For all of you moms (and dads) out there that are wondering if your hard work as a parent will pay off, I promise you the rewards are coming. Just thought I would share Courtnee’s blog post from yesterday. I was going to write a long list of disclaimers first, but I decided I’m going to take these words, wrap them around me, and wear them with pride. I really needed this gold star!
My Mom taught me a LOT of things in my life. She taught me how to dress myself. She taught me how to put on make-up. She taught me how to write. She taught me how to treat my husband. She taught me how to decorate. She taught me how to cook. She taught me how to do laundry. She taught me how to treat other people. She taught me how to be a good mom (someday). She taught me a love of reading. She taught me (hopelessly) how to use a sewing machine. She taught me how to be a lady. But two of the most important things that I learned from my mother were how to take care of my body by eating healthy and exercising and how to love myself and my body.
For as long as I can remember, my mom was always exercising. She was going to the gym or training for a marathon. She was going to yoga, Zumba, or kickboxing. She was taking us on walks and trying to get us to ride our bikes. She was always telling us to stop watching TV and go outside and do something. Needless to say, my mom has always been an active mom. I learned over time that this exercising wasn’t just to check another thing off of her endless to-do list. Exercising was a special, sacred time for her. It was her time to focus on herself completely – to push herself, to succeed, even to sing loudly while running out in the fields. And this time that she spent by herself refreshed and rejuvenated her in a way that nothing, not even sleep, could.
It was only when I became a teenager that I appreciated my mother’s dedication to exercise. I caught the bug, just like she did, but still have not mastered the self-control and discipline that it takes to exercise and frequently as she does. My mom introduced me to an entirely new world of running, Zumba, and yoga. It was because of her (and my dad of course) that I chose to run a marathon. I wanted to be able to tame and understand my body the way that she does.
It is only now that I am realizing the importance of that exercise time in my own life. It has the same effect for me that it does for her. That time to myself, focusing purely on matching my body and my spirit to achieve something incredible, makes me feel better about myself daily and brings me closer to my Heavenly Father in a way that almost nothing else can.
In addition to exercise, my mom has been eating healthy – and teaching us to eat healthy. For snacks as children we always had apple slices, carrots with ranch dressing, tuna fish sandwiches, and popcorn. For dinner there were always multiple vegetables and a delicious and healthy meal. I never appreciated how much my mother studied and applied in an effort to make sure that she was feeding us as healthy as she possibly could. After taking my very first nutrition class at BYU, my respect for my mother grew immensely. She hadn’t taken a nutrition class from a college – she had studies these things out on her own and made it a priority in her life to help us to find balance in our nutrition.
In reference to nutrition, I learned that the key to a healthy diet is nutrition. It was a rare morning that we ate leftover chocolate cake for breakfast, but those mornings taught me more than I think she realizes. My mom taught me that food is fuel, but when eaten in moderation, food is also enjoyment and that there is no shame in enjoying a pice of chocolate cake.
But my mother didn’t just change my life by teaching me to eat healthy and exercise. Oh no, she taught me a lesson which may in fact be more important than the previous. My mother taught me that I was beautiful, that she was beautiful, that my sisters were beautiful, that women were beautiful. To me, my mom is the most beautiful women on the planet. I think that most children feel that way about their mothers, but I think that I am the only right one. My mom is just downright sexy. All the way down to her freckles and feet.
Growing up with giant eyebrows and hair on my arms that could rival even the hairiest of men was not easy. But my mom made it easier. She told me that I was beautiful. She told me that I was beautiful and smart and that I had something to offer the world. And I believed her because she is beautiful and smart and has something to offer the world. My mom taught me to love my curves and that my body type was just as beautiful as the next girls. I think that my mother struggles, like all women, struggles with body image. But to me, her hair was always perfect, her make-up was beautiful, and her warm hugs always, and still do, give me comfort.
“A daughter’s dissatisfaction with her weight is greater if her mother is
also dissatisﬁed with her own weight, in spite of how much a daughter actually weighs”
– The New Normal: What Girls Say About Healthy Living”