There it was, sitting atop the stack of mail my husband had piled on the kitchen table. The familiar comfort with which I recalled her didn’t ease the tension that had settled in my jaw and shoulders the second I saw it: the letter from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time. The shame of not doing a better job of keeping in touch with my pal burned hot in my cheeks. I swallowed the lump in my throat and slowly slit the envelope open…
I’ve been thinking about us a lot lately. I really liked us! Whatever happened to us?
Remember all the good times we had in college?! We were so tight! Sleep was fleeting and classes were tough, but we worked together and accomplished so much. We graduated with a degree and true love. And confidence. So much confidence. The moment was rare when we second-guessed ourselves, let alone our relationship. In a time of much change and uncertainty, we were the constant.
Ohmygoodness–how about your wedding day?! You didn’t see you the way I did: strong, capable, sure. You looked so beautiful in your gown, and while I don’t want to take away from your special day, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit I wish you had been prouder of our relationship right then. I was there, you were there, and we reveled in the magic of the day, but I think that’s when you began to take me for granted. We were incredibly fortunate, but one of us never realized it.
I supported you through your pregnancies. I was strong for deliveries. I was patient during recoveries. It seemed like the more I gave, the less you appreciated it! Even now, as your children grow and physically need you less, have you thought about returning to our roots? You know I’ll never leave you, but if you don’t start making me a priority, I promise you will regret it.
Some days it’s like you don’t care about me at all…
I can’t remember when we last spent quality time together. I know you’re busy, but I’ve always been there for you; is it so wrong to want some reciprocity? I feel I’ve earned it, and I know I damn well deserve it.
Oh, and I heard what your son said.
You didn’t think I caught it, did you? Muffled under his napkin at the dinner table.
I don’t blame him, though; I blame you. Little ears hang on to every word, and you’re constantly disrespecting me so how can I possibly blame the 3-year-old for repeating the words he hears every day? You teach your kids to speak kind words to one another; what about to themselves?! Start setting an example now or you’re going to raise children who look for flaws instead of beauty. Ugly insides are far worse than a little junk in the trunk, don’t you agree?
If you’re that upset with the way you look, let’s start working out together again! DUH! Why not jump on the treadmill? Use that spinner for something other than hanging wet towels! The ball is in your court. I’ll be waiting, as usual.
Lay off the ice cream,
Kim Bongiorno’s reaction to her daughter telling her, “Mama you have fat legs” is something I’ll carry with me forever. Note to self: love me more.
Kristen Daukas says
Let’s get physical and fit but let’s also cut ourselves some slack on the mean things we say to ourselves. Because as you (er..your body) just pointed out, our kids hear it. Great post.
You’re absolutely right, Kristen. I didn’t realize how much I was bad mouthing my own body until my toddler picked up on it. Pretty eye-opening.
I agree. I am trying to make a point to only say positive things about myself and others out loud. I more positive world starts with us teaching our kids to look beyond the appearances. Great post. Thanks.
Shannon, I am going to make the same efforts. Aaaaand break!
Bad Parenting Moments says
Ignore that bitch. Jokes, jokes, jokes! You are so great at putting the funny in with a deeper message. I dig this about you. So much. Sweet, sour, light, dark, laughs, pondering. Good stuff, as usual.
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the greatest compliment ever, yours is a 12. THANK YOU!
An Exercise In Frugality says
YES YES YES YES! This. I needed to read this today. I am getting married in 3 months, I have been abusing and trash talking my body for 15 years. It. Has. To. Stop. So many women can benefit from this post. So simple: BE NICE TO YOURSELF! If you think about it, if we had a friend who talked as much smack about ourselves as we do, we would kick that loser to the curb! Thank you and kudos for this post!
THREE MONTHS?!! Congrats and enjoy every second, okay?! The best advice I’ve ever gotten was in the middle of the wedding, take a moment with your man and walk AWAY from the people. Share a drink, a kiss, and be present in the moment. Not that you came here for my two cents or a rant that’s completely off topic, but there you have it. 😉
Kristi Campbell says
This is awesome and you’re so right – we can be so mean to ourselves, saying how fat we are and excellent point that our children will follow our examples when it comes to how we see ourselves. Here’s to being kinder to ourselves.
