The 7 year old chubby Girl Scout had greasy hair and wore orange shorts with mismatched socks. She confidently approached the skinny, blonde, and characteristically tan woman sitting at the edge of the playground.
Without hesitation she asked,
“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
The woman briefly took her eyes from her phone and without uncrossing her legs, or showing any signs of caring, she replied,
“I would NEVER buy cookies because they have sugar in them. Sugar goes right to the places in my body that I don’t want to be fat.”
The greasy Girl Scout stood there, unable to respond- likely confused about why someone would not want to eat a cookie. The snooty skinny woman turned her body away from the Girl Scout, suggesting the conversation was over and the girl should leave.
The Girl Scout ran off and back to her table and quietly sat down, obviously still trying to sort through the response she just received. The woman yelled across the park,
“Kids, it’s time to go to daycare- I have to go to the gym! Hurry up!”
My first instinct as a human was to pick up two hands full of sand and throw them into the freshly straightened blonde hair of the skinny woman- but then my understanding, Jesus-loving side, kicked in and told me to feel bad for this mom. What…feel bad? Are you crazy, Jesus- side of me? She was so rude to that chubby Girl Scout. If anything I should at least be confronting her for that comment! Jesus-side said, “No. She is hardened for a reason- there is more to her story than you know.” [Sometimes the Jesus side is really annoying because throwing sand would have been truly satisfying.]
I watched the mom walk to her car and noticed she had a huge ‘Jesus fish’ bumper sticker on her Mustang- which made me even more furious! Did you see that, Jesus-side? Now can I throw just one hand-full of sand….Or just a stick? Instead I took deep breaths and bought five boxes of Girl Scout cookies- thinking it was just like the carbon foot print theory: one bad hurtful comment is glossed over by one caring cookie eater excited to buy cookies.
Later that night, while doing some research on the computer, (ok I was just on Facebook), I kept receiving these posts in my news feed from various magazines or sites that I have subscribed to. The posts said things like:
“Lose 20 lbs. by Mother’s Day and impress your whole family.”
“Be the person you always wanted to be and drop 20 pounds in 20 days.”
Followed by a status update that read, “This is my third workout today- this summer is going to be amazing”.
*Queue the horror music and the sight of a newspaper spinning in circles.*
That was it….I have to put my foot down and look into this topic….
Why are all of the moms trying to look so sexy and skinny? Who is putting all of this pressure on mom’s to look hot and be at the gym three times a day? Where is the support for the moms who do an amazing job taking care of their kids? Where is the excitement for moms who are teaching their kids how to be decent human beings?
These moms work hard trying to take care of their families, instil strong values into their children, and usually also have to go to work. Are you telling me that those women, that are doing all of these amazing things for society and the future generations, also have to try to look skinny and sexy?
After digging around the magazine section at our place of shopping, my answer is “YES”, those are the messages that are being projected by the media that is all around us. It is just like a frog being boiled in water, it starts out cold and slowly heats up; the frog doesn’t know until it is too late and the damage is done (who would do that to a frog- that is just sick and wrong). When we see these images around us, we start to believe that since we are not skinny then we are worthless- leaving moms feeling horrible about themselves, when really they have so many reasons to feel proud (for working hard, raising kids, etc.).
Most women are not aware of the fact that the media portrays your body size as the problem between you and happiness in order to make money off of you! Their new target is moms; they used to only target the 20 yr. olds for looking sexy and hot, but now they realize moms are a wonderful target for making money because if they convince them to try stay young then the moms will rely on their products.
So many moms believe the lies that being skinny will make your husband love you more or your life will be like a Disney Princess if you follow their steps; so they end up striving to pour all of their extra time into changing their image or trying to be sexy. I am not thinking about the moms that take care of themselves and work out on a regular basis (we should be taking care of our bodies). My concern is for the moms that treat getting in shape like a religion, talk about being skinny in front of their kids, use all of their creative free time to work on their outward appearance while the inward self is wasting away.
I’m worried about those that believe that if they reach a certain size by summer, then it will ‘be a great summer’. No, it won’t be a great summer because you will be skinny; it will be a great summer if you use your mind to make it a great summer.
It is a leaned way of thinking about women in our culture- to value the outside appearance versus valuing the amazing talents, skills or creative abilities of a human. Am I taking crazy pills or are we allowing this idea of beauty to become our way of thinking? And moms are handing this idea of beauty straight down to their daughters who will be consumers someday.
I would like to see some ads that say:
“Be the best you in 20 days, go to counseling and deal with your issues”.
“Be OK with not wearing hoards of makeup in 20 days by taking our daily self-worth booster course”.
“Impress your family by Mother’s Day, start being more fun versus trying to be so skinny”.
“Congrats, you are a stay at home mom doing a wonderful job- don’t worry about trying to look gorgeous!”
My heart genuinely hurts for these moms that are striving to look perfect because I know that possibly there is something missing in their hearts that makes them think that the ‘if only’ will fill that spot. I think this is why the Jesus-side told me not to throw sand at the skinny woman, because not only is it none of my business how she lives, but I do not know the hurt that is behind the mask she has created. I get wrapped up into this as well, thinking that ‘if only ___ happens or changes then everything will be OK’.
News Flash: Life is happening while we are waiting for ____ to happen so we can be ok. And our children only have one chance at a childhood; we have to examine every day the way we are living and what we are portraying to our children.
To those Christian moms out there- just because the world is putting such high value on being skinny and sexy, it doesn’t mean you should. I really don’t think God wants us to spend all of this time trying to be pretty on the outside when he has blessed us with a Jesus-side that tells us to do more to show our love from the inside. It is through Jesus that we find fulfillment, peace and purpose, not through the size of our jeans or how fast we can run ten miles. I believe the enemy wants us to be so focused on changing our image that we are distracted from the beauty that is in us- that could potentially change the world. And likewise, some of us go to food to make us feel better when that is a lie from the enemy as well- we need to take care of our bodies and allow God to heal up the emotional yucky stuff.
This goes for every mother: we have to ask where our self-worth comes from because ‘that’ answer is what dictates how we live our lives- are we in a constant state of striving or are we in a constant state of enjoying this moment right now (because tomorrow our kids will be a little bit closer to leaving the nest). I don’t want to waste any time striving for___ when I could be enjoying my time here, fulfilling the purpose I believe God has given me.
Most of all- I don’t want my intelligent, talented, beautiful daughter to be concerned with trying to fit into the world’s expectations of her- I want her to go into the world and show them who she is instead. The only way I think I can provide an environment for her to grow a healthy self-worth perspective is to: take care of my body, say nice things about myself, be an example of learning and spiritual growth, find my self-worth from God and not surround myself with our cultures lies about beauty.
So moms, you are the most under-appreciated, beautiful, group of people in the world. You are doing a wonderful job. Be kind to yourself and to the other moms around you that are fighting a battle you may not even know about. If we do not make a conscious effort to live with purpose and be an example to our children then someone else will do it for them- most likely the media. I strongly encourage you to take a moment and think about what you are striving for. Life is short and our children will only be children for a season of our lives.
And just because you are a gorgeous, blond, skinny, mother it does not mean you are doing anything wrong- this woman was just a part of my story and if I had her number I would apologize for being so judgmental (but if you do claim to love Jesus then I hope you will treat others with more care). We all want to stick up for the chubby Girl Scout, but again, what is the most important thing we can teach that Girl Scout- to be revengeful and angry at those that are rude, or to teach her that her self-worth does not come from the worlds reflection of her, but from how she values and sees herself….something we must teach her how to do.
And sometimes moms, our kids just want us to eat a cookie with them.