Some of the most thought-provoking threads on Chairman Mom for me have been ones about how we undo the patriarchal damage of body issues when it comes to our own daughters. There was this amazing one about makeup and vanity and this one about how we model weight loss. (If you obsess about either, I recommend starting up a small group off those threads! Just click the “join group” button!)
I’ve been working out a ton, and being very very careful in how I talk to my kids about it, in part because of the wisdom in these threads. I’ve talked about wanting to be strong and healthy and live forever to spend more time with them and how good I feel when I work out. But mostly I don’t talk about it, I just do it regularly, and I think *they* can see the results themselves. They have never actually seen me work out. The only thing I do at home is the Peloton and I close the door.
The other day out of nowhere, Evie picked up my Peloton weights and started lifting them over her head with this sense of wonder on her face. Like she’d been eyeing them for a while and wondered if she could do it.
“Mama! Look at how strong I am!” she screamed.
Then she tried the seven pound weights.
“Be careful!” I helicoptered. “If that falls on your head it’s going to hurt!”
She ignored me and lifted those. Utter pride and elation on her face.
For the past few days she’s been doing all sorts of self-imposed “challenges” with my weights (the heavier ones). Walking through the house doing something that is kinda like a bicep curl…that kind of thing. The other day she got home from school and was like, “I need to change for my workout. Mom! Where do we keep my silly t-shirts? I like to wear silly t-shirts when I work out.” (Clearly, Soul Cycle merchandise looks “silly” to a 5-year-old!) The next morning she finished her breakfast quickly and asked me if she had some time to work out.
“I need to warm up because I’m going to have PE at school today,” she said heading to get the weights.
So much about this has made me happy for the last few days. I grew up skinny and never developed healthy habits around exercise until after college, and I love that I’ve been modeling that for Evie (who is also skinny for now!) I love that exercise has nothing to do with looks for her but everything to do with strength. And I always, always love when she’s studied me this assiduously and works to mimic me (down to silly t-shirts!). I think Evie is the coolest person on Earth, and her trying to be more like me is basically the biggest compliment I can imagine.
I’m sure the world will get its claws into her and there will be all that self-doubt and body issues and all that toxicity later. But for now, I’m reveling in this phase of my perfect, beautiful powerful daughter wanting to be more powerful.
…in a silly T-shirt.