In my house there are two "F" words. There's the usual four letter one that rhymes with puck or truck and then there's a three letter one that is thrown around easily but can really cut deep: fat. I know my kids will slip at some point and say both but I'm hoping to keep them as far away as possible from the shorter of the two.
The moment I found out I was pregnant I started thinking about what kind of mom I would be and what lessons I wanted to bestow upon my youngsters. Will they be vegetarians like I am? (Yes.) Will I push them toward academics or sports? (Whatever, I'm cool with whatever.) Will I be one of those attachment parents? (As it turns out, yes.) I knew one thing for sure though, I wanted to teach my children to be kind to themselves and kind to other people.
As someone who struggled with pretty messed up body image issues for over a decade I have no interest in teaching my children that calling someone fat or ugly is funny. I try my best each day to be positive about my own looks and other people's (which was not super easy during that jiggly post-partum time or those bloated first trimester weeks). I want my children to look back and remember that their mother thought she was beautiful and genuinely thought everyone else was too. I want them to learn from my husband and I that it's much better to compliment someone's shoes than it is to snark on their muffin top. I want my children to have body confidence and know that as long as you are happy and healthy, shape or size is a nonissue. There is enough nastiness in this sometimes ass backwards world of ours, I want my kids to know that it's perfectly cool to be a shiny, glittery unicorn of magical light pointing out the beauty in everyone and everything.
As a rule we don't use that three letter F word in our house and we try not to tease other people about their looks.We try not to laugh when family or friends make jokes about someone's size or shape, even when it's super awkward that we are the only ones not laughing. I don't think other moms are evil if they let their kids tell fat jokes or if they joke about dad's spare tire at the dinner table, it's just not my bag and not something I want to pass on to my littles.
Our little family works hard to be in the "build 'em up" club and I will happily be one of those moms who makes my son say two nice things for every mean thing. I'm flawed and sometimes have a bad day and say negative things about myself or others and guess what? I have to say two nice things which seems silly and very free-to-be-you-and-me but I've noticed it helps my own confidence too. I also slip, for example when I was cut off in traffic last week and called the person a "fat bitch" without ever seeing what they looked like. Why? What was the point of that even? I was just crabby and in a rush with a crying baby in the car. I had to say out loud that the person had a nice car and was good at using their turn signal.
Another thought I have is that I suppose if you are going to insult someone you should be more clever than calling them fat, right? I kid, I kid...kind of. Whenever anyone in my life has called me fat as an insult I've had this moment where I want to tell them to try again. "You can do better, I have lots of flaws. Insult something else and make the insult kind of funny but mostly clever. Make me laugh with you, I don't take myself that seriously. C'mon, let's work on this together..."
My babe is still very young but is at that age where he is a total sponge and soon will be repeating everything we say and honestly? I'd rather he repeat me on a normal day when I say the four letter F word than repeat me on a bad day and call himself or someone else fat. I'm not perfect but if all goes according to plan, that will be my parenting legacy: swear like a sailor but be kind to one another.
What seemingly common words are totally off limits in your house? Chat back in the comments, I'd love to know!
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