This story is from 2019 but it is one that sticks with me. Not because someone called me The Fat Mom but because in that moment little eyes were on me. It was also a very poignant moment in my journey with my body that I was no longer going to let the term “fat” be an insult to me.
A few weeks ago at the pool one of the boys came to me and said, a kid said that you are the fat mom. I was a little shocked at first and we all just sat at the table looking at one another. I asked him what he thought and he told me, “well I don’t think it was very nice for him to say that about you and then I told him to shut up that most days you look like a princess.”
My sweet boys were there to defend me. They just knew it wasn’t a nice thing to say.
I struggled in the moment of how to respond. I want my boys to know that words hurt but I also want them to know that they hold the only opinion that matters about their body. Even when someone says something hurtful about us we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves. I said, “well mommy isn’t skinny. But things like that don’t matter. I am fun and I love wearing a bathing suit and swimming with you. I am never going to let someone else’s opinion stop me from doing that. Ever.”
Why this was important for the kids
This was a huge learning moment for my kids. We concentrate on body positivity for girls but it is just as important for boys. In that moment, if I had cried or asked them if they thought I was fat or left the pool I would have taught them that someone’s opinion had power over me. I don’t want my boys to think their worth will ever be decided by anyone else. These are the moments where we teach our kids confidence but also to be good people, friends, students, partners, boyfriends, spouses, parents and so much more. Small moments like this will affect the way they see life.
Why this was important for me
This was also a moment that I realized people need to see all bodies in swimsuits. Somewhere in the midst of that child’s life they had gotten the message that big bodies don’t belong in swimsuits. They had been given the message that there is something wrong with being big. When we shrink away, when we try to make ourselves invisible, when we hide under clothing or coverups or towels we are sending the message that there is something wrong with our body. That they do not belong in the same spaces as thin bodies and that is WRONG.
Wear your swimsuit!!!! Take up space. Show up. Show your kids that all bodies have a place. That all bodies are good. That no one gets to decide if they are good or if they are worthy from looking at their outward appearance. Teaching them how to respect themselves will teach them how to respect others.
If I am fat, I am fat. That is a part of who I am, but it’s not who I am. I will never let one thing define me and I won’t in this case either. I am proud of my boys and the way they handled this situation but I am also proud of myself. It’s a life long lesson that I will not let other peoples words define me.