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.
Check out more stories on YummyMummyClub.ca about amazing unstoppable moms: