• Mama Bear & Mama Wolff

How My Toddler is Teaching Me To Love My Body

Late this summer, Papa Bear & I scoured the stores in search of a bathing suit for baby girl as she’d grown out of her beautiful black one piece with white polka dots. I finally admitted defeat and that it was time to let it go.

We found the CUTEST watermelon bikini at Walmart and had to snatch it up. It’s so dang cute I almost forgot about the retired bathing suit. Almost.

When the time to go swimming came up next, I dressed Baby Bear up in her new suit. I couldn’t believe how cute she looked!

Obviously I am biased, but come on. You see this, right?

Anyway, she danced and stomped around, shouting happily. She was so proud of her new suit. And proceeded to strut her stuff all around the apartment and out the door to get in the Jeep for swimming.

I love seeing her confidence. I love seeing her flair. Her passion for life. I wish I could be more like my toddler. She, is who I want to be when I grow up.

The other morning, Baby Bear and I got out of bed a few minutes late from indulging in some extra cuddles after a long night. (Teething & molars are NO FUN.). Before I could get dressed, she took my hand and guided me on a walk around the apartment. She’s been doing this a lot lately, and it’s lovely.

She led me over to the full length mirror closet doors, and started wiggling and giggling at her reflection. Just intentionally observing how her body moves and feels through dance. Not a care in the world. Just a beautiful baby in a diaper and me next to her, smiling and giggling right along with her.

Until I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Dressed in a bra and shorts; my reflection clapped back at me like a high school mean girl.

The stretch marks I love 8/10 times seemed deeper in that morning sun.

The stomach that will never be quite the same no matter what diet or exercise I try.

The new me.

The body I am grateful for and appreciate for giving me my daughter.

But the body I sometimes struggle with recognizing and loving the way it deserves.

I said nothing aloud for her to hear, but I was lost in thought. I did try to suck my stomach in and rearrange my body to look better. Straightening my back, trying to decide which thigh was thinner and therefore could be in front of the other. Who I was trying to impress ...I don’t know. Myself mostly. Or rather the voice in my head that I haven’t quite conquered.

Certainly not my daughter. She couldn’t care less what I looked like, or anyone else for that matter. Children don’t look at someone and see fat or thin, beauty or ugliness. Unless they are taught to. They look and see if they feel love from that person. If they feel safe and comfortable. Finding faults in our bodies (and the bodies of others) is a learned and observed behaviour. And its up to us as parents and guardians to model acceptance.

I do my best, but I am human. I am learning and growing too. And I get a little better every day.

As my hand was pressed unconsciously on my belly, willing it to flatten- I glanced over at my daughter because she had stopped wiggling and giggling.

She had her hand on her tummy too, looking from her reflection to mine.

Probably wondering what I was doing. And I got a nice, (much needed) and chilling reminder that it is not enough for me to tell her she is beautiful and strong and brilliant and loved unconditionally just the way she is. (Its a HUGE part of raising her, but it’s not enough.)

I am her needle on the compass of life and womanhood. Her first example. My thoughts become my behaviours and those will influence her. Her inner voice. Her actions.

And one day the voices of society will try and penetrate her beautiful, innocent mind. They will try and taint her reflection. My words will only go so far. Words are great, but as we all know; actions speak louder than words.

I need to be kinder, more accepting and loving to myself. And when I receive compliments. I need to accept them. She needs to see me thank the person that has spoken kind words. Not brush them off or make some shitty comment to deflect the kindness. This is something I am still struggling with too.

Vocalizing to her is only half the battle of raising her with a strong sense of self. She has to see other women who believe they are beautiful, strong, brilliant and loved just the way they are. That they believe they are worthy, just the way they are. I have to try harder. For her, and also for myself.

I can be a better mama when I am not so wrapped up in my mind and body in a negative manner. I can be a better woman when I am living a soulful and intentional life. And therefore creating a sustainable and loving home for my family. It starts with me.

Thanks for the reminder little girl.

Mama will do better.


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