Dear Mom inside of Kohl’s,
I’ve been where you are. Sadly, I didn’t have any excuse when it happened to me. But I know your pain.
I heard your little girl say those words, the kind that will break your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re failing somewhere.
I heard her say, “You look like you are having a baby now”.
I cringed internally when I heard those words come out of her mouth. Part of me wished that I hadn’t even been present for it. Having people around to witness something like that often makes you feel a thousand times worse about how you look.
It’s hard to hear anyone say something like that, but kids just have no filter and don’t understand what is appropriate and what’s not. I heard you reprimand her, which I would have too. You told her “You don’t say things like that!”
But when she asked why, and when her sister questioned what she said wrong, you just told them to be quiet.
As embarrassing as it is to be a little heavier, nothing will be fixed if you don’t explain what they did wrong and why it hurt. Kids don’t know any better until we teach them. You missed a very pivotal teachable moment, because you were embarrassed.
Go easy on yourself, mom. None of us are perfect. There are times when I’ve cried because I hate the way my body looks post-baby. I’ve never been skinny but I used to have a little bit of self-esteem. After having Maddie, and even before she was born, I was struggling with it. Seeing all my stretchmarks on my stomach, it broke my heart.
But you know what? Your body is freaking awesome!! Your body created those precious, and brutally honest, girls. And guess what? Those girls love you, just like Maddie loves me. She doesn’t care if mommy has a little extra weight on her. And it’s possible that some day, I’ll go through the exact same scenario that you went through. It’s rough, I know. But try to remember how much your body went through. And be proud that your body was strong enough to birth those two girls. And forget about all those little “imperfections” that I’m sure you see every time you look in the mirror. I do it too.
I wish I could say I would have reacted better than I saw you react, but I can’t promise that. In the heat of the moment, I probably would have got upset and not explained why. If, or when it happens again, sit them down and explain to them that it’s not nice to say that you looked pregnant (which you didn’t, by the way) and that it hurt your feelings when they said that. They probably would have felt bad and apologized. Don’t matter how old they are, most kids don’t want to make people sad.
And again, go easy on yourself, mom. Life gets busy and time flies by. Just take a deep breath and move on. And know that you are awesome and doing a great job! And go easy on your kids. They’re learning to be little people and look to you to help them.