Beautiful Like Me

beautiful like me - CoffeeJitters.Net

beautiful like me - CoffeeJitters.Net

Why do women, particularly in America, tend to have such skewed body images? How do we raise our daughters to have a healthy self image?  WickedStepMom, Tricia at Shout, and Amy at FiveFlowerMom – along with several other bloggers – are tackling this issue over the next few Mondays.

This Week’s Question:

Does how we look at ourselves effect how the next generation looks at themselves?”

I’m new to the motherhood game, my daughter is only 15 days old, but I’ve put a lot of thought into this over the past nine months, particularly in light of being a mother and a role model.  Personally, I think one of the most important things a parent can provide, after safety and nurturing, is a good example.  I’ve been working on that lately.  When faced with a conundrum, I ask myself “What would I want my daughter to do if she were in this situation?” And that’s what I do.  It is surprising to me how often my actions are different after asking this question than they would have been otherwise.

This is particularly relevant when I look at myself.  I have a bad habit of beating myself up.  I look at the stretchmarks and sagging two weeks postpartum and I want to hide. My husband tells me I’m beautiful and I roll my eyes.  I’m frustrated at myself for being nearly 40 and still not finished with my degree.

And then I think of my daughter.

How would I want her to treat herself if she found herself in this situation? I would want her to take care of herself, and honor the fact that pregnancy does change your body.  I would want her to be able to see herself through a loving husband’s eyes, and appreciate that he finds her beautiful.  I want her to see her own beauty.  I want her to understand that while we are each the result of our own choices, choosing to beat yourself up over past choices is much more time consuming and less productive than learning from them and moving on.

Yes, I believe that how we look at ourselves affects the next generation.  We are their role models.  But in this case, I think I may end up learning just as much from my daughter.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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