• Tue, Mar 18 - 11:00 am ET

My Daughter Saying She’s Fat is Way More Disturbing Than Her Saying The Other ‘F’ Word

Daughter Says Shes FatWalking hand in hand, on a cobblestone street in Mexico on a mother/daughter vacation, my daughter, out of nowhere, asked, “Mommy, am I fat?”

I stopped in my tracks. I could literally feel sudden anger boiling in my blood. My anger was not directed towards my daughter, of course, who before she asked, “Mommy, am I fat?” was talking about the movie Ice Age Continental, but more directed at society at large today.

Why did she ask me this, I wondered. When I asked my daughter, “Why did you ask me that?” her answer was, “I don’t know.” Yes, at ten years old my daughter was worrying, obviously, about being fat, and yet she didn’t know why. And I don’t know why either.  But I wanted to blame someone!

She’s not really into teen magazines. The shows she watches are pretty lame. Did she get this from school? Or, worse, from me? I don’t think she gets it from me, though, because the word “fat” in my house is pretty much banned, on the same level as her saying, “Fuck.” In fact, I rather her use the word “Fuck” than “Fat.”

I don’t walk around saying things like, “That will make you fat!”  Or, “I feel fat today.” Or, “I better not eat that. It’s so fattening!”

In fact, I refuse to own a scale in my house. When I am in hotel rooms, I totally ignore scales, as if they were contagious. I’m not curious at all about what I weigh.

But not only was I angry, when my daughter asked me, “Mommy, am I fat?” I was really, really, really sad. It was such a different feeling when she asked earlier that afternoon, “Can I go on the Jet Ski by myself?” which made me feel deliriously happy that she was so courageous.

When she asked, “Mommy am I fat?” I just wanted to cry. I think, in fact, I did tear up and had a hard time swallowing suddenly.

I wanted to cry, not only because my two year-old son feels like he weighs as much as my ten year-old daughter, but she is as thin as a toothpick. Thanks to a ton of exercise, which she loves – swimming, skiing, and bike riding – along with her genetics, which includes an extremely fast metabolism, which she gets from me, she is so skinny that I often direct her to the ice cream store and ask if she wants one. Sometimes she does. Sometimes she doesn’t.

My daughter does not have a sweet tooth, so she, too, eats extremely healthy, not because I force her to, but because she just truly likes vegetables and hates candy.

My daughter is so skinny that she has been stopped a handful of times to be asked to be a model in runway children shows. Each time, I’ve said ‘no,’ because I believe she is too young to be directed into the modeling world, where she’d probably end up eating cotton balls for meals.

If she does one day, when she’s 18, wants to be a model, fine. But not now. Not when she’s ten.

In the adult world, my daughter would be a size zero or minus-zero (that exists, right?) All her bikinis need to be taken in to a seamstress to make them tighter, so they don’t fall off her butt and the top doesn’t fall off her shoulder’s. Her jeans fit her in length, but I still always need to get the waist taken in, as I do with her school uniform skirts for school.

I think hearing my daughter ask, “Mommy, am I fat?” was one of my most saddening parenting moments I’d ever yet experienced. Maybe all mothers are asked by their daughters, or sons. at some point, if they are fat. But when they are only ten, or younger, it haunts you in an unforgettable awful way, like a nightmare you can’t wake yourself up from.

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • CMJ

    My husband and I were getting coffee one morning and all of a sudden he turned to me, slightly paler, and said – “That little girl just asked her dad if her shoes make her look fat.” She was maybe 6-8 years-old.

    The bottom line is – kids will pick it up from ANYWHERE and you could say the simplest thing and they might take it the wrong way. It could be, that if you are talking about your son being fat (as people tend to do around cute, chubby babies), she got it from there. She could have gotten it from school. Kids are very observant….it could only take one off-hand comment to make her question her size.

    • rebecca eckler

      You are correct!! Thanks for sharing!

  • T

    I think it’s the age. My 10 year old asked me the same thing a couple months ago. I felt that same rage

    • rebecca eckler

      Awful, isn’t it? So sad!

