photo (21)My daughter just provided me with a little ‘aha’ moment the other day. I was watching the make-over episode of the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants came out of the dressing room in a red dress. My daughter looked up at the TV and said, “Look Mommy, a princess!” She said it with such joy and wonder on her face. In her mind, this happy smiling woman in a dress WAS a princess. Mind you, this woman had no make up on, her hair wasn’t done, and she is still ‘over-weight’ based on our standards here in the states. This is no offense to this woman; she is simply still on her weight loss journey. None of this mattered to my 2 ½ year old. It really got me thinking.

First of all, I was so proud! I was proud that she has not been influenced by me or by society or by Disney to think that only skinny is beautiful. She can still see a woman who has genuine happiness on her face and call her a princess without any discrimination. I don’t know how long this will last, or even how long I want this whole princess fantasy to continue, but right now I am going to enjoy it.

What this should teach us though, is we are not born to discriminate, or hate, or make fun of, or think less of other people because of their appearance. We are born knowing that every human being is equally amazing and beautiful. We know this instinctually; we know it down to our bones. We learn otherwise, and incorrectly so. We are taught that “mommy doesn’t like to look fat in her jeans” and that “the chubby kid gets picked on the most” and that “there are no fat models” and that “the pretty girls get attention”.

It’s the same thing with racism. Remember that awesome Dennis Leary quote, “Racism isn’t born folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.” How true is that?!? And, if I introduced Ellie to 2 men and said, “Joe likes boys, and Mike likes girls”. She would say, “Okay…look at my pony.” She doesn’t care. Are they going to be nice her? Are they going to play Candyland? She’s on board.

We need to be conscious of our behavior, what comes out of our mouths, and our body language. A five year old girl is completely capable of interpreting an exasperated sigh as her mother looks in the mirror and doesn’t approve of what she sees. She is completely aware of the things you enjoy and focus on. If your coffee table is filled with Cosmo and US weekly instead of literature authored by women or books about science and the arts, she will notice. If your ‘down-time’ is watching Real Housewives or The Bachelor, she will notice. Not to mention the message this sends to our sons. Are we teaching our sons to value a woman for everything that she is capable of, or are we showing him that our value as women comes from our appearance?

It’s a lot of pressure, right? Yeah, parenting isn’t easy.

Just today to my husband I said, “I really need to focus on my diet. I am shaving my head in a month and I can’t be bald and chubby.” Granted, this was not in front of my kids, but it still came out of my mouth. I heard me say it. How many times a day do you insult yourself? If you had a friend that spoke to you that way, you would have ditched her years ago. And, my husband heard me say it. How annoying we must be to our husbands…. The person who loves us more than anyone else on the planet, the person who we trust with our lives, our future, our children, and we don’t believe the nice things they say to us.

I want to think like a 2 year old. I want to do what makes me happy. I want to value everyone equally (except moms, moms are the best). I want to play so hard that I fall asleep while eating. I want to be unashamed of my feelings and say what’s on my mind. We think that kids don’t know much, but they are so much wiser than we give them credit for. We could all learn a lot from them if we were actually listening.

What life lesson have you learned from your kids?

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