For Our Future Daughters in Law

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!” 

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,

Melanie