It came out of my mouth before I could stop it but as soon as I said it, I’d wished I hadn’t. “Your belly is cute. Mommy’s isn’t so cute. No one wants to see Mommy’s belly.” My almost two year old, with the bottom of my shirt clutched in her one hand, took the other hand and made a tickling motion, complete with the tickling sound on the bottom of my belly. She looked up at me and smiled. Not wanting to call any more attention to what I had just said, I just giggled with her about how silly belly tickles were.
Now, I can give you all kinds of reasons why I don’t think my 3 week postpartum belly is cute, but 99% of those reasons are based off of what society has taught me about cute things. And that’s still not what I want to teach my kids. They will pick up on it soon enough, but they shouldn’t be picking it up from me. And why, because a cute belly is something that will make me a better person? Thing is, it’s really not.
It’s just a belly. Stomach. Midriff. Midsection. Whatever you want to call it. It’s not a boob or a butt, although everyone has those, too. I guess the point here is that there are worse things that my kid could want to expose on me. And while lifting up my shirt in public isn’t something I plan to start doing just because I love my body and I’m proud of it, flab, stretch marks and all, I’m also not going to tell my kid not to give me belly tickles because my belly is gross or people don’t want to see that. Frankly, if people are all worked up over my kid exposing my belly, they either don’t have kids or don’t like them and they can find something else to look at. Or they can simply be offended by it. No matter to me.
While I still can’t seem to teach my kids the difference between indoor and outdoor voices and about how sharing can be fun, I’m at least doing my damnedest to teach them that they are physically perfect and don’t need to change themselves because something is wrong with them. Still, their sharing and general respect for others could use some work and those things are the things that will make them better people, not concerning themselves with whether or not they have a cute belly that is worth showing off. Just some food for thought to put in your perfect, just right for you, belly.