  • tk88

    Pay attention to TV shows, movies, commercials, magazines, and even toys–especially those that target women/girls. In a VERY short time you will see dozens upon dozens of references to weight, “fat”, or losing weight. Not to mention how “thin” is equated to beauty and “fat” is equated to “ugly” and therefore makes a woman undesirable. Your daughter is on the cusp of puberty and probably starting to worry how desirable she is. Unless you kept her in a plastic bubble she would encounter these intense messages from our society about weight and beauty. But the fact that you don’t do it and reinforce that she (and even you) are beautiful as you are, is important.

    • SarahJesness

      Not to mention that pretty much all of the female protagonists on these shows and toylines tend to be pretty thin, which doesn’t really help matters.

    • rebecca eckler

      Agreed!

  • bl

    I think it’s a common age for that question, sadly. She’s probably just at a point where’s she’s never considered whether she’s fat, skinny, average, whatever, so she’s suddenly aware that she might be one of them and wants to make sure it’s not fat (because despite how good you are at not shaming fatness, TV and books will step in to take care of that for you).

    It’s probably nothing, but I’d just be observant for awhile. Does she start calling herself fat? Start obsessing that clothes don’t fit or “make her look fat”? Does she suddenly alter her diet? etc. Outside of that, it’s probably just normal growing up.

  • Tina

    I get where you’re coming from, but in all honesty using phrases and words like “anger boiling, “haunts”, “nightmare” and “state of depression” seems a bit over dramatic for the situation here. She’s only ten and it was just one time she asked this question, I don’t think it’s time to panic yet unless she starts to visibly obsessing about her body and brings it up multiple times.

    • T

      I’ll actually give Rebecca this one. I have a sister with a life debilitating eating disorder. When my daughter asked me, yeah, I nearly cried. I was devastated, terrified. I felt like a failure as a mother.

    • Tina

      I’m really sorry to hear about your sister, it must be really difficult:( I didn’t mean to make it sound that it isn’t something parents should consider or be slightly concerned with, but at this point in time there isn’t much use in her getting so heated and downright distraught about it. Like another commenter said, right now it just seems like her daughter is questioning is where her body fits in on the spectrum and that’s a normal part of growing up. In most situations this doesn’t mean she will develop an unhealthy body image or an eating disorder. You definitely should not have felt like a failure as a mother for being asked that same question!

      I guess we can’t help but all be personally biased on this topic though, you had a certain reaction because of your personal experiences just like I did too. Mine comes from growing up with a mom who created issues because of being overly concerned from the time I was about eleven. She was very scared that I would develop an eating disorder and desperately tried to make sure I only heard that I was beautiful from everyone and the perfect size no matter what. She didn’t have a reason for being this way exactly, I was the very definition of average sized and I wasn’t bullied or teased either. I understand she was trying to be supportive and wanted to raise me with a positive body image, but it only made me feel like I couldn’t trust her to be honest with me and she wanted everyone around me to be fake with me too. Sometimes I felt like I was under a microscope and that she was taking mental note of my eating habits all the time in case I was dieting. During my teen years at a time when I was very self-conscious, I felt very judged for caring about my attractiveness and even tried to hide simple things like wearing makeup because instead of understanding that it made me feel more confident despite my braces and the mild acne in my awkward phase, all I got immediately was “you don’t need to wear makeup, you are naturally beautiful and healthy! You’re perfect the way you are!” whenever I got caught putting it on. It was all way too much and she never sat down and talked to me about these issues directly either. Needless to say, that was one of the reasons I felt terribly disconnected from my mom during that time.

      I think the way that Rebecca handled this particular situation was great, I really do. I just also know that sometimes worrying too much over a simple question like that can spin out of control in a parent’s mind only to make mountains out of molehills and trying to somehow overcompensate for how critical society is these days can backfire as well.

    • rebecca eckler

      Thanks for sharing this. I feel for you and can see where you were coming from after reading this. But how much more realistic can you get than actually looking into the mirror! She hasn’t asked again since, so I’m hopeful that I can stop worrying about this! Thanks for joining the convo!