Aw Steph! Go easy on yourself! You’re only human. …said the girl that hasn’t been to the gym she pays for since December 2011.
Thanks, Jill. I’m planning to go much easier on myself from now on!
It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves and yes, little ears hear everything!!! Remember its not easy being a supermom and getting to the gym all the time and…and…and…cut yourself a little slack!
I hear ya woman and I vow to do better!!
The second my daughter was born, I shut my fat mouth about my fat ass. I know she’ll learn that women hate their bodies, but I don’t want her to learn it from me. It IS easier to avoid self criticism when I’m active (which right now, I am not).
I also started pretending I like bugs. My kids may someday hate spiders, but they won’t know that I do, too.
You’re a wiser woman than I. I don’t know why it’s taken that message so long to sink in for me, but I’m pretty disappointed in myself. I mean, I preach kindness and positive words to my kids and then I bad mouth myself?! Blargh. At least now I know and I’ll do better…and get active because, like you, I’m not right now.
Well said! My son refers to my rear-end as “big old butt”……….gee, where’d he hear that? Not a very fine example to set. : /
Hey! I know you!!!!!! 🙂 You’re right, though; we’re not setting good examples. And at this age, our little guys still think we’re queens. Why let them know otherwise?!
Beautiful message. I feel like my body would say many of the same things to me, too. Self-love is hard to achieve, but so worth it.
Awww, thanks Sara. And thanks for reading and commenting, too!!
This post is awesome for so many reasons. You are so funny and so right-on. I need to work on this too. My attitude AND what I shove in my mouth. It’s so hard to find the balance between showing my daughters that it’s important to take good care of ourselves and not wanting them to grow up thinking women have to eat only lettuce and can’t participate in fun stuff like birthday cupcakes.
My attitude AND what I shove in my mouth. <---- same here, lady! And you're so right about not wanting to mess up my kid's, especially my daughter's body image. Lettuce is fine as long as she's not afraid to indulge in a cupcake sometimes!
Amanda Mushro says
No one better talk shit about my girl! You are beautiful and insane to think differently!
Aww, shucks. Thanks, pal 🙂
Jean Heff says
You make a great point. I have NOT been the best example for health and fitness for my son. I’m off to feel guilty right now. Still, something I needed to hear.
And that there is another matter altogether, Jean: what am I teaching my kids about fitness by sitting on the junk in my trunk all day?! Granted, my job pretty much requires me to and my blogging hobby doesn’t help, but I’m done making excuses!!!
Eloquently put! I loved your take on this Stephanie.
Thanks so much, Vernette!!! xo
Christine at More Than Mommies says
I try to be very careful. Especially as a mom of daughters. Today at dinner we were sticking our bellies out and feeling how hard they are. When Ava touched mine she said. “it’s hard, but kind of ‘glumpy’.” I said, “It’s ‘glumpy’ because it grew four babies inside of it. Isn’t it amazing that my belly could do that?” She nodded yes, and my husband piped in to tell me how beautiful I am in front of them. I guess I should be happy that Ava felt she had to make up a word (glumpy) to describe my belly…”Fat” just isn’t in her vocabulary. *fingers crossed* maybe, so far, I haven’t screwed it up! Great post! Must share!
Awwww! I read this and got teary-eyed. Your response is so perfect, Jim coming to your rescue is adorable, and I just love your girls! I hope that I, too, would respond similarly, but not until yesterday did I realize just how often I put myself down. I’m sometimes kidding, but my babies don’t know the difference. Must. Be. More. Careful!
So perfect. So many of us feel this way. It’s important to not only be role models for health and fitness for our children, but also of a healthy attitude about our own bodies. Great!
You said it perfectly, Danielle!!
What a great letter! I honestly had to read it twice. Once when I thought your friend was missing you and then a second time when I realized who it was really from. So creative….I love it!!!
Ooooh I love that you read it twice, Michelle!!! THANK YOU!!!! <3
The Sadder But Wiser Girl says
My body doesn’t write me letters. Am I doing something wrong? Or right?
