Every week I take my toddler to swim lessons, and every week it makes me think about girls and their bodies.
Not because of my body or because of my toddler’s body, but because of a 9-year-old girl who takes lessons on the other side of the pool.
I don’t know this girl, but I know her pain.
You see, this girl has clearly started going through puberty earlier than the other girls in her swim class. Her body looks very different from theirs. She has curves where they are straight; she has flesh where they have bones.
And she’s so, so uncomfortable about it.
How do I know?
Because she does that thing where she keeps her towel wrapped tightly around her until the second they have to get in the water.
Because during those few moments when the towel isn’t shielding her, she’s tugging endlessly at her tankini to try to hide her belly.
Because I see her eyes wander desperately to the other girls’ bodies over and over.
Every time I think, “Please don’t start fighting your body, dear girl. Not your beautiful, natural, perfectly normal body.”
That’s a fight most women know all too well.
It’s a fight we wish our daughters could avoid completely.
That’s probably impossible, though, considering the world we live in and its obsession with the physical appearance of girls and women.
Nevertheless, there are some critical lessons about weight that most girls aren’t learning. Heck, most moms need a refresher too! These simple truths about our bodies are the backbone of body acceptance and self-esteem, so let’s make sure they’re a regular part of the conversation with our daughters. More →