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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sticks and Stones

Usually, I post about my family; my boys, my husband, or the ridiculous things I endure as the only female in the house. However, lately something has been weighing on my mind. I have encountered so many women who accept a compliment and then roll their eyes as if they only half believe it. We lecture our children about not acting like bullies. We tell them to be kind to everyone and "If you don't have something nice to say then don't say anything at all." Beyonce' tells us not to call our daughters, if I had one, bossy. But we forget to love ourselves.

In high school, I was a small waisted, big chested pom pon girl. Did I flaunt it? Of course. What 17 year old girl wouldn't. Where did that confidence go? My confidence flew right out the window with the dirty diapers after having three beautiful, albeit chubby, babies. Confidence doesn't always leave because of child rearing. It's not the only thing that makes us take a second look at our bodies as we walk past a mirror. Sometimes the slight, photo shopped model on the cover of Marie Claire makes us stop and think we're not good enough.

After I had each of my sons my body was changed. Damaged. Yes, damaged. I am not going to beat around the bush or sugar coat it by saying, "I earned my stripes." That's ridiculous. My belly hung differently and I have pale pink, shiny, jagged stretch marks from above my belly button to below, around my hips and butt, and on my chest. It was hard to look in the mirror. So, I wore baggy clothes. However, it's hard to avoid the full length mirror in my bathroom where I get dressed every day. I would see my reflection and immediately start bullying myself. Words I said out loud to myself, "Wow, you're really fat. Those stretch marks will never go away. Guess you'll never wear a bikini again." were as hurtful as if someone else had said it straight to my face. My heart would sink and I would get a pit in my stomach. It was as if I were back in Jr. High school and a mean boy had called me flat chested in front of the entire 7th grade again.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We, as mothers, would NEVER allow our children to talk to another child or sibling that way. We know it's hurtful and can be emotionally damaging. Yet we stare and bully and sometimes cry into the mirror.

I'm done bullying myself. I may not think my stretch marks are beautiful but I'm done hating my body and I challenge you to do the same. Instead of saying nasty, discouraging things about ourselves, let's look into the mirror and say three positive things..."You're strong! You look beautiful today. You are an AMAZING mother!"

Be careful what you say about yourself. So many times I hear women cut themselves down. Sometimes outwardly and sometimes under their breath as if they don't mean it. However, hearing something over and after day...we're bound to start believing it. Don't call yourself a "pig" if you indulge. Don't call yourself a "cow" if you gain 5 pounds. Even if you have work to do on your body and/or yourself. Our family; husbands, wives, boyfriends, girl friends, parents, siblings and especially our children see our beauty, inside and out. We are essentially disregarding their opinion when we scoff at their genuine compliments. If we can do damage to ourselves with hurtful words, think of the confidence we can build with encouraging words! Love yourself daily...with words out loud.

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