Teaching Our Kids to Love Their Bodies as We Struggle Loving Our Own

Hey y’all! It’s Jess again.

Today I’m going to go into something that I think is super important and definitely not talked about enough- body image. I know we think about our own body image all the time but that’s not really what I’m talking about- I’m talking about our kids seeing us. How do we make our kids feel more confident in their bodies when we aren’t comfortable in our own?

I have always struggled with my body. I have never been comfortable in my own skin. I know now that so much of that stems from my own childhood and experiences growing up.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you know I am part of a Latinx family. Well, my family in particular loved to talk about bodies. “Te estas poniendo rellenita” meaning you’re filling up/getting chubby. “Estas muy flaca. Come más” meaning you’re too skinny. Eat more.

All. The. Time. To everyone.

I have found this to be a common theme with my other Latinx friends but I will not be so bold as to say that this is an issue in all Latinx families because all families are different.

Anywho, when I found out I was pregnant, I went above and beyond to train my brain so I would never speak badly about my body in front of my kid.

I didn’t want her to grow up with all the same insecurities I did. I set what I thought were realistic expectations for postpartum so I wouldn’t feel pressured to “bounce back.” To be honest, I didn’t feel that. I loved my body. I made a whole other human whom I am still in absolute awe of. It definitely helped that I had essentially “bounced back.”

Well, cut to two babies in under two years who both nurse and no free time ever, I am looking like a hot mess express pretty much all the time. Not doing great things for my confidence.

Still, I have worked hard to ensure my kids never hear me speak negatively about my body. I don’t always get it perfect but I try every day. These are some of the things that have worked for us:

  1. Pay attention to media. What are your kids watching? Getting nostalgic and wanting to watch a movie from your childhood? Watch it first and check for how they speak about bodies and food.
  2. Don’t speak poorly about your body. This includes- I need to work out, I shouldn’t eat that, I’m on a diet, I need to get skinny, My pants don’t fit anymore, My body isn’t what it used to be.” These all seem harmless but can lead to so much damage in a child without the understanding that just because my body isn’t what it used to be, doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful and powerful.
  3. Do speak positively about your body. This includes- I am so strong, I love to run, I like working out because I feel powerful, I love to eat different foods, My body is perfect.
  4. Books books books. Y’all already know I’m obsessed with books. Books about having positive self-image are incredible additions to any library.
  5. Create a good relationship with food. I am a huge believer that nobody should be forced to eat. Ever. Some days I eat enough for a small army and some days I only eat a sandwich, a smoothie, and fruit but it fills me up. We all have different days. Days where we want to eat everything we see and days where we don’t care too much for food.
  6. No “bad” foods. I totally get not spoiling dinner with a carton of ice cream but when we give dessert only if “you eat all your veggies” we are making veggie the obstacle (negative) to get to the prize (positive) thus reinforcing that ice cream or whatever other desserts you planned has a higher value and satisfaction quotient than say broccoli.
  7. Wear clothes you feel good in. I am so guilty of this. Especially during COVID because I hate shopping for myself. I hate buying bigger clothes for myself when I have all the intentions of losing weight. All this leads to is our kids watching us feel and look uncomfortable in our own clothes and as a result, our skin.
  8. Set realistic goals. If you want to lose weight, that’s totally okay. Trying to lose 10 lbs in a week is not realistic and can lead to harm when our kids see us starving ourselves and working so hard to get to a magic number. When trying to lose weight, it is best to try for more reasonable goals like one to two lbs a week so we feel inspired and are constantly reinforced by achieving goals that are within our reach.

Let’s be real- this has absolutely nothing to do with the number on the scale. I know that number has haunted many of us for years but now is the time to change that.

Let’s teach our kids to not care about a meaningless number. It does not measure our health or our worth. Do you feel good? Beautiful? Fit? Healthy? That is enough. The number is irrelevant.

You are beautiful. Your body is beautiful. Wear it with pride so your children can too.

What are some ways you discuss foods in a positive way? What are some of your favorite non-physical compliments to give your children? Most importantly, what’s your favorite thing about your body? Drop it in the comments and let’s spread some body positivity today.

