A Good Influence for My Girl

My girl has been SO pumped to work out with me this week. Sharing a workout with a two-year-old is a challenge, but it’s been an amazing reminder for me. She’s paying attention to the things I do. She learns from me and enjoys being like me. My aerobic step comes out; we need to find one for her. My hair goes up in a ponytail, and she insists she needs one, too.

She’s taking her cues from me already, and my words and behaviors will directly impact the way she sees herself.

She notices when I take care of myself physically. For a toddler, it probably just looks like extra bouncy play time, but she knows it makes me feel better, and she loves to jump and dance and kick and wiggle.

She hears what I say when I use unkind words to describe my own body, too. Words I would never use to describe anyone else. That’s. Not. Okay.

Right now, my sweet little girl thinks of herself as being absolutely beautiful, and she’s right. Now, it’s my job to model self-compassion and self-appreciation, with high hopes that her confidence in both her inner and outer beauty will never fade. I pray this will also help her grow into a woman who is genuinely good to other women, who truly sees the best in others.

And this is also a fabulous time to teach honesty (noting the reality of the situation), courage (the brave steps that facilitate change), and motivation (the drive to keep pushing). My four-year-old son, for example, offered these words as I worked out today, all of which he has probably heard from me many times before:

“You got this, Mama! Go, go, go, go! You can do it, Mama!” Then, I heard him sigh with worry when I started to struggle. “Ohhhhh, you’re too heavy.” I laughed, and he continued with the motivation. “Keep going! Push, push, push! Wow, high-five!”

They’re watching. They’re listening. They’re eager to learn from me, to be like me, to do as I do. And it’s time for me to start consistently modeling how to be good to oneself.

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