I am a mom to a wonderful little boy, soon to be two boys. And we have made it a point to not use the words “skinny” or “big” in our house.
In the wake of the new “modern” Barbie, there’s a lot of focus on making children’s toys reflect American society. But this isn’t just limited to women and precieved “girls” toys. This applies to sons as well.
I don’t want my son growing up thinking he’s not “strong” because he doesn’t have a six pack or because he’s thinner then other boys his age or because his biceps aren’t as large. I don’t want my sons growing up thinking they are less of a man if they don’t run as fast as the other boys in their class. I don’t want my sons thinking they are skinny, fat, big, or not big enough. Muscle mass is not a metric of manlyness just like being a certain size isn’t a metric for being beautiful.
There’s generally a healthy weight for everyone and a healthy approach and outlook on food and exercise is key. And this is the message and the words my son hears: healthy, strong, determined, fueling our bodies, good food choices, treats in moderation, and taking care of our bodies.
My son is very aware of my running. And occasionally he likes to join in the jogging stroller. He never greets me with a hug when I come back because I’m “hot and sweaty”. And I’m great with all of this. My son sees me enjoying being active, taking time for myself, and fueling my body appropriately. He sees me being healthy with a strong body, and doing what I enjoy – no matter my body size and shape. Including fueling my body and indulging once in awhile.
Kids are impressionable and I hope I’m leaving the right one. My son is perfect the way he is – size and stature included because he’s healthy. I hope as he grows up and is exposed more and more to society he develops a good sense of self and never loses it.