The other morning I was halfway watching the end of Good Morning America while stacking cups with my daughter, Ella. One of the segments caught my attention as I heard something about how mothers can impact their daughters. As I listened to them explain the experiment some psychologist did, I got a little choked up (what’s new?) and intrigued by what was going on. First the psychologist interviewed moms about their own body image. Then their daughters were interviewed while the mom secretly watched behind a one-way mirror.
If you were involved in this experiment…
#1 – What would you say about yourself?
#2 – Would your child’s words sound familiar to yours?
#3 – Would that be a good or bad thing?
Our daughter just turned one this month and is starting to mimic a lot of what we do now. It is so fun being able to teach her things and so crazy how quickly she picks up on things. She has been learning how to throw her hands in the air as we say, “How big is Ella?! SOOOOO big!” She plays peek-a-boo now by holding the blanket up and dropping it down herself. She copies how we play with her toys and does her famous scrunchy face smile any time we start laughing. It’s amazing how she looks up to us and is learning by watching her mommy and daddy and the people around her every day.
As I was listening to the segment this morning on how moms can impact their daughters’ body image (while I simultaneously watched Ella copy me as I placed the cups inside each other from biggest to smallest), something really hit my heart. As she gets older she’ll be picking up on more than just how to play with her toys or how to accomplish different tasks. As she grows she’ll be observing how we treat others, how we respond in certain situations, and even how I address or see myself.
I’m sure my husband can attest to times I’ve complained about physical imperfections that drive me crazy. We all have them. Maybe it’s our weight, or some wrinkles, or the way our thighs squish out when we sit down. While we don’t have to think that we have the perfect body and perfect features, we have to start loving ourselves first. Whether you really have a hard time even considering that, or whether you feel too humble to accept that it’s okay to love yourself, we need to. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your daughter. It would break my heart to see my daughter someday on the other side of a one-way mirror saying similar negative things I’ve said about myself.
This world is harsh, and before our little one is thrown into the thick of it, she’ll be watching us first. Focusing on inner beauty, not criticizing my own flaws, and being happy with how God perfectly created me is what I hope Ella sees.
So whether you’re looking at a picture of yourself, or looking in the mirror, or downplaying a compliment by someone, think twice. Think twice for yourself, because it’s okay to be okay with yourself. And think twice for your daughter, because she’ll be watching and copying and learning.
*Special thanks to our guest blogger, Kaitlin Kuehner, for sharing her perspective!
Kaitlin graduated from Coe College in 2013 and married her high school sweetheart, Jordan. They live in Marion with their one-year-old daughter, Ella, and fur baby Golden Retriever. She enjoys staying home with their little girl and learning something every day on this journey of being a new mom!