I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but it did. I went from being just me, Amanda, insecure about the oddest things and questing for some sort of non-specific, constantly changing, unattainable perfection–
Was it a flatter stomach?
I honestly can’t recall, but in general it came down to: I am not good enough.
Then I looked up and realized that I was a mom, and not just a mom, but a mom of a daughter. I had no idea we’d get to three daughters, but even one meant no more bull shit. I never looked back. Sure, I have my days when I am frustrated or slightly envious of some thing or another, but it is not a constant hunger for transformation.
When I work out now it is to show the girls that feeling good is a choice. I run, jump, lift weights or tumble around not to look better, but to live longer and enjoy each moment more. They get this.
Last night we went to the high school and ran on the track.
“I want to be in the number two lines!”
“I want the 4, cause I’m four years old.”
“Am I the fastest?”
“Did you see how I did that?”
After several laps we sprinted across the field, the turf was wild with red, yellow and white lines. Numbers bigger than the girls, huge arcs upon which they balanced, hopped and danced. My heart was bursting with so much- joy that they were having fun, pride that we were all together, hope that this would sustain them in the coming years when the shadows come lapping at their spirits.
We tromped up and down the bleachers-
“Red and silver. Red’n silver. RED AND SILVER!” They chanted in unison as they stomped their feet. Finley watched from Sean’s shoulders, eyes dancing. It was a perfect, exhilarating, unforgettable time, so simple. Unmarred by anything.
Avery: “Mom, where’s the bunny’s highchair?”
Me: “You mean where does the baby bunny eat?”
Me: “Baby bunnies don’t use high chairs, they just eat on the ground in their homes.”
Briar: “Just woman babies eat in high chairs.”
I smiled, woman babies. I am not a fierce feminist, but the idea that she considers a baby to be defined or described as a woman and not human or man made me smile.
Me: “Yes, that’s right. Just woman babies.”
I hope my girls stay proud of being woman babies and that they always see themselves as beautiful and capable as I see them. My woman babies.
Woman babies is a lovely construction.
nice. you're fantastic. you and your woman babies.
Yay for Woman babies!!! LOVE it!
I love this, woman babies, the track, everything. And I know just how you feel as the mother of a girl. No more bullshit: I love myself because I love her.
I think about this more and more, why I do the things I do, and the impression my actions have on my kids. Especially when I'm not feeling the greatest or am short-tempered. They are always watching, until they grow old enough to look away in disgust. I hope that day never comes . . .
this was a beautiful post. i so desperately want both my children to see women's bodies differently than i always have. i so desperately want to give my daughter a foundation stronger than the whispers you describe.
This totally hits home. No more bullshit is right.
Excellent post… it is very important to teach children self esteem. So cute, 'woman babies'!
I sort of wish my kids had you as a mom.
it pains me to think that you ever thought or think you're not enough
Loved this post.
Our little women get to take on the big gender puzzle from a different vantage point than we did (and certainly a different one than our mothers).
I wonder where they start and how much further they will take us on this road of conscious and unconscious self-esteem. Hopefully we can help with the bigger bullshit meters we've cultivated. (That was something good to be reminded of…thnx)
I've got 3 man babies over here in the Trenches to match up with them, m'kay?
I have a man-baby, but I felt a twinge of proudness at being a woman with this post…I love conversations with little ones.
This is so great. We mothers of daughters have a great burden, don't we? An important charge.
I'm not so confident as you, but my comfort with myself is growing. I don't ever discuss my dissatisfaction aloud. Don't ever mention the pimple or the fly-away hair or whatever else is the nitpick of the day. I run and lift weights, wanting them to see that we need to care for our bodies, but also not obsess over them.
And as much as I believe the world is against our girls, if we give them this foundation, they'll be all the stronger as they venture out into the world of billboards and airbrushed magazine covers advertising an unattainable perfection.