What I’ll teach my boys about body image

Last weekend, I visited family up in Dallas. We try to make a point for my parents and grandparents to see the boys at least every 6-8 weeks. The kids change and grow so fast at this age, and comments usually come about how tall they’re getting or how they’re losing their baby fat or how well Bear Shark is walking now.

I’m not immune to the comments either. My relatives (in a very stereotypical Asian fashion) have a way of telling me and my sisters to our faces when we’ve gotten fatter or skinnier. We could be the exact same size and shape since the last time they saw us, but it’s a habit of theirs to say something about our bodies.

Growing up, I was deemed too scrawny. After college, I was deemed too fat. As an adult, I’ve lost track of where on their scale of skinny and fat that I’m at. The latest comments were about my genetically large arms. It began as a self-deprecating comment (“I have large arms too!”), to which I replied that this was muscle, thankyouverymuch. <side-eye>

I have decided as an adult that I no longer care what others think about my body. I do not have the time or energy to conform to whatever image they have of what I should look like. I don’t want my boys to see their mom obsessing over flesh or lumps or jiggle.

I’d rather focus on what my body can DO because when I’m 70 or 80 or 90, it won’t matter that I never achieved six-pack abs status or shed the arm flesh. It won’t matter that my thighs brush together. I wear my pregnancy “battle scars” (aka stretch marks) with pride because they represent the journey my body went through to grow human life.

So who cares that I have the genetically large arms that run in the family? Can those arms hold up my body weight? Can they let me do fun party tricks, aka arm balances? Can they pick up my kids? Can they bring the load of Costco groceries into the house? Yes? Then, cool. My body looks the way it looks to do the things I need it to do. It’s as simple as that.

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