    • Tina

      No problem! I’m sorry if my initial comment sounded a bit harsh, in hindsight I probably should have explained my personal experience along with it. Your daughter sounds like a great girl, trust that she’s already picking up by example how comfortable you are in your own skin and therefore knows she should be comfortable in hers too :)

    • JLH1986

      I would be concerned…and I think to be irate or worried about her 10 year old daughter being worried about her weight is pretty ok. This is the age when eating disorders frequently develop, if not in action, in obsessions.

    • rebecca eckler

      It’s exactly why I am concerned. She’s only ten!

    • cabinfever

      Agree. This wasn’t necessarily a loaded question, maybe just curiosity. Kids ask millions of questions. If she’d asked if she was short, no problem – right?

      If we react uncomfortably the first time (or few times) this question comes up, I think that’s what our children will notice, no matter what words we say.

  • Kay_Sue

    Sounds like a pretty normal time to be bridging the topic, honestly. I’d wager a guess that the important part is that you are accepting and that you have those talks about media messages, body acceptance, loving yourself, etc. Kids are going to absorb information from all sources, some unimaginable, and teaching them to think critically about them is pretty crucial (I think).

  • Sara610

    I don’t have any great advice, but I’m reading these comments with interest. My mom was anorexic for a long time–like, she didn’t menstruate for ten years because of it. I was raised with a ton of unhealthy messages about food, weight, etc. and it took me until I was in my mid-20s to even start to develop a really healthy relationship with food. And it’s probably something that I’m always going to struggle with.

    Fast forward to now–I have a beautiful, healthy two-year-old daughter who is, shall we say, sturdy. She’s a great eater and right now we’re working on teaching her to love all kinds of foods and appreciate that treats are to be enjoyed in moderation, and without guilt, as part of an overall healthy diet. We’re also teaching her to eat healthy and be physically active because it feels good to be healthy and strong, not because she needs to fit into a certain size. (The message that I grew up with, by contrast, was that being THIN is the most important thing and health is of secondary significance.) My mom started talking to me when my daughter was an INFANT about how she was worried my daughter would grow up to be obese, and there were serious words about that.

    The word “fat” is not on her radar. But I know it will be someday, and I honestly haven’t figured out how I’m going to handle it when it is. I’m hoping for some wisdom from others who have been through it.

  • Brutus

    I had a moment when I was 12, we were trying on bathing suits, and my sister (18 months older than I), was 3 sizes smaller. 15 years later, I’m 7 inches taller than she is, so I now understand the difference. At the time, though, I broke down crying in the dressing room because the bikinis made me look like a pork roast. My mom helped me find diet plans, though that only made me obsessive. It took until 23, when I got into distance running, for me to realize that I have a good, sturdy skeleton, and that I’m tougher than I seem, to feel good about my body. I’ve had an eating disorder, I’ve felt weak, and my saving grace was realizing that my body was function over form. I can run 26.2 miles (slowly), but I can do it, and I’d like to advise any pre – teen or teen to consider that your athletic abilities now are a drop in the bucket relative to your later life. Screw the super-skinnies….be strong and capable, and that’s all you need…you.

    • Jessica

      Distance running (though I am only at 10 miles, working toward the half Marathon) is also what gave me a healthier view of my own body after a lot of struggle with image issues. Have you ever seen “The Oatmeal” cartoon about “Why I Run”?

    • darras

      This makes me really sad, and happy! Happy that you’re in a good place, sad because my sister is exactly where you were at. Nothing I say seems to make any difference to her :/

    • bl

      Yes, I was never fat, but because I was always 5-7 inches taller than all my friends I weighed more, wore bigger sizes, and generally developed differently. I pray I can convince my kids to have patience through those age 10 to 18 years–”Your body is not done yet! You have no idea how it will turn out. Eat healthy, exercise, and see what you were meant to have. Odds are it won’t be stick thin, but it will be stable, healthy, and beautiful.” Thanks to my eating disorder, it’s been very hard to find where my body “sits” naturally.

  • SunnyD847

    I find it interesting how much of this article is given to emphasizing how thin you and your daughter are. Is that really important?

    • Tinyfaeri

      Considering she asked if she was fat, it’s relevant. And probably made it more startling that she asked.

