Monday, March 14, 2011

In Which I Take An Oath

The girls and I were standing in the check out lane at the grocery the other day, I glanced over and saw my almost 7yr old standing in front of the magazine display just taking it all in. I guess I haven't paid much attention lately, but did you know that when Spring comes along, all the cover models suddenly have no clothes on?

I was unaware. Or maybe my mind has just blocked it out.

"Ella, come back over here by me." I said hoping she wasn't scarred for life by the string bikinis that now plague her young impressionable mind.

She walks back towards me while saying, "Mom, that girl looks like she's in her underwear."

And at that, I walked over and started turning the magazines around. Just flipping them over one by one if it had a girl on the front that was less than dressed. Our girls don't need that unrealistic body image junk thrown at them when we're just in line somewhere buying diapers. (And the fear in my heart when I think of our little guy dealing with those pictures? Well, don't EVEN get me started.)

Just for the record, If you are a store that sells children's items, you are considered family friendly - that means there should not be scandalous magazines in the check out lane.

Right? Right.

I could tell I was stressing the cashier out, and maybe even confusing her a little seeing as it's usually the children who are messing up the displays. But I get kinda feisty when I'm pregnant, and in my head I was all , "What are you lookin' at!? Don't even try to ask me to stop! I'll stand here all day and flip magazines, lady!"

Ahem. I can be real bold when I'm setting people straight in my head.

The pressure to look perfect, get in shape for summer, and be in the best shape of your life is just plain overwhelming right now. And to be really honest, it breaks my heart that so many Christian women are sucked into it. If we spent as much time talking about how God was working in our lives as we do talking about our weight, work out routines, and image, well, I think we'd be healthier all the way around.

Someone in our house church the other week said, " A good thing can become a bad thing if it's the main thing." That is so, so true. Poor body image plagued me in my early 20's (for a handful of reasons), and it nearly ruined those years of my life. I was thin on the outside, but I was literally dying on the inside. I just don't want my girls to deal with that.

Maybe God just wants us to love the body He gave us, not try to preserve it like it's a piece in a museum. I'm 30, there's no reason for me to try to make myself look like I'm 20. Whether you like it or not, we were meant to age...change...carry with our hands...and be used by Him, for Him.

I love being in great shape, everyone does. And I definitely plan on trying to get my body back in gear after the pregnancy. But at what cost? Less family time? Obsessive thoughts? It's just not worth it.

So I'm sorta taking an oath. I'm not going to talk about my body in a negative way. It's very easy to say something negative about the way I look without even thinking of how that affects my girls. No more complaining over the pregnancy weight gain, no more talking about how I will lose it, and no more comments that might affect the way my little ladies view body image.

I am responsible to teach them about true beauty, and with His help, I'm going to do the best I can. 

Starting now.


Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

Tough challenge! Thanks for the reminder. I feel a huge burden to teach my girls to honor their bodies as the temple of the Lord without being obsessed with it. I feel it even more as obesity runs on their dad's side of the family. Praying for wisdom and clarity for you on this. Can't wait to "meet" your little dude!

Sarah said...

Kate, you are so right! I feel the exact same way when I'm standing in line...makes me so mad for my children and husband to see that stuff. I think about my little girls too and how they will learn from what is out there and they will learn from me, and I want them to learn positive body image stuff from me. I want to teach them to be healthy and fit, but not to obsess over being super skinny.

I love what you wrote: "If we spent as much time talking about how God was working in our lives as we do talking about our weight, work out routines, and image, well, I think we'd be healthier all the way around."

Amanda said...

Well said!

Melissa said...

I totally agree. I have a 12 year old daughter and I hate the pressure she is under. We are teaching her that the outside is not the most important thing but the person she is and her character.

Tina Michelle said...

So true. Good for you not worrying about the cashier and just turning them over. We all need to do that, every mother and then maybe the stores will get it. Why are those magazines down so low for kids to see anyway? They should be up high at adult eye level and not showing nudity that way. I think nudity is normal and should be shown the way we were made because it is nature but I don't like the way those magazines make things look for us.

*Ross and Katy* said...

I love this! And I completely agree-I hate that stores that target families have these magazines out for everyone to see. My 5yo cousin (who is a boy) often asks why there are girls at the pool in their underwear. I dread having my own son ask me that in just a few short years. I also know that I'm upset for gaining 10lbs in not quite 6 months of pregnancy. However, I'm going to take the oath with you. As long as the baby and I are healthy, that's all that matters anyway, right? :)

jenny said...

Great post! So great to be reminded of our role as moms to instill purity and humility in our girl's in how they dress and think about themselves and in what our boy's see that could cause them to stumble. We live in a very media driven culture and our kids are seeing images we never had to deal with when we were kids. So true that our main focus should be the Lord....building into our relationship with Him...that it would be healthy...and in turn, that we would have a healthy view of our bodies. The greatest thing to pass onto our kids is a strong relationship with Jesus and a healthy self-image! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Marinewife1111 {Marcella} said...

GO Kate!

Lenae said...

LOVE this. Your girls and boy are blessed to have a mommy who loves the Lord first and foremost :)

Elizabeth Koproski said...

you go girl. so hard to do.. trust me, I'm living it. (try being bald. yikers.) praying for you as you live out your oath.

Sarah said...

Amen sister! I am with you!

Laura said...

it's so hard as women, especially after pregnancy to not pass judgement on our bodies and how fast they recover... or don't recover... but it is a great reminder to us moms of girls.. that they are listening to us and we need to make sure we are an example.. so I vow to as well!

Marisa said...

I've been known to flip a few magazines myself. It breaks my heart to know our kids are going to feel the pressure of society's warped view of beauty. I just pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to help Lydia see her true beauty and to help Lucas understand that a women of character who fears the Lord has beauty that far surpasses physical beauty.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

Mama D.'s Dozen said...


As the mother of 6 girls (and 6 boys), I know how HARD it is to instill Godly views of body image and modesty.

Sadly, my adult girls have NOT followed their parent's guidance in this area and it BREAKS our hearts!!! Even though they are "living for Jesus" and "serving Him", they have followed the world's ideas when it comes to "fashion". We have had to even ask a couple of them to dress differently when they come to our house because we don't appreciate what it shows their younger sisters and brothers. So sad. So hard.

Even Big Sister wanted 14 y.o. little sister to wear a strapless bridesmaids dress in her wedding this summer. Papa and Mama put their foot down on that one. 14 y.o. sister will not be looking quite like the rest of the bridesmaids. So sad. So hard.

(Sorry about the rant, but just went and ordered the bridesmaids dress today. Ugh! )


See Jamie blog said...

How we as moms act/feel/talk about our own bodies really does have a huge impact on how our daughters think of their own bodies. It's a tough challenge in the world we live in.

Amber said...

so glad i'm not alone in the magazine flipping! but after i saw Gibson staring at them (w/some very WIDE eyes, i might add), i was done!

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Kate, this might just be my all time favorite post that you have EVER written. You are absolutely right!

Anonymous said...

Yes it is sooo hard. Great post.

Eos Mom said...

I know, those magazines are so toxic! Magazines I used to read (occaionally) like In Style now turn my stomach. Bravo for turning them backwards on the shelf! {I've been tempted to do the same many times.}

I really worry about how I'm going to raise my daughter to have fewer body woes than I did (still do). I hate that when I was skinny (in high school), I thought I was fat. So wrong! But I also know that no matter how many times MY mom told me I was beautiful, I didn't believe her. So how do I get my daughter to believe ME when I tell her how great she looks?!