This was great (as it always is)!
I would say if you haven’t pissed off your body, don’t start now 😉
Love the way you wrote it, and thanks for the wake-up call!
Thanks for reading and commenting–much appreciated!
Jumpin' Jack Flash says
Very interesting. I was trying to guess who wrote you the letter….Sandy? Jess? Lisa? Then the twist and turns and…”your body” at the end. Very creative piece of writing so it was.
People thought it was YOU!!! You should write me letters, though. It’s romantic. Go on, buy some pretty stationary and get busy.
Oh Steph–this is so beautiful! I have always been way too afraid to listen to my body because I am pretty sure it hates me right now…but I did join a gym 2 months ago and am definitely making the body happy. It really is important that you get back into a workout routine (if you can find the time!!) This is one of my favorite posts from you! XO
Awww, that means the world coming from you, Marcia, thank you! I see your commitment to the gym and it inspires me! I need to get back on the horse…or treadmill…or at least stop housing sweet treats with my kids 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting!
Kathy at kissing the frog says
Ummm, I love this! This has been my Tuesday theme. It’s all the negative self talk that was modeled for me growing up. My parents were wonderful to me, so how did I get such negative self-esteem? My mom did it to herself, so that’s what I learned. Thank you for writing this – I am sooo sharing it! Can’t wait to hear how your bid to get healthy goes! xo
I don’t want my daughter to write a post like mine or a comment like yours, ya know? Thanks for reading and commenting, Kathy!! <3
Outsmarted Mommy says
It’s so true. We neglect our friend a lot. We are hard on our friend, harder than we think and man do our kids hear how we talk to our friend. I’m glad you got this letter and you are going to be kinder to her. She deserves it! Great post!
Thanks so much! xo
This? This is spot on. Love yourself, honey.
I like you. Lots.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. says
Is it my PMS that made me cry when I read this, or is it just that poignant? I think the latter. I feel you, friend. I just bought a size bigger jeans rather than use my precious blogging time by working out. I suck.
I’ve seen your mile-long legs–you’re gorgeous, lady!
Dani Ryan says
HILARIOUS! Especially since I just ate an entire bag of gummie bears in one sitting. Damn you, Aunt Flo!
All bets are off during Shark Week. If life is better with gummie bears, go nuts!
Surprise Mama says
Thank you for this post. I am my biggest detractor and I do find myself putting myself down in front of my daughter. I want her to have a positive self image, what ever she ends up looking like. I am responsible for helping to build that self-esteem and so I have a responsibility to build my own first!
You said it, Mama! It’s easier said than done, though, so good luck to us!
Debbie McCormick says
Oh my – if my body wrote me a letter it would be so mean I would cry. Cute post.
Julie Chenell DeNeen says
Love it~ as I sit here and eat doritos and drink diet coke while watching Wipeout. I suck!
You do NOT suck!!!!! Now those Wipeout people who take a shot to the face for fun–they might suck 😉
You are the bomb, girl! This is great! Not only do our kids learn these awful words but we begin to truly believe them and add them to our own personal resume! You are better than that! Be kind to yourself.
Thanks for the pep talk,Vicky!! xo
Chris Carter says
Did you know that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”???? Yup. God designed you as you are and His Creation is perfect. There is always room for improvement, but the way I always look at myself is through His eyes. Do you think He cares about your weight? I had one of those realizations long ago that when I disrespect/hate/bad talk myself… I am disrespecting His workmanship. Take that to heart, my sweet friend. You are knitted together perfectly in His Eyes.
Could this have BEEN more perfect? (Say that in Chandler Bing’s voice).
Chris, remember what I said a few weeks ago about you being an angel on earth? Yeah, THAT. xo
Lisa Newlin says
This made me want to cry a little! Don’t feel down about yourself! You’ve accomplished so much in your life. So what if you have a few pounds extra? Those pounds are life. Those pounds are donuts with your kids or dessert with your hubby.
I totally understand where you’re coming from, as I suffer from these same weight and image issues. If you want to make the change, you should do it, but only do it when you’re ready and you’re mind is there. Otherwise, it’s just miserable.
