Through My Children’s Eyes

Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.

My first reaction is shock.

Who took this hideous picture of me?!

Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.

Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.

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“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.

I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.

“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it, mom.”

“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.

“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”

I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.

My daughter walks over and takes a look.

“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “You’re so beautiful. I love it.”

I take a deep breath.

This is exactly what I needed.

My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.

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I still see my dimply, fat thighs.

I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.

I still see chubby arms.

I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.

I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.

I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.

Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.

Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…

I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.

Yes. You heard me.

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“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”

Well… not exactly. But something like that.

Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.

Really, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t hate my body anymore.

That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.

I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.

Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.

Thank you, kids.

Related post: Finally, I Don’t Hate My Body

About the writer

Bridgette White is a stay-at-home mother of two who lives in Sacramento with her husband and two guinea pigs. She is the author of BridgetteTales.com, a blog about depression, self-discovery and parenting. Bridgette worked at the Sacramento Bee for 7 years and was featured as part of the inaugural Sacramento cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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Mary Burrier 4 months ago

This is a beautiful story and I too, am crying my eyes out! You are a very wonderful mom in every sense of the word. I love you!

Amber 11 months ago

Great read thank you!

Kim 11 months ago

I thought “what a cute suit” and “Oh, look, the ocean”. Not one negative. Love that your kids recognized the beauty!!!!

cheryl 11 months ago

Tears are flowing, I’m not there yet I still struggle but thank you for posting. You made my day.

Colleen 11 months ago

Thank you! I needed to hear this today. Thank you!!!

mrsfeek 11 months ago

I can’t honestly say that I’ve gotten to a point where I accept my body in the way you have, but it’s something I aspire to. Good for you!

Nicole Heisler 11 months ago

I love this you Beautiful mama! I feel the same way!

Amy Diggle Moran 11 months ago

A wonderful reminder… and yes you do look beautiful.

Amy 11 months ago

Teared*. Guess exhaustion has taken over my spelling abilities.

Amy 11 months ago

I seriously just tested up because as moms we are so dang hard on ourselves! Gosh your kids are so right…you are so beautiful in that picture! Congrats on raising such trendies kids! I hope to do the same!

Nat Lucas Jr 2 years ago

Dear Mrs. White,
This is extremely well expressed and
well- written;
If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be posting this comment.
In the earliest days of Sesame Street,
(I have no idea when!)
I saw a short play that might
easily come from the pages
of Grimm’s fairy tales.
It was portrayed by what you might refer to as a Muppet-like stock company, none of those we know as the Muppets today.
A very young child got lost in a small village. Helpful villagers saw him standing woefully, and, of course, asked him what was the matter. He told them that he’d become separated from his Mother. As it was market-day, and also a small market in an even smaller village, they asked him to describe her. He told them that his Mother was
“the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Of course, as you can expect, after a long search in which he was taken through the whole market, none of the women they showed resembled her in the slightest bit.
The others thought that she must be a
paragon of beauty if none of those he saw were even slightly as beautiful as she.
When SHE found him by the end of
market-day, of course, they were bewildered, and some were miffed also.
When they told him that he lied in describing her as he did, he insisted that all of them were wrong; that she was beautiful.
He was certain of this he said, not only from
his own point of view; he knew for an absolute certainty that he was not lying, because had he had the confirmation of his Dad telling him it was so several times. Furthermore, he even knew his Dad was telling the truth, as his Mom was present once when his Dad said it, and she absolutely would not tolerate lying…
The point of posting such a saga is that if you have a family that is a family, it IS perfectly true TO THEM. The feelings of shame disgust &c, (When you write an essay like the above, you already know what that etcetera stands for!) that some fat person, male or female may have come from their “well-meaning” relatives, who can be myriad, & their friends, coworkers and total strangers…
This state of affairs will only end when being fat gets decriminalized. If you’re fat, it’s no one’s bloody judgement call and nobody’s business, either. Thank you. (Steps off of soap-box…)

blair 2 years ago

The other day my husband asked me a question, to which I answered “because I’m ugly? ” only half joking. My three year old daughter chimed in “mommy I’m ugly tooooo! ” I was mortified! That’s the day I decided to change the way I talk about myself.

Dani Hottendorf 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this. I had a very similar eye opening experience when my sin took a photo of my hubby and I hiking. I couldn’t believe how chubby I looked. I thought I was covering it well enough. The heaviest I’d been in my life besides pregnancy and I only saw fat and flaws and my flushed tired but smiling face. My kids saw a happy hiking mom. The photo inspired me to take a step towards a strict diet and life change. .. I wish I could’ve been ok with me that way. After reading your article I’m trying hard to be ok with me while on my weight loss journey and new healthy life without sugar and starches.

Jamie (@va_grown) 2 years ago

Love this…your courage to share is such an encouragement to me.

Jenny Johnston 2 years ago

Good for you. I love your honesty and simplistic writing. I am so long winded I annoy myself, HA!!! I will have to “check you out” more often!

Lori Clark 2 years ago

thank you.

JudyG 2 years ago

My mother was heavy. I take after my father and have the ‘approved’ body type.

This week an uncharacteristic thing happened. My older sister, who is more like my mother, walked into the room after her shower, without bothering to cover up. I looked at her and felt quiet pleasure. She looks really nice to me. Perhaps it reminds me of my mother, who always looked great to me. Perhaps because women really are attractive–curvy and nice, regardless of our weight.

