I was doing a great job teaching my youngest how to tie his shoe laces, and it was a cute moment, so my wife (as parents do) took a quick snap of it.
"Do NOT post that!" was my immediate response.
"Aw, but it's such a nice moment"
"Julie...I'm not wearing a top"
That was it. That was the reason. The photo was a side on view of belly fat and I couldn't bare to look at it, let alone allow others to. Since entering my 30s I have been bombarded with messaging that I can only be happy if I lose 10kg from whatever my current weight is. Note - this isn't medical specialists who are concerned for my health, this is from Youtube ads for weight loss apps and everywhere else I consume media.
I know the first response to this will be someone saying that women have experienced this forever - body shaming and body confidence issues and the expectations that we tacitly place on women.
While this is completely true, it is also becoming more and more true for men and boys. Unfortunately, there isn't a body positivity movement for men to counter this just yet, so we just have to try to ignore the comments about our dad bods, our eating habits and our stomachs. So not only is there a huge negative view of our bodies, but we are also missing anything positive to counter it. In fact, I'm pretty certain most people have no idea that the men in their lives have body-esteem issues, and therefore end up being the worse perpetrators of this.
Let me tell you something: Your baby-daddy has looked in the mirror and felt depressed at what he sees there at some point in his life.
(For me, it was this morning)
So, that being said, this post is for the bodies of ALL parents.
I mean, look at what I'm actually doing in the photo: showing my son who hates being told what to do how to tie his shoelaces. I've worked how to do it in a way that is fun for him, and he's having a great time. I should be so proud of that photo. So that's what I'm going to do.
Let's be proud of these parenting bodies, because these bodies have the ability to:
- Calmed a scared or hurt child down
- Become the most comfortable pillow
- Become a horse
- Give the greatest rollercoaster ride
- Know exactly how to make a kid feel safe
- Show someone how to throw and kick and run and how to use their body well
- Make the best pancakes, lasagne, popcorn or the food that your child will reminiscence about when they are older
- Teach a human being about kindness and grit and loyalty and how to be a good person
- Clean endless piles of laundry
- Provide a wall of protection when a child is feeling shy
- Teach someone how to use a screwdriver and a broom and a saw
- Give someone the confidence to go into life with their head held high
- Work hard to create a happy life for their family
This is list is incredible, but for a parent, this is Tuesday. Let's stop