Great post! I read it while eating a cookie.
I think I wrote it while eating a biscotti 😉
Thanks for reading and commenting, Lisa! It’s not so much the weight that bothers me; it’s the fact that I tend to use words (sarcastically…) and my kids are starting to pick up on them. I hate when their little voices say hurtful things and this time, it’s my fault instead of some little prick at preschool’s.
Melissa S. says
I am the last person in the world to offer fitness advice, since I haven’t done anything terribly strenuous since last summer, BUT I do eat healthy, or at least healthier than I used to. What really got me about this post, however, was the part about watching how you talk about yourself. Little ears are always listening, and if they hear something enough, they repeat it. For now, I just don’t comment, lol, but one day I’m going to have to figure out how to say, Mom’s okay with her body. One day.
That’s the worst part of it for me, too; I say those negative things often enough that my son thought it was totally normal to repeat them. BOO HISS!
Thanks, Mama 🙂
Tracy @ Momaical says
I try not to lament my insecurities in front of the girls – but sometimes it slips out! I lean on “healthy” as my go to – we need to make healthy choices and let’s go outside so we can get some exercise and be healthy! Not perfect, but better than me complaining about being a fatasaurus rex…
A fatasaurus rex!!! I wonder if I would’ve been better at keeping my yapper yapped had I had my girl first. I’m not saying dudes don’t have body image issues, but I’m much more aware of what I say in front of my daughter. Hmmm…
I love the Amy Poehler Smart Girls at the Party video about appreciating your body and thinking one positive thing about yourself every time you look in the mirror. She did a great job of acknowledging how difficult and how important that can be. I think you and your body would love it 🙂 (or at least, I did and I shared it with my 10 year old who was hearing from show choir buddies that dieting is cool) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iOWqSPJZtmA
Shannan, thank you for that Poehler video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One Classy Motha says
Great letter! But I think my body co-authored it.
I’m always so careful with my wording around the kids, saying “Mom needs to eat healthier” instead of “dieting” or “I need to exercise more because I don’t feel very healthy right now” instead of “I better get my fat ass to the gym”.
BUT I’m terrible at appreciating my body and loving myself, both inside & out. I need to work on that. Thanks for the reminder!
Thanks for reading, Kim! You’re better at the verbiage than I. Must. Get. Better!!
At some point, I am determine to accept my body, muffin tops and all. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone. Great post!
Thanks for reading, Wendy 😉
Wow. I’ve been going through this a lot this week. I learned at MamaCon to accept my body more for its strengths and gifts and know that I can’t be what I was 20 years ago. I remember Kim’s post too. This was profound- thanks!
I’m learning that second guessing ourselves and not appreciating our bodies seems to be a side effect of having kids. That’s a damn shame, too, because I can’t think of anything more incredible than growing and birthing another human. For what it’s worth, you’re a beautiful lady and your make-up tips are changing my face 😉
the calibamamom says
what an incredibly creative post!! i LOVE it 🙂 and i totally agree about us mamas being so hard on ourselves for the way we look, and how our bodies change after having babies. living in los angeles, where the average woman i see is a freaking size 4 (and being in the entertainment industry to boot) i am guilty of being my own worst critic…but i don’t verbalize it, because i have daughters and i want them to develop healthy body images. i just do my best to stay active, keep them active and try to eat healthy, so we’ll BE HEALTHY…and we don’t own a scale 🙂
No scale–brilliant!! Good for you for being so aware! Thanks for stopping by, lady 😉
Deb @ Urban Moo Cow says
Finally found this! (Cuz ya never sent it to me!)
It’s funny… it’s a similar theme to what I wrote, but I still hear your body hating on you in this post. It’s like you realize it, but you’re still telling your fat self to get on the treadmill. (I don’t even know what you look like.)
Just my two cents. xo
Deb, you’re absolutely right: I’m a work in progress. Although I have REALLY curbed what I say in front of my kids. I’ve become acutely aware of how what I say about myself teaches them what to value (or not…) in themselves. I’ve improved in that respect!
SO SORRY I didn’t send this to you!