I was floating in the lake in my “mama suit” with my hair going every which way when one of my sons looked over at me and said, “Mom, you’re beautiful!” A few months ago, I might have answered, “Oh, please! I look awful!” but I’ve learned better since then.
A few months ago I read a blog post that I found very convicting. A mom wrote of her realization that the things she said about her body impacted her daughter’s view of beauty and acceptance of her own body. Ouch. I have two daughters now and I want them to feel lovely and confident. I started thinking about what I said about myself and the message my self-criticism gave my girls. Now I’m thinking of the message those things give my boys, too. What I say about my body affects how my boys view women. (<–Tweet this)
This afternoon, I decided to join the children in the Lake. When I came out on the deck, they shouted, “There’s Mama – and she’s wearing her swimsuit! Hooray! Hooray! She’s coming in!” They didn’t see what I saw, a middle aged overweight woman in the kind of suit she said she’d never wear. They saw someone they enjoyed; someone they wanted to be with. They saw me through the eyes of love.
That’s the way I want my boys to see their wives one day. They’ll be marrying real women, not the photo-manipulated, made up, plastic surgery-modified women they see in advertisements and media. I want them to love that real woman and find her desirable and make her feel appreciated. I want them to be madly in love like Hal and I are.
When they say, “I love it when you wear that dress! You look great!” and I say, “But, I’m fat as a tick! I’ve never weighed so much. Ugh!” I’m telling them that you’re only beautiful when you’re thin. I don’t want to do that to their wives.
When I look in the mirror and say, “I look awful. I feel like an old woman today,” they’re hearing, “You can’t be beautiful when you’re old. Age is bad.” Yet, I want them to find someone they can grow old with. Someone to share all their years in happiness and romance.
When I greet every compliment with an awkward disparaging remark, they learn not to bother and I cost their wives a precious thing.
I first began to feel self-conscious about my body in the first grade when another girl started making fun of me. It was silly, really. I finally began to see loveliness in me when I married Hal. He’s spared no effort to tell me I’m beautiful all the time – when I look great, when I’m thin, but also when I’m pregnant or fat or sick. Hal has blessed me so much by appreciating me – and I want our boys to do the same for their wives.
So, no more complaining. Now, I’ll just say, “Thank you!”
By the way, if you’re disappointed I used a same ol’ picture of me for the graphic instead of something new – so am I! We just had a hard drive failure in the one with ALL of our pictures from the past several years (I know, I know. We were changing systems and this was temporary.) I’d be grateful if you’d pray we could recover all those and all the very important business and personal data on that drive.
Related Resource: For more on being the mother (or father) of sons, get our book, Raising Real Men. It’s the book we couldn’t find in raising our six sons – and it was Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year! Click here to find out more.
Yours in the battle,
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