you think it’s okay as long as you’re not effing and blinding all over the place? Do you worry about the ‘fat’ word? I’d love to hear what you think…
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