My son came home from school and was telling me about a new friend in his class that he was playing with a lot. For privacy issues, I will call him Ethan.
Crew had had different Ethans in his class before and on his basketball team. So I was trying to place who this particular Ethan was. I thought I knew who Crew was talking about but I wasn’t sure.
Giant boobs. Tiny waist. Bleached blonde hair. Size 2 the day after having a baby. Wore high heels every time I saw her. Lots of make-up. Always done up. The kind of mom that sticks out at the school dance festival or basketball game because she looks unreal to us less fortunate than her.
But I didn’t want to say to Crew, “Is this Ethan the one whose mom is really skinny and has big boobs?” So I approached my question a little more delicately.
Me: Crew, have you ever seen Ethan’s mom before?
Me: Well, what does she look like?
Crew: She looks like you, mom…but maybe she is a little taller.
(Please you child, bless you.) Later I found out that Ethan’s mom was the Barbie woman I was thinking of.
I laughed as I remembered how Crew thought I looked just like her.
His innocent response reminded me that our little kids don’t care what we look like. They don’t need the prettiest mom or the skinniest mom or the mom with the coolest clothes. Kids don’t need a mom with a six pack or ripped arms. They don’t care if our boobs are big or small. They don’t even really notice our weight, and if they do, there is no judgement attached.
Kids don’t care if our houses looks like Pottery Barn or if our pantries are straight from Pinterest. They don’t care if our holiday decorations are styling or our mantle looks just right. Kids don’t care if our hair is highlighted or our toenails are painted. They don’t care if we have a college degree or if we are the queen of crafts.
All that they care about is our presence and our love. They want snuggles and hugs and listening ears. They want to see us at their games or performances. They want us sitting by them when we watch a movie or at family dinner. They want to see us smile and laugh and they want to see us light up when they come in the room. They want to hear “I love you” and “You are special.”
I know all Crew cares about is how good my chocolate chip cookies are, if I will play catch with him after school, and if I will read to him at night. He obviously doesn’t notice what I look like.
We can take comfort that our children are not our biggest critics, but our biggest fans. They love us just like we are. WE create the high expectations for our roles as mothers and women, not them. So sit back and see yourself as your children see you and enjoy the distortion.
And I will enjoy that, to at least one person, I look like Barbie.