Parenting

“You’re So Skinny” is NOT a Compliment!

| About Ali

No, no, I don’t think I’ve ever heard these words said to ME. Even when I was young, super short and sporty, I was always curvy, or athletic. No, these words are said to my sons, all the time. By friends, kids at school, even teachers and leaders.

It seems harmless, right?

But I’m on my soapbox to tell you, IT IS NOT HARMLESS.

Would you walk up to someone and say, “You’re so fat”? Of course not. We learned a long time ago that wasn’t okay.

But skinniness. That’s totally different, right? Doesn’t everyone want to be skinny?

Actually, no. Especially not teenage boys. Or men. No man wants to be skinny. He wants to be strong, which often means “big”—which is definitely not seen as skinny.

I want to get on my pedestal today and say,

Just quit commenting on BODY, already.

Find something else, something more meaningful to say about a person if you feel the need to say something. I’ll give you some ideas:

 

“You always put me at ease.”

“You have the best smile.”

If you HAVE to say something more superficial, try…

“Dude, your hair looks awesome today!”

“Lookin’ sharp, man!”

Thing is, boys have body images, too. And skinny just hurts a young man’s heart when all he wants is to appear strong and healthy and virile.

Please watch your words next time you’re talking to a young man. Remember there’s a growing, impressionable, and so, so eager to be a man, person in there.

And young men?

If you want to read more thoughts on this subject, particularly as it pertains to women and girls, check out this awesome article.

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What is a Super Mom?

| About Ali

There’s lots of talk about “super moms”. Women tell each other, “Wow, you’re a real super mom” when they hear someone else speak of all they do for their children. It’s not a put-down…necessarily. But it’s not always a compliment, either. Or rather, it’s one of those two-faced compliments.

One face is saying, “you’re doing a great job!” while the other face is saying, “I don’t do all that stuff for my kids and I get angry–I bet she never gets angry–and I screw up all the time and look how nice she looks when I’m just wearing yoga pants and haven’t put on any makeup. Man. I suck! I’m the worst mom ever!”

Few women would ever dare say, “I’m a super mom!” Who would have the guts? Who would even think that? Especially right after Mother’s Day when every mom everywhere is recovering from a day of guilt and shame and doubt.

Yet, I have the nerve to declare in my bio that I, Ali Cross, am a Super Mom.

Because I get tons done in a day? Because I am raising perfect children who are always showered, teeth brushed, dressed impeccably? Because my children get straight A’s, are never late for school, never miss school, are never sick in a day? Because I cook healthy dinners, pack delicious lunches and feed my children healthy breakfasts every day?

NO!

I am a Super Mom because I care. Because I am doing all I can, every day, to love and serve and help. Because I worry. Because I am grateful for the two beings I am entrusted with.

I am not perfect. Oh, there are so many, many ways in which I am not perfect. But …

I AM a Super Mom … and so, my friend, are you.

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Parenting a Dating Teen

| About Ali

So, I’ve got these two teenage boys. I have to tell you, that I have loved being a mom. It has been the greatest joy in my life, my truest happiness. And, I thought, I was good at parenting them. But now they’ve grown up and entered a world that … well, I feel completely inadequate for.

I’ll be frank, I grew up with a completely skewed view of relationships. They were all or nothing. Either we were boyfriend/girlfriend and I love you, or there was no chemistry and therefore no relationship. Because all relationships were based on chemistry.

In our culture–either as an LDS family, or living in a mostly-Mormon town, or is it the States? The era? I’m not sure–dating is so relaxed. It’s about friendship and companionship. It’s clean and fun. There’s a lot of group dating and the kids move slow; “hanging out” for a while before they become a couple, holding hands only after feelings are pretty established, kissing maybe … I don’t know. I don’t think we’re there yet. (But then who knows … I’m the parent, right?)

Here’s my problem: I don’t know how to parent this. I find myself expecting my boys to be doing more, to be making choices like I made. To be attracted to a girl, to want to be close to her, to want to hold hands, kiss and maybe more.

I like the choices they’re making. I want them to take it slow, to learn how to be friends with a girl and develop a relationship. But I am constantly fighting with myself. I feel like everything I say on the topic, every time I ask a question about a girl in their lives, I’m pushing them to think of her, to hurry the relationship along. I feel like I never say the right thing. I just can’t relate to the goodness in my boys. When I was their age, I was not innocent.

I wish I had grown up innocent. I wish I could better understand the life my boys are living. I hope by now I’ve done a good enough job at being Mom that they’ll forgive me my flubs. I hope that my flubs don’t cause any trouble.

Because I’ve done a good job until now. I really hope it’s enough.

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