Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Something My Mom Never Said

We grow up to say a lot of the same things our mothers said:
     "Close that door! We're not heating the whole neighborhood!"
          "If all of your friends jump off a cliff are you going to jump too?"
               "Because I'm the mom...that's why!"

One of my favorites of Mom and I
I realized this week that my mom deserves a shout out for something she DIDN'T say:
         "I'm so fat!" or "I need to lose some weight."

I NEVER heard my mom say these words growing up.  In fact, she never really commented on her size, her height, her weight, her hair, her teeth, her skin, or her cloths (unless she just bought something for a steal-of-a-deal!)  Until recently, I hadn't given this much thought. But now that I am the mom of a high school age daughter who's learning where to find her identity, I realize how valuable it is for her to see that I'm content with how God's designed me.

I'm comfortable with who I am.  I like my hair.  I like my eyes.  I like my height.  I even like my crooked teeth and my girly curves.  Why?  I think it's because I had a mom who taught me to be content by BEING content. Profound, huh? Honestly, my mom's weight and fashion were not subjects of conversation. Actually, we didn't even own a scale growing up. The only reason my mom has a scale now is to weigh her luggage so she can maximize her suitcase when she flies out to visit us kids. Numbers like weight and age do not matter in the VanDyken household.

After reading a thought-provoking article this week about moms refraining from getting into family photos because they don't like to look at pictures of themselves, I was reminded how much we can battle self-image and identity problems if we aren't careful. If we want to bring up daughters with healthy self-images, then WE must have healthy views, too! We can't teach what we don't know.

Our culture is obsessed with beauty, "artificial" beauty. Think I'm exaggerating?  Why else do women feel the need to lie about their age?  Dye hair to hide the grey?  Bleach teeth white?  Botox?  Spanx? Miracle creams? The list goes on... Please understand, I'm not saying these things are wrong, but maybe we should be asking ourselves what our daughters are thinking when we spend a small fortune on these things.  I'm only going on my own experience in this area in order to come to my conclusion, but I've determined that having a mom who isn't ashamed of her age, takes good care of herself by living with everything in moderation, is immeasurably influential. My mom still uses the occasional support hose and self-dyes her hair, but doesn't obsesses about her "roots". Because comparing is human nature, I'm positive my mom has compared herself to others, but she didn't ever say it out loud. I've benefited from that.  I hope I can pass that on to my daughter.

My mom is a beautiful woman who now gets to order discounted senior meals. She loves that. How do I know? She's bragged about it! I love that!!!

So, fellow moms, next time we get our family pics back, let's be careful we don't point out all of the things we hate about the way we look.  Instead, comment on the fun you were all having at that moment. That's what your kids see when they look at the pictures. Their eyes don't even see our double chins, rolls around the tummy, or our hair out of place. Our daughters especially need to hear us adore each other regardless of whether we had make-up on for the picture.

One last thought.
                   Live. Laugh. Love.

People hang these words on their walls and print them on photo albums.  No one ever hangs the words:
                 Pose. Suck in your tummy. Fake it.

Be yourself.  Fall in love with how God made you. You're delightful...just the way you are! And Mom, thanks for the lesson...your actions spoke much louder than your words.  P.S. You are one beautiful mama!


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