I have always loved looking back through old photo albums. Holidays from my early childhood days, long forgotten. Day trips taken and ice-creams eaten, my only cares in the world were how many times we could swim in the pool the following day.
And as a grown woman, to look back at images of my parent’s early days together, to see them in their first flushes of romance. Smiling at each other, wondering did they know back then they would marry each other or have children.
Looking back at how beautiful my Mother was and still is, and how my Dad looked like he belonged up on stage with the Stones. Photos of my parents holding my brother and I as newborns, all the way up to bratty teenagers and then reconnecting as adults.
We all need to carry on the tradition of taking photos and printing them. Most importantly as a Mother, getting in front of the camera so your children can relive your pre-Mammy days through these printed memories.
Your children won’t care what you looked like but they will question why you aren’t in any photos from their early days.
There is nothing more precious to me than sitting with the twins and my parents, and flicking through old photo albums. It was recently as we looked through an album, and I told my Mother how beautiful she was in a particular image, that she turned to me and said something which she has said to me a few times since I had the twins.
She was regretful looking back through the albums that she didn’t realise how lovely she looked then; spending a lot of her life worrying about how she looked, what weight she was and how it possibly projected itself onto me. Her advice was to ensure that I didn’t go down the same road of thought.
Pre-children I have had my moments where I wanted to be a size 8/10 again, but I like my food and life too much. Having a naturally curvy shape means that isn’t going to happen without serious dedication to training. Now, at the busiest time of my life, yes I have hang ups but overall there is a happy balance that I am willing to accept by the being ‘good’ eighty percent of the time. And it’s working well.
That’s not to say that I don’t tug at the separated stomach muscles in the mirror and lament my old figure, away from the impressionable little eyes of my children – my daughter in particular.
But isn’t it a small sacrifice to make?
I look back to pictures of when I was eighteen and get cross at myself that I did get down over my body. All I see now looking back is a happy and slim young woman.
The only thing my children will see or hear when I am getting into the pool is how excited I am to be there spending time swimming with them. I hope that will instill body confidence in them.
When we look at the pictures in years to come, I will suppress the voice that might point out a flaw and just reminisce at the fun we had that day – be glad that I was there to share a moment with them.
Regardless of how I might feel about my body now or in the future, I want my children to grow up with body confidence.
To apply the same rule in life as I do, eighty/twenty, works well. To be active so we can keep our bodies fit but to acknowledge if we fall into a rut that that’s OK too; ruts are temporary and we can get help to climb back out and be positive again. To love yourself unconditionally and appreciate the life you have, time is precious, don’t waste time lamenting!
They will hopefully grow up eating healthily most of the time – life is too short to not treat yourself! The word diet doesn’t exist in my house and it will never pass my lips onto my children’s.
Positive body image will be the focus, and hopefully that will stand to them as they grow up. I am sure there will be challenges on all sides along the way but hopefully they will be few and far between.