“Wow, Mama! You look really pretty!”
(We will ignore for the moment the inevitable followup question, “Where are we going today?” as if I only get dressed on days we leave the house. )
The fact is, I hear this more often now than I did when I was young and cute. Daily or more, easily. They’re not (usually) trying to get something from me; they actually believe it.
I’ve spent the last sevenish years trying to get my head in a better space regarding my body. My attitude toward her has improved significantly, but I still frequently feel uncomfortable about my shape and the haggard look I see in the mirror. I am thankful for this body, and I usually feel just a little better than neutral about her appearance, but there are days (or, more accurately, small parts of most days) when all I can see is my size and the way my clothes don’t fit well because my proportions are apparently nonstandard. My boobs fit one size, waist another (and way higher than than normal clothes expect), my hip/belly region is a whole ‘nother thing. Most of the time, it’s fine. But there’s that last five percent that’s not fine.
And then there are the other things I think about myself—the ways I don’t have my crap together in motherhood or life. I’m only rarely kind to myself about failures and shortcomings and outright sin like I’m (usually) kind about my body.
My children and husband see me differently. Sadly, they have some of the same internal struggles I do, but they see me in the most generous light. To them, I’m pretty. And Lilly calls me “weet mama” (she can say /s/ sounds, but frequently doesn’t bother). They draw me always smiling and use snapshots of normal days to induce good dreams. I don’t know why their concept of me mostly includes the positive side of me (a far cry from the whole of me), but it’s grace.
I’m trying to remember this. To believe they mean it when they say I’m pretty or they like me. (And to take the times they don’t like me or call me THE WORST MOM EVER as a compliment.) I want to see what they see. Not because their worldview is inerrant—clearly not, these are the kids who tell me when Daddy and I die, they’ll be happy because then they can have ALL THE CANDY THEY WANT—but because it matters.
I don’t need to be blind to my flaws, but their view of me (for now) can help me from being consumed by them.
This post is part of my series, 31 days of speaking the truth. You can find the whole list of them here on the first post of the series.