On Tuesday as I was pulling out of the driveway I saw something pink on the ground in front of me. It looked suspiciously like my phone. In the middle of the concrete. I got out, picked it up and found my precious phone with a shattered screen. Did I run over it? Who knows. The better question is – how did it even get there?
So I got in the car and my daughter says, “What’s wrong, mommy?” I told her that my phone was broken. She then proceeds to tell me that it is going to be okay, I said I know, it’s fine, I just have to pay money to fix it. She tells me to tell “them” that I don’t want to pay money and they won’t make me. I say, that’s not the way it works, and can we please not talk about the phone anymore?
That lasts for 30 seconds. “Mommy, you don’t seem like your normal self. Are you sad about your phone?”
I try a different approach. “Let’s talk about something else. Tell me about your playdate with Evan yesterday.”
She tells me about her playdate, and we make it to school (40 minutes away) without another mention of the phone.
Until Wednesday. Just leaving the house, I wanted to remind my husband to bring our daughter’s swim bag with him. She says, “What are you doing, mommy?” I said, “Calling daddy to remind him to bring your swim stuff.” To which she replies, “With your broken phone?”
Yes. Thanks for the reminder.
This morning in the car we made it to school with no phone mentions. I did hear her start singing along to Meghan Trainor’s song “All About the Bass” in the backseat. It could be worse, I think – at least she is singing with a song that empowers women to not look like Barbie dolls.
But then I remembered the music video. If you only listen to the song, there’s an element of empowerment. Finally someone is telling women to not look like they’re 12-year-old boys. If you watch the video, though, you have to wonder how anyone could take the delivery of this message seriously. There isn’t a single attractive-looking woman in the video, even Trainor herself is dressed like a baby doll. If you’re going to try to convince women that they look great the way they are, why not make them look great the way they are?
By this time you’re probably wondering how in the world Meghan Trainor and my broken cell phone are related, other than they are both mentioned in the car on the way to school. The answer is in my daughter. Our little kiddos are megaphones for our bad behavior, the things we don’t want them to see, hear, or focus on, but also on the things we reward them on. As a woman who had body issues growing up, I am very conscious of how I interact with my daughter regarding her body. My husband and I recently did the “Whole30” diet, and I was very careful to make sure she knew that changed our eating because it was good for our brains and our bodies – I never mentioned our good looks. It’s like saying “don’t think about the white polar bear” – as soon as it comes up, it’s all you will think about.
One of the side-effects of trying to raise your children to focus on health over perceived beauty, and not to dwell on the broken phones of life (as in, teaching your children to be positive, healthy people) is that it forces you to do it yourself. These tiny beings won’t listen to a word you say about how to behave, unless you embody it yourself. I say it all the time – having children forever changes you, and for me, it’s made me a better person. Hopefully that will help them realize their full potentials as well.