Don't talk about my body in front of my kids

Written by: Julianne Neely

Don't talk about my body in front of my kids

If there is one thing I would change about my body it would be how people view it. Because they don't just view it, they feel the need to comment about it. In front of my children. 

Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop talking about bodies, about my body. 

"Oh my god, you're so skinny!" isn't praise or a helpful observation. It's annoying, unnecessary and not something I want my children to hear on repeat. 

I actually own a few mirrors. I've seen my reflection and I don't need every other stranger and non-stranger to mention my appearance. I don't need your help in forming an opinion about my size. I especially don't need my children seeing my body through those comments. 

At the current rate of remarks, my poor children are going to grow up thinking bodies are the most important thing to talk about. 

"Oh my god, you look so... " STOP. Is that really the first thing you want to say upon seeing me? Is that supposed to be a greeting? How about asking how the kids are doing? You know, these little humans, right here, in front of us, hearing everything you say? 

Oh, my dear fellow women who also struggle to love their bodies, what makes you think skinniness is a thing to be praised? Do you really want my daughter growing up thinking she needs to walk around seeking public appreciation for her body?

My weight is not a badge of pride. It's often a sign a stress. Stress impacts bodies. So does illness and an endless list of other things that are not worthy of praise. Things that are not always in my control. Things that are actually scary and not something I want to talk about, especially if you're not a close friend of mine, and certainly not in the middle of Target. 

So please, let's find a better way to greet one another and more meaningful things to chat about.

I am proud of the things my body can do. It can follow wobbly toddlers and keep them from falling, it can soothe crying babies when I hold them close, it holds a heartbeat that my daughter loves to nuzzle in and listen to.

I want our children to see us finding as much comfort and love in our body as they do. It keeps them safe, regulated and calm. 

That's how they view my body and that's the view I want to have reflected back to me every day. It's what I choose to see. I don't need you interrupting that. 

Julianne Neely MSW, LCSW (pictured, above, with her daughter) is a business owner, special needs mom, foster-adopt parent and pediatric therapist. Julianne has become the leading expert in pediatric mental health in Chicago, where she owns and manages Individual and Family Connection. At IFC, she has the privilege to manage a team of amazing clinicians who are passionate about working with children and seeing them thrive.

Related articles:

I fear my black son becoming a man

5 things moms should never say to other moms

The special needs of a special-needs parent


Posted on September 19, 2016 at 10:18 AM