Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

parenting and body image

(16 Posts)
FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 07:46:01

As some know, I have a shockingly poor body image as a result of my mother's input. I try really hard not to say anything in front of my children that could cause the same.

My daughter is 9. She never talks about being 'pretty' or 'fat'. She is aware that healthy is important and healthy isn't about being thin.

She talks about her qualities aside from appearance and is focused on her body being 'strong' and healthy, and it's capabilities rather than appearance.

I'm experiencing pressures from certain quarters to not pass on my own insecurities (I'm trying really hard and I don't see any of the signs) but I also worry that I'm missing them.

But I'm also getting pressure from the same people to pass on good relationship models to my children.

I've made a decision to be single now. The calibre of man I'm able to attract is shockingly poor. I'm intelligent and educated, I think I'm a decent person, but socially, I struggle generally. And in relationships, well I fail miserably.

On the rare occasions I do attract a man who is similar to me, they turn out to be married or not think I'm good enough for them.

So I'm finding it difficult to show her that I am, and therefore she is, deserving of loving/respectfful relationships/friendships, because I am not.

I'm at a point now where I wouldn't tell someone I thought they were attractive, not because I fear rejection, but because I think it will make them doubt themselves if they think they're attracting people like me.

For these people who are commenting, being single isn't really a viable option either.

I also worry about teaching her that looks aren't important and to be body confident if she is just going to be disappointed when she grows up, enters the real world and realises that she is judged by her looks/weight/size/appearance anyway.

I know this is garbled. There's just a lot from a few people that I can't separate out.

TheBakeryQueen Mon 20-Jul-15 07:53:59

I think passing the message on that it's ok to be single is a positive message too!

As parents we can't be everything unfortunately. We aren't perfect & neither should we strive to be!

You sound like a great role model. I don't think I'd look for a relationship just so as I can model how to be in one, if that makes sense. You're not passing on any negative relationship models & that's the important bit I think.

Lovingfreedom Mon 20-Jul-15 07:57:06

From what you say your daughter has a healthy body image so far. Maybe you aim to treat yourself with the same kindness and care you have for her. smile

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 07:58:45

Thank you.

I've had from a few different people now that teaching her/them that it's ok to be single is unfair to her and that she might end up never trusting men or never seeing herself in a relationship.

Tbh, I hope I'm passing on the message that she shouldn't be defined by her relationship status, or attractiveness to boys and that she shouldn't make finding a husband the focus of her life.

museumum Mon 20-Jul-15 07:59:11

I have always believed that no relationship is a better choice than a flawed one. That's the message you want to send. Single IS ok.
However, I can see that you're trying really really hard for your daughters sake but your beliefs and thought processes are still very sad. You clearly have a history of attracting bad relationships but it's not "what you deserve" or "all you can attract". Those are very sad thoughts. ImGine how you'd feel if your dd said those thing to you when she was older. I think you still need to work harder on your self-esteem and beliefs.

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 08:01:31

Actually, I'm adopting the 'opposite' approach to parenting. I look back to what my mother did and do the opposite. It seems to be working ok so far

Lovingfreedom Mon 20-Jul-15 08:04:06

It is ok to be single...tbh there's so much out there promoting the benefits of relationships, marriage and romantic love you are doing well to show an alternative option. grin

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 08:08:41

museum it's upsetting to me to read that. It is sad, but it's not wrong.

I'm 40. I married a man who didn't love me/find me attractive (we were both accepting of this, there were reasons). I've had 2 bfs since, one liked me but wasn't attracted to me, the other was attracted to 'me' but I wasn't what he wanted (wanted younger, slimmer, prettier).

I wouldn't believe that someone found me attractive now.

I don't want her to ever feel like I do.

countryandchickens Mon 20-Jul-15 08:11:54

Folk, I also think it's worth bearing in mind a fridge magnet I have that says 'if you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning.'

I have said to my children 'I have felt like this and I hope you never do, because ...' Or 'I have made this mistake and it is difficult to change how I feel about it, but ...'

Sometimes you can be honest with your children without bringing them down with you - just by pointing out the paths they DON'T want to take!

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 08:13:40

fredom I want her to believe that she has the power to make her own life amazing and that if a man comes along who makes it even better, then great, but if not, then she shouldn't settle for second best.

museumum Mon 20-Jul-15 10:37:40

What a wonderful attitude Folk. I just really wish you could also adopt it for you flowers

DorisDazzler Mon 20-Jul-15 13:17:55

Who's pressuring you Op ?

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 13:32:16

museum I do have that attitude for myself, I've just also come to the conclusion that any man who is interested in me will be second best. I have realised I discount men for being "too good" for me and have very low tolerance for men I go out with.

Doris friends mainly. Not all of them but I've found out that some of them disapprove of me dating at all. I can't win though. They also think I should be more tolerant of men I do date and less quick to dump. Regardless of what they've done.

One did a bit of a character assassination the other day which basically amounted to I'm fucked up and I'm going to end up alone if I don't compromise. The last guy I dumped, I did so beca

pocketsaviour Mon 20-Jul-15 13:35:54

I've had from a few different people now that teaching her/them that it's ok to be single is unfair to her

Tell those people to mind their own bloody business. Cheeky twats, seriously. I would imagine there's a fair amount of projection going on there; they probably regret being married/in an LTR but don't have the impetus/courage to leave.

Do you have friends/family members who are happily married that your DD sees? If so, those are her role models for relationships. You're not required to be in a relationship just so you can model a good one for her. Far better for her to see you surviving on your own and being discerning about the relationships that you are in.

Regarding being judged on her looks, etc - it might be worth explaining to her that being smartly dressed helps to project a professional, confident image. This could also be part of a bigger talk about how society judges people - especially women - on how they look. She might be a little young for that right now, but it would be useful to have that talk before she goes to secondary school.

karigan Mon 20-Jul-15 13:43:56

My dd is only 10 months so I'm a while off from these issues but there is a great website 'a Mighty Girl' which has loads of resources on a variety of topics including body image. Maybe reading these together will reinforce the positive message you've already got in place and open the door for conversation.

Not sure what suggest to help yourself feel more positive but I just wanted to say I think it's very admirable that you are being so careful not to let your experiences affect your daughter. smile

FolkGirl Mon 20-Jul-15 17:26:52

pocket sadly, we don't have (contact with) any other family.

I don't think they're projecting negatively. The friend who os the catalyst married last year and her parents have been married for 30+ yrs. There is a touch of the 'living in an ivory tower' about her in a number of areas. I'm just being judged for having 'failed' really.

karigan yes, I'm aware of the mighty girl stuff. It was readimg something on there that got me thinking about this.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: