A Difficult Conversation

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
The most difficult conversation with my kids is the one we’ve never had.  It’s the one about our inferior bodies, inferior genes, inferior looks, inferior performances.  It’s the one about how I don’t love myself as much as I love other people.  It’s the one about how there is a tiny wrinkle between my eyebrows, and how I wish that my earlobe wasn’t split.  It’s the one about how I struggle so much to keep weight on that I have spent cumulative years feeling like a cancer victim, or like others think I have an eating disorder.  It’s the one about how my body hair is so dark and course that while I would LOVE to stop shaving, I cannot stand the sight of my own legs with that dark fuzz on them.  It’s the one about how I wish that I didn’t have food allergies because I still remember what cheesecake tastes like, even if it is going on 5 years since the last time I had any. It’s the one about how I wish I were stronger, but I am afraid to work out because if my metabolism kicks it up a notch, I could go down to 110 lbs (at 5′ 9″).  Or, that I am afraid to work out because I won’t be able to breathe.

The reason we have never had these conversations?  Because I chose, when I had children, to stop hating my body.  I decided to love my children enough to model for them that our bodies are wonderful.  I decided to show my children that there is no need to look at themselves critically.  I decided that I could shut my mouth, look away from the mirror, and be happy with what God gave me.  And that I could teach my children to be happy with what God gave them, as well.

And I realized a few weeks ago, that it worked.  I have a 6.5 year old girl who has no concept that she may be too fat, thin, tall, short, or ugly.  She has no concept that people might look at her physical body and judge her negatively for being herself.  She loves herself, and thinks she is beautiful.  Because she is.

I have a 4.5 year old son who cannot eat or touch dairy, soy, corn or gluten.  I have never once heard him say that he wishes he could eat any of those things.  Instead, he wishes that people didn’t make so much stuff with that stuff in it.  Because his body is not to blame.  His body works as it should.  But birthday cakes should all be made gluten free, dontcha know?!

They don’t live in a bubble.  They know that their outward appearance does draw conclusions that they may not like.  Walter has just chosen to cut his long hair off because he was tired of people thinking he was a girl.  But, he did it with no self-loathing.  He did it because he wanted people to KNOW that he was a boy, and this was the way he saw fit to do so.  And before that, he grew his hair out because that was how he liked it.  Because some parts of our body we can experiment with, change, and play with.

And, the other upside to not nitpicking myself in front of my kids, I have stopped having the internal dialogue with myself about whether or not my body measures up.  I actually love my body these days.  My body gave birth to 2 amazing babies, with no intervention.  My body has nourished 3 amazing children.  My body knows what it needs, when I take the time to listen to it.  It is the only body I have, and I am grateful it is mine.
So, while it isn’t always easy to shut my mouth about my hair, my wrinkle, my weight, my allergies, or my weaknesses, it is definitely the most worthwhile conversation I’ve had in a LONG time.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.


8 thoughts on “A Difficult Conversation

  1. Wow; is it ok to give you a (((HUG))); I’m overjoyed that I have found a fellow slim friend!! But you, my friend, have overcome stuff. I’m still totally stuck – I have strangers telling me I need a good meal. Say what? And I get the exertion / metabolism thing in spades…Anyway, huge kudos to you. My fear is that my daughter will pick up on my ‘stuff’ but she isn’t – not at all. She’s 12 now and has started asking if she’s fat (she’s built like me; it’s laughable really) but I know she is modelling the crap her schoolfriends say.Love your wisdom, insightfulness and determinationWarm wishesRae aka mrs green @littlegreenblog.com


  2. This is lovely. I try to shut my mouth with snarky things I could say about myself, too — and the bonus is it makes me feel better about myself as well! The other day Mikko asked why my belly was so big (ah, candor!), and I replied without censure or emotionalism that that’s just the size it is, and that we’re all different sizes. I think it’s good for kids to learn, sometimes through the absence of talking, what’s really important about people! I do feel like, though, that I might need to get brave and be more intentional about saying outright that I like myself, that I like how I look — so it’s not in question. 🙂 And so he knows to do that for himself, too.


  3. AWESOME reminder that our attitudes about our bodies, our health, our circumstances, etc… shape not only who our children become but the value that they place on themselves. If we don’t say it, our children can’t absorb it. I do try to love myself in front of my daughter, especially in today’s image driven culture. I want her to love who she is and not what she looks like!


  4. Thank you for sharing. I haven’t really thought about the conversations we’re not having because we don’t make a big deal about certain things. Definitely worth pondering…


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