    • SunnyD847

      It just came across as defensive to me. Like, if she was overweight her mom would have no right to be concerned. Also, I think telling the girl she’s not fat only reinforces the idea that being fat is negative and to be avoided. Maybe we should teach our girls that they’re asking the wrong question. “Am I healthy?” “Am I fit?” “Is my body capable of doing the activities I want to do?” Also, how about “Am I a good person?” “Am I kind?” These are all more important questions than “Am I fat?”

    • rebecca eckler

      I agree with this. Of course I was defensive. My daughter is only ten and should NOT worry about weight at all. But I agree that a better question would be, “Am I healthy?” But this is the reality nowadays. Sadly.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Sure, those are all great questions, and I’m sure most people work on them more often than questions about weight… but… I fail to see why giving a child a realistic image of their size is bad, and pretending that they have no size or size doesn’t exist is good. They have eyes, and I’d rather my daughter have a realistic view of herself than the distorted one I’ve had for years.

    • ChillMama

      Exactly. I thought letting us know how slim her daughter is was a way to emphasize just how unnerving it was that she would want to know if she was fat.

    • rebecca eckler

      It is when we are talking about weight! We both have fast metabolisms! Which is not always a good thing. Being called too skinny is offence to me, because I eat a ton, and so does my daughter.

    • drinkpepsi

      Your lack of grammar skills is “offence” to me.

    • rebecca eckler

      SO STOP READING!! I BEG YOU TO STOP! But, apparently, I’m your only “hobby” or your “addiction,” and I’m not sure you’ll ever get the help you need to actually be a more positive person. That’s my two cents!

    • drinkpepsi

      Rebecca is constantly writing about her weight in a very obsessive manner.

      During her pregnancy, she was always worried that she was too fat, or that her ass looked fat, etc.

      Check out the book reviews:

      “Her focus throughout the book is never on being healthy and happy for her baby, just being cool and thin. She drinks and smokes throughout her pregnancy and even pursues a flirtatious relationship with another man” – Sarah (St.Louis) Amazon review

      “The first words uttered in Eckler’s “diary,” introduce you to a woman so self-indulgent, self-involved, and immature that one finds it shocking that she has found someone to marry her. As I journeyed with her throughout her pregnancy, I was disgusted to find that she continued to periodically smoke and drink and that she found a doctor who had no problem with this. Her main concern throughout her pregnancy was not of her unborn child’s health, but of her weight gain constantly asking her fiancee whether or not he thought that she was fat.” Michelle Eslinger (NY) Amazon review

      “Please, may I review with fewer than one star? In all my life I have never, never, read a book as bland and inherently dull as Rebecca Eckler’s Knocked Up…How on earth can a 30 year-old woman be so clueless about her own body? Is she honest? Maybe, but boy she is so self-centred and self-absorbed, while pondering why her friends are just that.” Freddi (NY) Amazon review

    • Rebecca eckler

      Still getting those royalty checks stalker Pepsi! Bad reviews don’t always mean the book won’t sell! Not that you have published one. Just letting you know !

    • drinkpepsi

      I am sure that those royalty checks must be immense.
      So immense, in fact, that you must travel to – ahem – Mexico over and over again. Sorry about that. ((hugs))

    • rebecca eckler

      Yes, I do. Because, um, I LOVE it there. Playa Del Carmen. Own a place. Would you like to rent it for a week? I’ll give you a good price!

    • drinkpepsi

      Thanks. I will pass. I refuse to travel to third world countries with my children. I consider that far too dangerous and only stick to first world nations.

    • rebecca eckler

      ah, very telling. Yup, no point in arguing with you. We WOULD definitely NOT get along in person either. There’s NO WAY I can respond to your mind and your sweeping assumptions.

    • Psych Student

      Hey, negative reviews hopefully mean they bought and read the book, which is good news! My wife wrote and self published two books so far and we joke that people just have to buy them, they never have to read them. :)

    • drinkpepsi

      This entire article is just a humble brag attempt by Eckler that failed miserably. She made the point over and over again that she and her daughter are extremely thin. Got it. We can all see that you place absolutely no importance on thinness by your absolute obsession with the subject.

      Also, honey, no one believes that you have people trying to get your daughter into modelling. Seriously.

      You are what – 5 foot nothing and your baby daddy is not much taller. You can rest easy knowing that a modelling career is not in your daughter’s future. Very few models under 5’10 ever make it.

