I know all the mamas out there agree: kids often teach us more than we ever thought imaginable. Not only do they teach us to embrace the most selfless kind of love, but their fresh eyes and untainted logic is an invaluable dose of wisdom!
Today, as I reflected on all my embarrassing moments and what they have taught me, I remembered one in particular that sent my brain on overdrive as I strove to teach my little one the norms of society, while staying true to our values.
We were in line at what used to be a Boudin Bakery at UTC (that area is under intense renovation now), and in front of us was a “heavy-set” woman. My son was little, about 5-6 years old, so his eyesight was at the perfect angle to say – a little too loudly –
“Look mama – A BIG BUTT!”
I felt the entire restaurant quiet down and I found myself at a loss for words. I quickly shushed him. He had that quizzical look on his face.
As we waited for the food, I took him aside and proceeded to explain:
“Honey, we don’t make comments like that about people’s bodies. It can make them feel bad.”
As he nodded his head, he said, “Ohhhh, so is it bad to have a big butt?”
I quickly cried out, “No! – I mean, of course not. We are all different shapes and sizes, and beautiful in many ways. There is nothing bad about the way people look.”
That is when it hit me. There are some norms we follow, where we try to be sensitive to other people’s insecurities – but oftentimes, they are a reflection of our own insecurities. Why would this woman feel bad? Perhaps because I would? It is quite possible she is proud of her bodacious bod. And she should be.
I had to fix this. And so I said,
“Look – there’s nothing wrong with how she looks. There is nothing wrong with talking about it as something wonderful or interesting, as long as we respect them and see they are people too – not a thing like a vase or a table. But – some people do say things like that to make fun of a person and make them feel bad, so the woman might not know if you are being nice or mean, and feel bad.”
That was enough for him. But that sent me on my own mission of self love. Who knew this little one would help me find appreciation for my own size and shape, along with more awareness for the societal norms I follow and teach?
When has your little one embarrassed you and taught you a new fresh way to see things? Comment below, I would love to know!