How to talk to people again once the Covid-19 Pandemic is over

Hey y’all. It’s Jess again with a very important PSA. If you’ve been quarantined for the last few months with very little to no human contact outside of your family, you are now, most likely socially awkward if not straight-up weird. Trust me. Do you remember your child’s first day of school? Yup. Like that.

I am a social butterfly. I LOVE talking. My mom says I give her headaches because I never shut up once I started talking.

I didn’t get it until my first baby started talking… But now, she even talks in her sleep.

Anyway, the other day I made the decision to socially distance with a friend. I NEEDED it. We went to the park. Set up our blankets and basically screamed at each other from 6+ feet away.

Remember being in the playground standing in line for jump rope and seeing your bestie across the yard but not being able to risk your spot in line so instead you had a full-blown convo from across the yard? Yup. That was us.

We were both so eager to talk to another person that we didn’t stop the whole time.

Now, talking a bunch isn’t weird right? No, of course not. My kid does it all the time and it can be downright adorable. This is why things were weird- we had no filter. None. Any sense of “maybe I shouldn’t say that went right out the window.”

Our conversation was so bizarre too. I talked for 20 straight minutes about snails. My daughter is into them so I have done a ton of research on everything snail. Its what 90% of my conversations consist of now so it’s what I had to share.

My friend and I spoke on the phone the next day about all the inappropriate things we said to each other and how we basically forgot how to human. Which leads me here… We have all gone a little weird. That’s right. We have become our toddlers.

No need to worry. I am going to go through some quick steps on how to once again communicate with other people so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Step 1: DO NOT TOUCH

Obviously we are all up on the restrictions but many of us used to hug, kiss, shake hands pre-COVID and that is just not a possibility anymore. I’m not going to lie, I almost went in for a hug despite being super paranoid of any human contact. It is just a force of habit. So, I repeat, NO TOUCHING. Back to Kindergarten rules. Hands to yourself.

Step 2: Pleasantries

You might have hated pleasantries before but they are a crucial part of not word vomiting all your innermost thoughts at this point in time.

Repeat after me: “Hello.” Pause a few seconds to let the other person answer. “How are you?” Pause once more to let the person answer. “How’s (child/spouse/pet/plant/anyone else they care about)?”

Once again, pause. Take a moment to practice in the mirror if need be. Make sure you pause so as to not overwhelm the other person and to appear normal.

What do you do if they ask you “How are you?”? It is okay.

Do not panic.

Respond with one of the following: “great, tired, good, not bad, I’ve been better.” Woah, that was exhausting.

Did you realize how difficult talking to other humans is? Yeah, me too. No wonder kids skip this whole part altogether.

Step 3: Word Vomit

You have been cooped up for months. There is no way to stop it. Embrace it.

Talk about snails for 20 minutes.

The good news is, we are all kind of weird right now so your friend won’t be alarmed when you do this step. Talk about any and everything your heart desires.

My daughter tells everyone about our dog's poop. When we walk around the neighborhood she yells at people across the street if she sees poop so everyone knows. She also does this with snails.

So, just listen to your friend's wild new activities. Are they super into baking now and talking about how they score their bread perfectly with a new tool they got from Etsy that looks like a UFO? Maybe, maybe not.

Either way, just take in all the weird you’re about to absorb and be at peace with all the weird you’re putting down.

Step 4: Goodbyes

At some point, you have to leave right? Yes, I know.

It is so sad to leave other humans. I totally understand why kids throw tantrums when it’s time to go now. Now, say goodbye in your preferred form – “goodbye, see you alligator, catch you later, chat soon” or any others you may have up your sleeve. Resist the pre-COVID urge to hug or shake hands. Just don’t do it. We all have cooties right now.

Once you have accomplished this and are walking back to your car/house, start to think about/obsess about all the things you just said that were kind of weird. This is totally normal. It is the new normal.

All jokes aside, we will see people again. I think. I hope. When we do, pull out this handy dandy guide on how to once again communicate with other humans. Under no circumstance

Who are some of the people you are most excited to see?

If you have seen people have you had any weird conversations? Feel free to share your embarrassment with us in the comments below!

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back to school 2020

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