    • Mary

      I think the reason she mentioned it was because of how unhealthy this deal with being so thin is – that if she were any thinner she’d be dead and that even the thinnest of girls think they’re fat, which I think is her point.

      Being too fat or thin is bad, but I just think she’s making a point, alright? gees :-/

    • guest

      It might’ve been possible to make that point without emphasizing things like her daughter is “minus zero” and how she’s only slightly wider than her…

  • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

    Just like if your son says he’s FABULOUS!

  • etbmm

    I get the concern, but it sounds like you are the only one assigning a lot of negative value to the word “fat” here. Maybe the way your daughter asked the question you could tell she was feeling insecure, but from what you wrote here it sounds like she was just testing out the concept of fat and what it means, and looking to you for guidance. I’m not sure that pointing out how skinny you are in a mirror, and how much skinnier she is than you, is the way to remove the pressure. The message I would take if I were your daughter is that “fat is BAD but it’s okay because I’m not fat.” What will she think of her friends who ARE fat? What will she think of herself if her metabolism slows down eventually and she puts on weight?

    • rebecca eckler

      Good question! We will have to see what happens! Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  • Toni

    Article about how EVIL the word fat is, how its worse than Fuck! So are fat people worse than cuss words? Are we not allowed to talk about the size of our bodies? Gross.

    • ChillMama

      Ok, I don’t think that is what she was saying at all. The whole point (I thought) was why on earth is a 10 year old worrying about body image.

    • rebecca eckler

      Yes, exactly! I wasn’t saying that at all! The point is my daughter is only 10 and should not be worrying about this!

    • brebay

      Yeah, fat’s only a bad word if it’s bad to be fat.

  • K.

    I think the question “am I fat?” from younger girls isn’t about their physique all (although sometimes they will swear it is and it may appear that way to them), but expressing an emotional worry—ie, they heard someone use it as an insult or heard someone bemoaning the fact that they are fat (even if not—and usually they aren’t, which is more confusing to a lot of younger kids) and they don’t want to be insulted or to be unhappy about themselves. So, in essence, I think the question is really a combination of all the stereotypes that (sadly) go along with fat: am I lazy/stupid/unpopular/unloved/unsuccessful/unworthy, etc. etc.

    Your best bet is to try as hard as you can to steer the focus AWAY from physical appearance—and I mean that as a general principle, not just in reference to conversations about weight and dieting and makeup. Instead, make a concerted effort to make your interactions with your daughter about something else—how fearless she is, her hobbies, her ideas, etc. etc. so that you shore up her real character. To me, that is the best antidote to being able to separate one’s looks from one’s value and to be able to say, “even if I were/am fat, I am still a hard worker, a great friend, a smart person, and worthy of love and respect.” (yes, the whole “you’re smart enough, you’re good enough, and gosh darn it, people like you!”

    So it’s a little worrisome that your response to this is to write a whole column that IS about the physical. I just call that to your attention so you remember that the opposite of fat, in this context, is not thin, but confident and at peace with oneself.*

    (*no, I am not saying fat people can’t be confident; I’m talking about this strictly as a parenting philosophy in the context of how the kid is using the descriptor)

    • rebecca eckler

      I like this, the “confident and peace with oneself.” That speaks the truth for sure!

  • m

    I’m not as avid hater of Eckler’s texts as some commenters here, but I still keep wondering how she gets paid for writing, as she’s not very good at it. Her articles are always very repetitive. I do admit I kinda laughed at how she keeps emphasizing how skinny her daughter and she are (she’s only slightly wider than her model-skinny daughter! wow! much amaze!).

    • elle.m.jay

      My thoughts exactly! Maybe Eve is trolling us all by continuing to post her articles?

    • m

      Probably just because she gets a lot of clicks and comments with her “controversial” articles. I am of course also contributing to that now. Oh well.

    • Rebecca Eckler

      I actually don’t go out of my way to be “controversial.” I write about my experience of parenting. This one was about the first time my daughter asked if she was “Fat.” I don’t write to get “clicks.” But thanks for your input on the post anyway!

