“Women, Weight and Etiquette” by Jill Shell (Guest Blogger)

Women, weight and etiquette by Jill Shell, Family Friendly Mommy Blog, Daddy Blog

When it comes to weight, I openly admit it; I am a little sensitive about the subject. Weight is such a personal thing and in our society, seeing a certain number on a scale or looking a certain way seemingly gives value to a person.

That’s not the way it should be, but it often appears that it is that way.

I’ve always been conscious about my own weight and have spent years being self-conscious about the way others perceive my weight, but never more does this subject come to light than when I am pregnant.

I feel it when I walk into a room and eyes immediately go to my stomach, or by the multiple comments from people evaluating how I look being pregnant. I absolutely hate it and let’s face it, if you are pregnant, it is inevitable that you are going to gain weight and watch your body morph into something different than it once was for the beauty of giving life.

So why then is it so hard for others to understand that concept as well? I’m always amazed by the things people tell me during pregnancy, and it all comes down to this . . .

The only thing you should ever say to a woman (pregnant, or not) is “You look great!”

You really have no business saying anything else about her overall appearance, specific body parts, the way she looks that day compared to any other day, or what have you. Because of the value our society places on the way a person looks, it’s really demeaning to say anything more than that.

Again, I am super sensitive about the issue and maybe it’s the hormones from pregnancy helping me to over-analyze comments, but with every comment that is not, “You look great,” comes the realization that someone was looking at me and making a judgment about my appearance.

Take for example someone told me recently that I looked great and followed it with “You look better than before.” In my heart, I know what that means (and that there is nothing negative behind it), but truly it makes me question what I looked like before. Was I really that hideous?

Also, if I pick apart and downgrade specific parts of my body, isn’t the “PC” thing to do to negate what I just said (even if you really think it is true)? I know this is my fault because I lay it out there and sabotage myself, but when I talk about how large my rear end is getting . . . the last thing I want you to do is agree with me.  I was dumbfounded when I had mentioned my growing extremities to a colleague in the hallway and about 10 minutes after I made the comment, she brought it up (out of nowhere) and agreed with me.

Really?! Did you think that was going to make me feel shiny and bright because I’ll tell you what, that had quite the opposite affect?

I admittedly am a sensitive woman when it comes to weight and appearance, but I don’t think I’m all that different from other women out there. As humans, we should want to do and say things that make others feel good about themselves and never put doubt where doubt is unnecessary.

The moral of the story is if you want to compliment a woman on how good you think she looks and shower her with a little adoration (especially at a time like pregnancy when there is a lot of doubt), simply say…

“You look great!”

And leave it at that.

“Scary Mommy” Blog Challenges Judgmental Parenting Culture

December 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm , by 

13 months.

Today my wife read a very intriguing article to me, graced from the pages of the December 2011 issue of Redbook magazine. It was written by mom blogger, Jill Smokler, who cleverly crafted a virtual confessional for parents where passing judgment is not allowed.

Her blog is called Scary Mommy. In fact, in it, Smokler has incorporated “Like,” “OMG! Me too!” and “Hug” buttons for contributors to compliment each other.

What do I think of it? I love it.

It is no secret that in the culture of mommy and daddy blogging, crucifying a blogger or commenter for being a “bad parent” is the norm. In fact, the witch hunt to “out” a bad parent has become a sort of unofficial game to many.

In Smokler’s article in Redbook, she confronts the heckling habits of many parents commonly found in the parenting blogosphere:

“So why the condemnation? Why does identifying someone as a poor mother make us feel better about ourselves? There is no trophy for best parenting, and nothing to be gained from pitting ourselves against one another.”

I’m with you, Jill Smokler.

But I have a confession to make, as a daddy blogger. Just look on the right hand side of the screen where it says “Most Popular Posts.” Two of the five spots there are probably occupied with The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin and How Not to Be “That Mom” or “That Dad.”

These two articles of mine continue to engage new readers each day to The Dadabase. Yet the titles of them alone contain a subconscious message: Read this to learn how wrong or at least how out-of-touch with reality these other parents are.

If I simply wrote cute stories about my son, The Dadabase would not be a growing blog. So I try to keep the “cute stories” portion down to only about a quarter of my material; making the majority of my posts about external parenting issues, only seasoned with my paternal viewpoint.

In other words, “cute stories” alone don’t sell- they’re just the icing on the cake. As a daddy blogger, I have to continue to be engaging, and I have quickly learned that any post I write that invites a reader to share their input beyond, “Oh yeah, I could see that,” or “I totally agree,” but instead sparks them to make a moral judgment, if only in their mind, is more likely to become a hit.

So am I adding to the noise or playing a different tune? That’s for you to decide.

Image: Loser via Shutterstock.