Acutely aware that little ears are listening and little eyes are watching, this great mum’s trying her very hardest to send the right messages to her daughter.
While most parents make great efforts to emit a positive view about self-acceptance to their kids, mum Brittney Johnson pushed a very public, poignant message of self-love message out – from the sometimes harrowing turf of Target’s fitting room.
With her little sidekick in tow, Brittney made an important point about the mixed messages that may arise when we’re shopping with our kids, and vowed to do things differently when it came to her little girl.
“We walked into Target and she helped me pick out a few swimsuits. We picked out 11. Yeah. ELEVEN. Walked into the dressing room and she sat down her baby and started unhooking the swimsuits from the hangers and yelling “I can see your butt!” for the whole dressing room to hear.” So far, so familiar!
When we walked into the mall, my girl had her purse, her fancy shoes and her pretty dress on. "Don't forget my…
As Brittney began trying on the swimsuits – and sending pics out to her girlfriends for second opinions – she quickly realised her little fitting room buddy was watching and learning.
“I put on a suit, and then a second one, and a third one. I snapped pictures of them to send to my girlfriends and say “yes or no?!” because girls are wired weird and that’s just what we do.. And then I snapped this one (above)” Brittney posted.
“See that sweet baby girl in the corner? With half a dress on and one of the bikini tops I had picked out? I stopped for a second to see what she would say and when she turned to the mirror, she said “Wow I just love cheetah print! I think I look beautiful! Do you think I look beautiful too?!””
At this point, Brittney stopped dead in her tracks and became aware of just how much her own words and behaviour were influencing her daughter – even on the hallowed ground that is the Target fitting room. (ESPECIALLY on this hallowed ground, actually!)
“It hit me that she only says what she hears. What she sees. I tell her that she is beautiful every single day. When we are in a dressing room, with swimsuits of all God forsaken things, there is a split moment when I have the power to say “wow I have really gotten fat this year” OR “wow I love this coral color on me!” And those are the words burned into my daughter’s brain.”
A better beauty message
Of course, Brittney chose the latter. She urged parents to be aware of the messages they are sending to their kiddos – even when they are distracted by other things – and to work on accepting and loving themselves so their kids can do the same.
“When it comes to manners, be an example. When it comes to kindness, be an example. And when it comes to body image, be an example. I am not a size zero. I never will be. I have big thighs and a huge rump and for some reason the middle of my body gets more tan than the rest? But this body made a whole other body. I am strong. I am able. And I am happy.”
Brittney’s hoping we can define “beauty” to our children in a much more healthy way, with its foundations in self-compassion and acceptance… because humans are amazing and full of possibilities and promise!
“I don’t have to be beautiful like you, because I am beautiful like me. And as my daughter gets older, and she faces judgement and criticism, I will always remind her that the girls who look the prettiest in a two piece, or a body suit, or a freaking Snuggie, are the ones who are happy. Because that’s ALL that matters.”
“And I want her to look at herself every single day and say “Oh wow! I think I look beautiful!” because EVERY girl deserves to feel that.”