    • m

      Well, not all of your articles are controversial, it’s more about your character. I’m not going to get more into that though, as I’m sure you have seen what many people think about you, and often I tend to agree. But thanks for your reply anyway!

    • rebecca eckler

      Well, when you are a blogger, I guess, and are only writing a few hundred words, it really doesn’t sum up a person’s character or identity. People can THINK whatever they want however, I agree with that. Have a nice day!

    • m

      I’m not sure if this is the Canadian politeness I have heard about (I’m not American) or sarcasm, but anyway you too!

    • Rebecca eckler

      It was sincere!

  • Courtney Lynn

    Hugs and kudos for not putting emphasis on body image! I grew up with it and have a complex to this day. Parents who put so much importance on such things, in my mind, are emotionally abusive.

    • drinkpepsi

      Except she does. All the time.

      She constantly talks about her own weight. She takes her young daughter with her when getting a bikini wax (who does that?). She makes fun of other women who are not 99 lbs.

      She is not setting a good example for her daughter.

    • loretta

      my mother used to take me with her when getting her bikini waxes, all my childhood. i love and respect her, and never had any issues with my body, or anything else. judgemental much?

    • Rebecca Eckler

      Drinkpepsi, I could brag, and brag about all my daughter’s accomplishments – gold medals, writing awards etc. – but I do set a great example for my daughter. I’m her mother. Thank GOD you are NOT. My daughter, I’m positive, has accomplished much more than you in her ten years!

    • drinkpepsi

      You have already admitted that you do your daughter’s homework for her.

      Congrats on beating a bunch of elementary kids and scooping up awards meant for children!

      (As an aside, I am still surprised that you could manage to beat other ten years olds at writing, given your track record here…)

    • guest

      Drinkpepsi, you are not doing a very good job at hiding your envy in regards to Rebecca. You comment like a jealous teenage girl. Why you are obsessed with this woman is beyond me, but all it does is take away from points that could be otherwise valid. You should speak to someone about this hatred you have towards a blogger on a parenting website- it’s a bit much, you sound deranged.

    • drinkpepsi

      Hatred? No.

      I do find it sad though that a bunch of ten year olds are competing against a 40 year old woman for writing awards.

      She needs to stop doing her daughter’s homework.

      Or at least stop bragging about her daughter ‘winning’ these awards.

    • rebecca eckler

      I HELPED with my daughter’s homework and that post was a long while back. Sometimes it seemed a fine line between helping and doing. I don’t DO her homework. And what mother doesn’t brag about their child winning something. Get a grip! I am SOOOOOOO glad you are not my daughter’s mother. My god, you are insane. #stalker

    • Courtney Lynn

      Maybe I should go back and reread some of her posts. I know she takes her daughter with her to waxes, and often complains about what are not only first world problems, but problems of the wealthy that none of us can relate to but I don’t remember much about body image. If that’s true, then she should go back and think about where exactly her daughter is getting it from and do what she can to correct it before it’s too late.

    • brebay

      But she does. Unfortunately for all of us parents, kids pay much more attention to what you do than what you tell them. They’re straining their ears to hear what you’re saying on the phone or to adult friends because, at 10, they pretty much know you’re only going to tell them what you think they need to know.

    • SarahJesness

      Yeah, that could be the case. Eckler might be saying things that she thinks are harmless, but her daughter is interpreting a different way. Or she might be saying potentially harmful things when she thinks her daughter can’t hear (but totally can). If a kid begins to express insecurities, the parents should look at themselves to see if they might be perpetuating anything. (although such views could easily come from other sources as well)

