This post is part of YummyMummyClub.ca‘s support of the Dove® Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Go to www.UnstoppableMoms.ca to enter by sharing how you inspire girls to reach their full potential.
Did you know that 6 out of 10 girls avoid activities because they feel badly about the way they look? In school, I was one of those 6 girls. One particular moment that stands out to me is an incident after gym class when I was in grade nine.
I’ve always been shy to change in front of others in public change rooms so after gym class each day in high school, I’d change in a bathroom stall while the my other classmates chatted and changed in the dressing room area. One day I overheard the girls talking about my legs and I was horrified. They obviously had no idea that I was changing in one of the stalls and could hear everything that they were saying. They were making comments about how terrible my legs looked and they were wondering why I would wear shorts when my legs looked the way they did.
I have a slight problem with eczema on my arms and legs that causes a light red bumpy rash so I often felt embarrassed of my appearance. Gym was a mandatory class in grade nine and gym shorts were the dress code. Although I was embarrassed about my legs – wearing pants to gym class wasn’t an option.
So there I was, hiding in the bathroom stall feeling terrible about myself and hoping the girls would leave the change room without noticing that I was hiding in the bathroom stall. After that incident, I started making up any excuse I could to get out of gym class – missing gym shorts and a tummy ache were two of my favourite excuses. By avoiding gym class, I missed opportunities to be a part of a team and to interact with some of the other kids. The embarrassment over my legs was carried through high school (I never wore shorts or skirts to school) and even into adulthood. It is still something I am self-conscious about but I don’t let it hold me back anymore. It took me quite a few years to feel comfortable in my own skin and to realize that some small red bumps on my legs weren’t a reason for me to sweat in long pants on hot summer days or hide under an umbrella while others have fun at a water park.
What I know now that I wish I knew then:
- Your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to participate in sports or other activities you enjoy
- Activities and sports are about learning, playing as a team, making new friends and getting some exercise – not about how great you look in gym shorts
- Your physical appearance has nothing to do with your self-worth and anyone that feels the need to say something negative about your appearance likely has something about themselves that they are self-conscious about
I once read somewhere that the biggest influencer in a child’s life is his/her parent of the same gender. Studies show that when girls have a strong role model at home, they are less likely to let anxiety about their looks hold them back. I believe it is important for moms to open up to their daughters and share some stories of their own insecurities and how they overcame them. This may help for your daughter to open up and share some of her own stories.
I have a 2 year old son at home and I am already watching the examples I set for him. I always want to show him encouragement with both words and actions. I want him to know how special he is and that he can do anything he wants to do. Whether he wants to sign up for a dance class or play hockey with his dad, I never want him to let his insecurities hold him back from trying something that he enjoys.
Do you have a daughter at home who prefers to wait in the stands and watch while the other kids play? How do you set a good example for your daughter? Dove wants to hear why you are an unstoppable mom. Do you cook healthy family meals but let your kids occasionally indulge without having them feel guilty? Do you spend one-on-one time with your daughter talking about highlights of her day or situations that have made her uncomfortable? Do you cheer your child on even when she doesn’t come in first place?
Dove® Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest:
Are you an unstoppable mom? Share YOUR story about a time when you thought about quitting an activity you loved because of how you felt about your body and let them know how you think moms/role models can better support girls to participate in activities. You have until June 13, 2013 to enter. You could win $2,500 for yourself and $2,500 will be donated to help raise a girl’s self-esteem.
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15 thoughts on “What Makes You an Unstoppable Mom?”
From the day my first daughter entered my life, I vowed to make being a girl different for her and her sister than it was for me growing up. I’m happy to say that my girls are bright, confident and outgoing. They are unstoppable. That being said we still have the teen years to navigate, so there’s that 🙂
Thanks, Candace! I’m sure you are raising intelligent & caring daughters that will breeze through their teenage years. 🙂 It already sounds like you’ve been setting a great example & foundation for them to build upon.
Great post and I love this important message. I have girls and I try never to impart the issue of weight and weighing myself all the time to them. I threw the scale out when I was like 28. I also try to let them excel at things they gravitate towards. I can’t tell you how many times I heard over the years things like – oh she’s too skinny she must be anorexic (i was sick with Crohn’s.) or she has a fat butt or she’s such a brown nosed. I mean really we all have a way to go in terms of supporting each other better throughout life I think.
I think too many females base too much of their self-worth on the number that appears on the scale. I went through a period of bulimia in my early 20’s and made myself very sick because of it. I used to weigh myself at least 10 times a day back then. I have worked my way through that and will never let myself be that obsessed with a number on the scale again!
This is great advice, especially for girls who can get so caught up in appearance….hated gym class!
Thanks,Sarah! No, gym class wasn’t a favourite of mine back then. 😉
I’m sorry that the girls were talking about you and you overheard their cruel words. The truth is there were likely insecure about their own bodies. I’m glad that you have risen past long ago days.
Thanks, Jenna! Yes, those days are long gone now. I wish I was more confident back then.
Great post! I’m sorry you had that experience. Kids can be so mean. Along with teaching my kids about being able to overcome comments like that, I also teach them that its not nice to make them towards other people. I always try to make them see it from the other persons view. It sounds like you have matured a lot and are a great role model for your daughter
Thank you! Yes, I always want my son to know that it is not acceptable to talk about people in that way.
Oh Cheryl! What a horrible junior high experience! I feel so bad for you and how it impacted your life for so many years! If only we could go back and tell our teen selves a few things about life! What a wonderful post and I know that you are an amazing mom! Wishing you a lovely week! Angie xo
Thanks, Angie! Yes, kids can be cruel sometimes. I always want my son to know how special he is and that he has so much to offer the world.
Oh Cheryl you gave me goose bumps. How horrible that must of made you feel. Teen girls can be so hard and that is why as mothers we need to share the importance of DIFFERENCE with our children. Big hugs to you for being such an inspiration to your son and sharing your story! XO
Thank you so much, Tammy! Yes, teen girls can be very mean. I’m already scared for the days when my son is in school! I hope that he knows he can come to me to talk about any situations that make him uncomfortable. I also hope he treats others with respect and knows what a special person he is. 🙂
I have always been overweight and still am and although I carry this extra weight, I love myself. This is not the norm, I realize. Body image is so very important in our society. Thanks for reminding us how it’s really not, and how even interactions like the one you had can create feelings of badness in us we shouldn’t ever feel. Great post! 🙂