How do you parent well?

My daughter is an athlete. She’s a runner, and she lifts. She’s amazing to watch – I love her delight as her weights increase and her muscles grow – and to learn from and work out with. She kicks my butt when she drags me along with her to the gym. I love that too. She pushes me to do things I never thought I could – I dead-lifted 115 pounds with her – and to drive myself beyond my self-perceived limits.

I look at her with awe, especially her ability to approach her workouts focusing only on strengthening her body and never on losing weight. As an ex-anorexic I am so grateful for that. I don’t focus on my weight…any more. I’m thrilled that I don’t, and I’m thrilled that she doesn’t as well.

I mentioned to her how great I found it that she worked out so often and so hard – and only to be more powerful. Her reply? “I think I learned it in part from you. The only time I ever heard you comment on your body when I was growing up was when you pointed to both sides of your belly and said, ‘This is you, and this is your brother.’”

In my mind, one side of my belly represents my growing and birthing my first child, and the other side represents the second.

We spend so much time trying to figure out how to parent and what to do. What do we say when we explain things to them? How do we answer when they ask the tough questions…and the not so tough ones? Trying so hard to get it right and parent them well.

I don’t think I thought through how my belly-referral would affect my daughter. I just know that I appreciate my belly’s ability to grow my children and grow with my children. I gained fifty pounds with my daughter and probably was nearly as wide as I am tall. I look at my body – and my belly – with awe for what it did.

I look at my body with awe. I look at my daughter with awe. It’s a gift that I have a body that could grow and birth two amazing children, and it’s a gift that my children are so amazing. And so whole. And, looking at my daughter, so strong. (And I would add beautiful, but I’m not very objective!)

And it’s a gift that, without trying, I said something that stuck. That worked. That influenced my daughter away from demons I knew (and that society reinforces…but that’s a totally different subject). Without trying I mothered her well.

I am in awe.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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