  • pixie

    Gah, my comment apparently didn’t post. :(

    Anyways, in short, I’m torn on this one because on one hand I would be worried, too, if I was in your position, but on the other hand she’s at the age where she’s starting to develop her own distinct identity and discover her body (I’m not talking about a sexual way, just in general, appearance-wise). It’s good that you don’t put emphasis on body image, though sometimes complete avoidance can have negative effects, even if you don’t intend them to. I agree with another poster who said that the questions “am I fit?” and “am I healthy?” would be better to teach young girls and perhaps if the topic comes up again you can tell her those instead. Plus, if it comes up again, change the focus to her intelligence and talents (“No, you’re not fat, but even if you were, would it change how great you are at playing your violin? Would you enjoy [activity] less than now?”) and let her know that fat does not mean bad or stupid or lazy or anything else negative. Everyone is built differently and weight and size has nothing to do with health.
    Also, though I’m going to say it’s unlikely that your daughter has body dysmorphia, I wouldn’t ask her if she thinks you’re fat or not, since I have known people with body dysmorphia who see no fault in others but focus on their own perceived flaws (i.e., I have had friends tell me how skinny and thin I was and insist they were obese when they were in fact, several sizes smaller than me – and I am by no means a large girl). Just let your daughter know she is wonderful and intelligent and talented and beautiful. If she wants to explore her image, be open and non-judgemental (as I’m sure you are anyways). Plus it says a lot that she felt comfortable coming to you for this.

    And, as a random question because I’m curious: Does your daughter have a late birthday or did she skip a grade? (You’ve mentioned she’s in grade 6, but I’m not sure if she’s 10 or 11).

    • rebecca eckler

      Yeah, I keep thinking that there should be a manual for this type of thing! Thanks for your comments – telling daughters they are sweet and intelligent and talented (which I also do) And I agree that I was she had asked me, “Am i fit? instead. Thanks for joining the conversation! xR

  • drinkpepsi

    Brilliant piece of satire, Becky!

    Love how you deny any responsibility for your daughter’s body image problems.

    You are the same Rebecca Eckler who wrote an entire book about the horrors of pregnancy weight gain, correct?

    The same writer who constantly complained about your “fat ass” when you were pregnant with your daughter and who decided not to breastfeed your daughter because you wanted to hit the gym right away in order to lose all the horrendous baby weight and not be tied up with breastfeeding?

    You are also the same Rebecca Eckler who proudly posed in her daughter’s tiny gym outfit…boasting about the fact that you could fit in clothing made for an eight year old?

    Yes, it is completely surprising that your young daughter is obsessed with body image and weight.

    • brebay

      Exactly, it’s “Do as I say, not as I do.” I believe Rebecca when she says she doesn’t talk TO her daughter about weight, but that little girl is WATCHING, and, even if she’s not doing it in front of you, she’s READING!!

    • Rebecca eckler

      Um that photo was posted THREE years ago. Again drunk Pepsi you obviously. Look at my FB page. Really go to AA already!

    • drinkpepsi

      Um…how does the photo being three years old change anything?

      If anything, it is worse. That means that you have consistently made weight an issue for several years and clearly your daughter is picking up on it.

      Also, why do you keep insinuating that I am an alcoholic? Even if I were an alcoholic, why the jabs? Are you as condescending to people with alcohol problems as you are to people with weight problems? Again, great role-model for your kids.

      (For the record, I am as much of an alcoholic as you are a good writer. And since that sentence is too complicated for you to decipher, it means that I am most definitely not an alcoholic.)

    • rebecca eckler

      It makes you seem WORSE than anything because you are such a stalker and apparently want to live mine, since you now so much about it! Sorry about your sad life that you have to pay so much attention to mine. Adios!

    • drinkpepsi

      You begged Mommyish readers to check out your Facebook page so we could see your post-baby bikini bod. Or did you forget?

      I Shared Post-Baby Bikini Photos On Facebook And I’m Proud Of It
      Read more: http://www.mommyish.com/2013/01/02/post-baby-body-baby-weight/#ixzz2wQIlbPQa

      And now you feign alarm that someone might have actually checked out your Facebook page?

      Time to see your shrink again, Becky.

      (Oh…and the word is “know”…not “now.” But no one here is surprised by your atrocious spelling anymore.)

    • Rebecca

      The original statement you made was about a photo I posted three years ago. Again u must have so much free time! I’m jealous! Not! Stalker!

    • Jill

      I remember that post and looking at that bikini picture thinking “yeah.. She doesn’t look that good.” LOL!

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      My parents never spoke about weight to me. I was completely unaware of my physique for the first 9 years of my life. I do have a very clear memory of being told at 9 years old by a friend of my elder sister’s that I was getting chubby. I went home and looked at myself in the mirror and she was right. Until then I was completely unaware. I still hate her for that.