Dina 2 years ago

This story brought tears to my eyes! What awesome kids you have, and yes, you look beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

Theresa Ceniccola 2 years ago

I see a beautiful, courageous mom who loves her children and is learning to love herself! Thanks for sharing this, Bridgette. Your vulnerability is an inspiration!!

Jenn 2 years ago

Beautiful!

Kikka 2 years ago

Good on you. We’ve all been there, somehow, but not all of us find the guts to talk about it so openly and kudos for becoming a role model. I have four children and a husband whom I love fiercely, too, and a body I don’t, anymore, but have come to accept as the body that made my family possible. So that’s good enough for me, dimpled thighs and all. Best regards from Rome, Italy, Europe.

Nick 2 years ago

Great post! I just love the truth that comes from innocent children’s minds. And great stuff sharing this. A lot of people will resonate with it. I, too, shy away from the camera these days, but I’m sure my kids see things differently, too. :)

Chris 2 years ago

I want to do this, I really do but I’ve never been able to. If I were to die tomorrow my children might have a couple of pics of me. I hate how I look but I need to get over it for them. Easier said than done though

Mindi spenner 2 years ago

Wonderful! Love yourself and help others do the same. Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Hyland 2 years ago

This Company was made for all the brave feisty loving, dimply mothers of the world…and it could change your life!!! http://www.totaltucker.com

Tina Hicks 2 years ago

You darn tootin’ you’re beautiful. Those children see you for who you really are, not what society says is the definition of beautiful. I have little grand-kids who think I am the most amazing, funny, creative grandma ever. I, too, am an overweight woman. They play with my fatty arms and then wrap them around themselves in contentment. Life becomes amazing and wonderful with them around. Kudos to your kiddos. They are amazing, too.

HeartMindHappy ~ Suz 2 years ago

Thank you for this post. Too many women dislike their bodies instead of seeing the positive. Learning to love yourself is so important for a happy life. Suz <3

Trish 2 years ago

I love this article! You are beautiful! And I think I have that same suit!

Amanda Meeks 2 years ago

I have just come to this realization myself! I am over weight and I hate my arms!! Even when I was thin I hated them! My children however do not see what I see. We just got back from a cruise and I went sleeveless and even wore a tube top kinda thing lol. I also let people take my picture and even liked a few of them. I have always been active with my kids, I never wanted them want to do something and MY weight issues slow them down. Maybe one day I will drop a few but until then….sleeveless it is and being beautiful for my husband and kids is just what I need to make me feel better about my self! You go girl..good job!

Rose Szejbut 2 years ago

Love this! I haven’t worn a bathing suit in 30 years. My granddaughters want me to go in the water with them when we go to the beach. I live in Florida for pete’s sake. I think you just made me want to get in a swim suit and go play with the girls! Thank you sooo much! You are beautiful!!

Cristen 2 years ago

I love this! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and wisdom! With my job in the health and wellness industry, that’s what it’s all about. Sure, we have a wrap that can help tighten and tone those “problem areas” that we all have, but to me it’s not about really about trying to look skinny or rock a bikini. It’s about feeling your best and gaining that confidence and a healthy view of yourself. Your kids were right-that IS a beautiful picture of a beautiful woman!

Liliane 2 years ago

This article it’s awesome 😀 . Really loved it. Beauty is the eye of the beholder.

Maureen Zuccaro 2 years ago

Awesome. I can relate

Diane Milano 2 years ago

Aren’t kids the best?!

Rachel 2 years ago

This is a fantastic post! There are so many of us who feel the same way, and we need to remember that our kids don’t see all the flaws we do…they just see a beautiful lady who loves them to the ends of the earth.

Beth 2 years ago

You (and your kids) are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photo!

Christine 2 years ago

You have fantastic children !!! Beautiful story….thanks for sharing….

Kathleen Leichtnam 2 years ago

Seriously almost in tears right now because this 100% rings true. Thank you!

Erika Rorvick Jenkins 2 years ago

This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for posting!

susie 2 years ago

teary eyed!!! Beautiful article. I thought someone took a picture of me for a second, and I’m the same exact way! It’s hard to love myself, I am always busy doing for everyone else. Thank you for writing this!!!

MarMar 2 years ago

This was beautiful. Just last night I was so down on myself about my weight. We had been on the boat all day and I don’t even want to be in my swimsuit let alone walk around in it on the boat. I am a great mom and my kids love me for who I am, not what I look like. The timing of me reading this article was almost scary. Thank you so much for posting this. Our society is so focused on the shallow things like looks and forget that the majority of women don’t look like skinny beanpoles after kids. We are just constantly bombarded with media that is just not realistic. This really helped my mental state this morning. What a great article and you should be handed an award for being a great mom and helping women everywhere out with what you wrote!

Jannette 2 years ago

WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW. I can’t even express to you in words for UPLIFTING this was. We are so hard on ourselves. We need to STOP IT, and STOP IT NOW! Our children think we’re beautiful, and really (aside from our husbands), that’s all that matters!

CJ 2 years ago

What an inspiration. It is so hard to wake up daily, and be our own worst critic. It makes my heart melt to know that children really do see up for exactly what we are…beautiful. What a lucky mom!

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