A woman feels terrible about her body. She wears a swimsuit that has a full skirt to the beach and avoids the camera at all costs.
Sound familiar, right?
But have you heard this story with a lovely twist? One mom recently discovered a picture of herself that her kids took while she was lying on the beach in her bathing suit. Initially, she was upset by what she saw in the photo—but when her kids pointed out how beautiful she looked, she changed her tune. Just like that, her perspective changed.
Writing for Huffington Post, author and stay-at-home mom Bridgette White titled her piece, "Exposed by my children for what I really look like."
And do you know what she sees now?
I still see my dimply, fat thighs.
I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.
I still see chubby arms.
I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.
I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.
I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.
She didn’t follow up this incident by searching for new ways to lose weight. Nor did she chastise her kids for secretly snapping her photo. Instead, she embraced the moment. She now says, “I don’t hate my body anymore.”
Can you imagine saying that? Can you imagine what it would do for yourself and your kids?
It’s something we can all learn from. We don’t need to be supermodels to be an important part of our kids' lives. They love us, no matter what we look like. But we do need to recognize the message we're sometimes sending our children. Hiding ourselves because we feel chubby, unkempt and unattractive is only teaching our kids to do the same. We need to break the habit of hiding behind the camera instead of standing in front of it.
In one of my favourite blog posts from last year, Allison Slater Tate said that moms need to get in the picture—and stay there. Not for ourselves, but for our kids. She writes:
I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here—and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now—but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
Tate’s post started a movement of mothers staying in the picture. This is something worth remembering. Make sure that there are pictures of you celebrating the dog days of summer with your kids—beautiful imperfections and all.
Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.