I have rewritten this post about 4 times now. I want to make sure that the idea that I have in my mind is accurately expressed in my post. I know that I have many flaws, or things about myself that could be improved upon. I feel that there are two ways that I can handle my flaws: accept them or fix them. I choose to fix them. Every day I am working to be a better person. Much of my motivation to be a better person is because I know that little eyes are watching.
One of the biggest things that I am currently working to improve is my weight. I have battled with my weight most of my life. Rather than beat myself up about it in front my kids and call myself names, I choose to be open with them about my goals. However, to have more of a “This is what I am doing to be better” approach rather than a pessimistic view, then I must accept my flaws and my weight. I have not always had this mentality.
When I Referred To Myself as the “Fat Girl”
In a private school of no more than 27 students in the class, I was often tagged the “fat girl”. If a fellow classmate was looking for a way to insult me, my weight was their go-to. This went on through much of elementary school and even carried on somewhat into high school as well.
My sophomore year, something awakened inside of me and I started to get involved in sports and multiple activities. I was once 200 pounds and I can confidently say that during this time, I got down to 130 pounds in a healthy way – through a healthy diet and exercise.
During my last two years of high school, I knew that I looked good on the outside, but I still was not very confident on the inside. In my creative writing class in 12th grade, I wrote a poem that included the line
“What am I now, if not the fat girl?”
During that year, I started to really get to know myself and realized that although I may be a bit weird to some, I am pretty awesome. I appreciated myself for who I was as a young adult and realized that there was so much more to me than just how I looked.
I Gained A lot of the Weight Back, but I Did Not Lose My Confidence
Immediately after high school, I went on to college and lived on campus. I balanced a full course load, worked at least 25 hours a week, maintained a social life, and eventually a boyfriend as well. I was loving life! I was busy. But, I was not taking great care of my health. I would treat myself to Taco Bell at least once a week before my weekly 3 hour class. My now husband and I often went out to eat a few times a week and by the end of my six years in college (earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree), I ended up gaining a lot of the weight back that I lost in high school. I was disappointed, yes, but I knew that if I lost my weight once, it was possible that I could do it again. I made some unhealthy decisions that led me to be overweight again, but there was no going back to standing in front of the mirror telling myself how disgusting I was and I was not going to put up with that from anyone else either.
My Goals as a Mom
When we become a mom, many of us develop goals for ourselves in that role, based on our own experiences. My goals have been colored by my experiences and evolution from fat girl to human being, I realized that I wanted several things from my relationship with my kids:
- I want them to know that I am not perfect and part of that requires me to be able to admit that I make bad choices sometimes.
- I want to be a good example for my kids with respect to how I would want them to treat themselves.
- I want to teach my kids a “can change attitude” rather than a defeated one.
- I want to have an honest relationship with my kids in which neither of us are uncomfortable discussing our flaws.
How I Am Doing Almost 5 Years into Mommyhood
I will admit, in the beginning of being a mommy, I sometimes followed the “fake it till you make it” mentality. My oldest son would tell me that I looked beautiful and in my head I would be thinking of all the things wrong with my appearance that day: my hair was not straightened perfectly, my makeup application was not that good, I had worn the same shirt at least 30 times to family functions (or so it seemed), and of course I felt that I could lose some weight. I would smile and look at my adorable little son and tell him thank you and give him a hug and a kiss. I kept “faking it” and over time, there came to be no question in my mind about how I looked… I would just look at my son and think “aww, how precious is he?”
By following my mom goals, I have become extremely comfortable speaking about my health goals with just about anyone. My oldest son is 4 and has become extremely inquisitive recently. If he were to look at a photo of me from when I was 17 and ask me why I look different today, I would tell him that mommy made some bad health decisions, ate unhealthy food, and did not get enough exercise. I would then tell him that is why mom chooses to eat healthy food, drink more water, and take the family on walks around the neighborhood or go to the park.
I want to show my children that I not only love them and their daddy, but myself as well. I believe that I have achieved that. I feel my confidence is a great gift to them. I am teaching them to love themselves, to see both their strengths and their flaws, to help them to be honest about their flaws and to work towards being a better person. I am teaching them to not let things that they can change, defeat them. I feel that if they keep these lessons with them into adulthood, they will go far in life, able to work hard towards their goals, and to love themselves and others.