I have always loved looking back through old photo albums. Looking back on holidays from my early childhood days, days long forgotten yet I always smile as I look at not only my parents baby face but of mine too. Of 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.
As a grown woman to look back at images of my parents 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, have children. Looking back at how beautiful my Mother was, her youth glowed from every picture, she was nearly always smiling and how my Dad looked like he belonged up on stage with the Stones. Photos of my parents holding my brother and I as new-borns all the way up to bratty teenagers and then reconnecting as adults. I’ve written before about how we all need to carry on the tradition of taking photos and printing them, and most importantly as a Mother ,getting in front of the camera so your children can relive your pre Mammy days through these printed memories and how it is so important. 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 was nothing more precious to me that sitting with the twins and my parents and flicking through photo albums and even more so now as sadly my mother is no longer with us. I wrote this piece back when my mother was still with us but very ill and the words she passed to me on the particular day I refer to later , are even more important now. Now as I scroll through my phone at images of her as I wipe my tears away from photos I hold close to my chest, I am so grateful I have those pictures. All I focus on is my mother’s smile. I don’t see anything other than a woman I love deeply and have taken her advice as key to raising my children to love them selves whole heartedly. To ignore the drains, ignore anything or anyone who tries to diminish their self belief and walk away from situations in the ever growing pressure pot of negativity that are only waiting to drag people down.
It was recently as we looked through a photo 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. I can’t remember the exact words so I will take a little bit of poetic licence here but it was that she was regretful looking back through the albums that she didn’t realise how lovely she looked. Spending alot of her life worrying about how she looked, what weight she was and how it possibly projected itself onto me and 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 eight again but I liked my food and life too much. Having a natural curvy shape means that isn’t going to happen without serious dedication to training and now at the most busiest time of my life, yes I have hang ups ,but overall I decided there is a happy balance that I am willing to accept and I live by the be good eighty percent of the time and it’s working well. That’s not to say, well away from the little impressionable eyes of my children, and my daughter in particular, that I don’t tug at the separated stomach muscles in the mirror and lament my old figure. 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 myself down over my body. When 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 later on in years, I will suppress the voice that might point out a flaw and just reminisce at the fun we had that day and be glad I was there to share a moment with them. Regardless of how internally 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 cardiovascular 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 with the knowledge to eat healthy,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 childrens. 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 if is a normal occurence in day to day life hopefully they will be few and far between. Lets hope there is plenty of storage room for photos, if I ever get around to printing off photos for my own albums, but that deserves its own blog post one of the days!
**Image credit Pixabay