Are You Worried About Her Weight?

“Are you worried about her weight?” My mother ask me as we are sitting at the children’s museum. “I know its a sensitive subject.” 

What she means is, I am worried about her weight and you should be too. You should do something about your four year old’s body before she deals with being fat. It’s better to be thin. Thin people are happier people and it only gets harder as she gets older. That’s what she means. 

She believes this too. I’ve heard it after every baby I’ve had. Get the weight off now or it will be harder lately. Have you started working out? Have you tried weight watchers? I’m doing Whole 30. I hate my body. I look terrible in my clothes. Please don’t take a picture of me. No, I won’t enjoy that birthday cake on my birthday but I’ll even up all the edges until its gone once everyone’s in bed and blame it on God knows what in the morning when we ask where all the cake is. 

She means I’m failing her as a mother. She means I am failing at keeping my weight at an acceptable number and therefore setting a horrible example for her. Because, remember, happiness is the ultimate goal and the only way my 4 year old daughter will ever be happy will be to be thin. …To be skinny. To hate her body. To starve herself. To feel shame when getting dressed. To think of nothing but what food she cannot enjoy. 

No, mom. No, I am not failing my daughter. My daughter currently thinks her adorable body is the best thing and loves nothing more than to run around naked, dancing in her room to Disney songs imagining what her castle will be like one day. She loves to eat strawberries, yogurt and oatmeal. She is strong and determined. She is smart and sassy and funny. She gives the best hugs, forces me to kiss her goodnight every night and honestly believes she got the short end of the stick by having four brothers even though she is the only one not sharing a room, myself included. 

She doesn’t know that the body she has isn’t perfect. She doesn’t know that skinny people are happier. She doesn’t know she should ignore the signs her body and mind are giving her to eat when she is hungry and stop when she is full. And, I will force you, mother, to walk over my dead body before you tell her otherwise. 

No, I am not worried about her weight. I am worried of your words, of the world’s words, of the critique and harsh expectations that our society bombards girls with as they become women. I am worried she will be judged wrongly, hurt by friends, heartbroken by a boy, lonely in adulthood, scared to try something new, or anxious about her future. 

But, of my four year old? No, I am not worried about her weight!

Richmond, VA