Our kids pick up on everything—even the things we’re not saying. Especially when it comes to body image and diet culture, our kids are listening. In an eye-opening TikTok, this mom shares how her daughter inspired her to go way outside her comfort zone to lead by example in terms of body acceptance.
Arielle (TikTok user @mermaidmomarielle), shared the meaningful conversation she had with her young daughter, and it’s such an important lesson for us all.
She begins by explaining that she typically sleeps in crop tops, but doesn’t wear them outside of the house.
“So I was chatting with my daughter the other day and we were getting up and getting ready, and I usually sleep in crop tops, but I don’t really wear them out,” Arielle explains. “And my daughter asked me, ‘Oh that looks cute! You should wear that.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know.'”
And because kids are intuitive as heck, and because they internalize everything—even things that aren’t directed toward them in any way but are instead directed inward toward ourselves—her daughter called her out.
“Oh, it’s because you don’t like your body, right?”
Welp, that was all Arielle needed to snap to attention and walk the walk.
“I didn’t want her to know that. So I wore the crop top. And all day I tried to compliment my own body and talk to myself out loud like how I would like her to talk to her body one day,” she said. “I was not completely comfortable all day to be honest. But I feel like I need to get myself there so that I can be the best parent to her.”
The video resonated with lots of commenters, who opened up about how their own self-critical mothers influenced the way they feel about their bodies:
“Kids have no clue how much they motivate us to be our best selves. Hope she continues to inspire you.”
“My mom cried about her weight in dressing rooms and at home my whole life. It made me afraid to gain weight.”
This story resonated with me personally, because I am a size 18 and I’m incredibly self-conscious about my legs. I’ve spent years working up the courage to wear shorts, and finally started wearing them a few summers ago—but not super often outside of the house. Even when it’s 90 and humid. This summer, I decided that I’m not covering up my legs so other people can feel comfortable. It’s hot, and my thick thighs deserve to breathe like anyone else’s.
I also didn’t reach that conclusion on my own. Earlier this summer, my oldest daughter, who is five, called me out. She was so excited when it finally became “shorts weather” where we live, that she’d ask me, “Is today a shorts day?” And when I’d say yes, she’d jump up and down with joy. One day, she asked me, “Mommy, why don’t you wear shorts like me?”
And welp, that was all I needed to snap to attention and walk the walk.
Solidarity to all the moms like Arielle and me, who may not feel comfortable in our skin all the time, but who are determined to give our kids all the tools they need to be comfortable in theirs.