Learning To Love Our Mum Bodies

This post was written by Julie Parker of Beautiful You and The Butterfly Foundation. She is one of Australia’s leading experts on body image and eating disorders and I believe this post is one of the most important that I have ever shared here at Childhood 101.

Learning to Love our Mum Bodies

Learning to Love our Mum Bodies

21st century Mums have lots of things on their mind and new research tells us that body image is one of them. It seems that Aussie Mums are not happy with their bodies and only 1 in 10 like the way they look.

Some people might think that feeling negative about our bodies is the lot of the modern woman. We are sent constant messages that to be attractive we have to be tall, thin and have gleaming white teeth, full breasts and long legs. Any part of our appearance that is not model perfect we are told requires a cream, diet or pill to fix. It’s an impossible societal ideal to live up to and the pressure is clearly getting to Mums in a widespread way.

I’m a working stepmum and know that there are a lot of things that being a parent requires you to juggle and manage. It might feel like the last thing you need is to be thinking about your body image, but when we have women hating the way they look in epidemic proportions it is time to fully address this issue. It’s not only important for you as a woman – it’s vitally important for your children as well. Why? Because it is now known with absolute certainty that Mums who excessively diet, obsess about their weight and/or feel negative about their body are highly likely to pass these feelings on to their children. This is particularly the case from mother to daughter.

I truly believe it is the right of all people to feel happy and confident about their appearance and have positive body image. You are a totally unique and beautiful woman – just as you are – and should embrace your body for all it does for you every day, with confidence and love. To help you achieve this, here are some tips that I hope will assist you to develop loving and happy feelings towards your body, and help your children at the same time;

1. Never put yourself down or criticise your body in front of your children. They will learn this is an acceptable way for them to feel about themselves.

2. Do not go on fad diets. They are highly dangerous for your emotional and physical health and will not give you any sustainable weight loss. You may also pass on to your children the thinking that it is normal and ok to eat in a way that is not nutritious or sustaining.

3. Don’t teach your children that food has an emotional attachment by labelling it as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Chocolate is not ‘bad’ – it just is. By teaching children this, they may start to think of certain foods as needing to be avoided if they themselves become concerned about their appearance. Everything in moderation really is a great creed to live by.

4. Look after your body by engaging in fun physical activity – not for weight loss – but because it is great to get out there and get the heart pumping and lungs fully breathing. Even better is to do something active with your children such as a bike ride, shooting hoops or a swim.

5. Be wary of the sort of magazines you read and TV shows you watch, where little eyes and impressionable minds can see them too. If the magazines filled with diets, airbrushed images and celebrity body comparisons impact on you – imagine how they might impact on your children.

6. Please know that if you are experiencing negative body image or issues with food, the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to seek help. Please talk to your GP, a counselling professional or contact The Butterfly Foundation.


  1. Just love this post. Was simultaneous shocked and horrified when I first realised the link between mothers & daughters that you have raised here and yet thankful that I realised when my bub was only months old. Keep spreading the word!!

  2. Julie Parker says:

    Thanks Louisa. Glad you liked the post. Thanks to Christie too for raising such an important topic here.

  3. PinkPatentMaryJanes says:

    Lovely post. I made a decision before I even fell pregnant with my daughter to never make a negative comment about myself – appearance or otherwise – in front of her. I'm proud to say that in nearly 10 years I've stood by this. It's had the double benefit that if you don't say it out loud, you tend not to even think about it…

    Thanks Julie!

  4. Julie Parker says:

    PinkPatentMaryJanes – Yay for you and your very blessed daughter!

  5. I completely agree that this is one of the most important posts ever featured on your wonderful blog, Christie. Thank you for sharing Julie’s insightful words. I am aiming to be completely ‘body neutral’ in my life and I hope the same for my children. I neither love nor hate my body. I just feed it well so it moves my brain around the way it’s supposed to. x

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Maxabella. I love the term ‘body neutral,’ such a great approach.

  6. Such a great post. I too made the decision to never say anything negative about my body in front of my kids, and especially my daughter, who’s now 8. I also stopped buying fashion mags, the only mags I buy are home or cooking ones. Even with all that, I remember my daughter, who is very trim and athletic naturally, not that it matters, but she was making a negative comment about her body because one of her friends had made a negative comment about theirs. Right there and then, I stripped down to my bra and undies and took her into the mirror. I jumped around in front of the mirror, jiggling all about. I said to her – Look at mummy, I have jiggly bits everywhere, but I’m still beautiful right?’ She thought it was hilarious and I hope it impacted her! So important for mums everywhere to understand the impact our negative words about ourselves can have on our daughters. Fantastic post

    1. I LOVE that you did that, Helen, such a perfect response and definitely impactful. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

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