      It is entirely possible that the daughter in question was accused of being fat, or picked this up somewhere other than the home.

      I too found part about how she insists on how skinny her daughter is annoying, because I am fat, and honestly I am jealous. I do think the way Rebecca handled the question was quite perfect. We are usually much better at seeing flaws in ourselves than others, so it caused her to look at herself from a third person point of view.

      I too would freak out if my daughter asked me that question.

      I know there are some questionable articles from this author, but I think it is a bit much to claim that the question means her daughter has body images and it is all Eckler’s fault is a bit mean. First of all, it may have just been a random question, second of all I’m sure Eckler, like any normal mother, worries about her kids. Putting that guilt on a mother, is awful, even if you don’t like the woman.

      Eckler, I wonder if you have ever asked her how she feels about her body. Is she happy with herself or concerned about anything? That might be another avenue to explore. If she has concerns, discussing them with you might keep it from becoming a problem.

    • brebay

      Why did you address that to me? I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, maybe you’re the drunk one!

    • rebecca eckler

      sorry brebay! That was meant for Crazy Drink….But, no, my daughter has not read any of my books! Thanks for joining in the convo! Sorry, again, that wasn’t meant for you! xo

  • March

    “It seemed to satiate her”

    That word… I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I think she meant “satisfied”

  • brebay

    “My daughter is so skinny she was asked to be a model.” mmmmkay, for some reason you valued it enough to share.

    • rebecca eckler

      I only “shared” because it’s the truth. And they wanted her to model BECAUSE she was so thin and tall. I didn’t let her do it. I mentioned it, because it happened and was still proof that even in children’s modelling, they want you to be tall and skinny. This happened in Aspen, again, recently. Objectively, I can honestly say, just because I mentioned that scouts ask her, does show some sort of value – about weight. Good? Nope!

    • Howdywiley

      I have seen pictures of your daughter and there is NO WAY she has been asked to be a model.

  • brebay

    Mothers who are controlling, over-sharing, and have boundary issues are as likely to raise daughters with eating disorders as mothers who obsess about weight.

  • brebay

    My only issue with the way this was handled is that the message you wanted to make sure she got was “You’re not fat” rather than “Weight doesn’t matter.” So what if, in a few years, she does get big, bigger than you? What if she puts on 20 her first year at college? The dialogue needs to change to “Why do you think it’s important to be skinny?” rather than “Don’t worry, you are skinny.” So, she’s okay for now, because she is skinny, but you’ve also reinforced the message that it’s important to be skinny, which is, I think. the exact opposite of what you wanted to do. Not all people with eating disorders were ever fat. I was always a skinny, big eater, and NEVER thought I was fat. I still struggled with eating disorders for years, because in all those years of people telling me I was thin (not fat, not once, not ever) I got the message that thin was a valuable asset (which it is, sadly.) So, when I stopped getting all that attention, in fact, the first time someone told me “No, you’re not fat, you’re just right,” I panicked, not because I thought I was fat, but because I thought I had lost my currency of being “skinny”. So be careful that you’re getting the right message through. She may always be skinny, she may not be, but if your whole argument is based on proving to her that she’s skinny, it all falls apart if she’s not.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I remember being told as a kid by my parents that weight doesn’t matter. It really just pissed me off, because when you are being teased at school, it really did matter to me. I felt they were belittling my feelings and not listening to me. I think this subject is a terribly touchy one and no matter what you say, it will not be perfect. Trying to keep the avenues of communication open and really figure out what the problem is, and what she needs from you will always be a huge challenge. If you were told weight doesn’t matter, maybe you would still have been disappointed because that still means your currency of being “skinny” is not worth anything since it no longer matters. Plus you would know that it surely does matter on the playground where people like skinny kids better than fat kids.

    • brebay

      You were fat, her kid’s skinny, I was directing it toward a kid who doesn’t need to lose weight, not toward one who needs to learn how to do it in a healthy, big difference. This was directed toward the specific kid in an article, a skinny kid.

    • Raeronola

      This this this!!!!!!!! The only acceptable compliment for someone with an eating disorder is “you’re TOO skinny.” That’s the only thing that ever made me feel okay. So, so sad.

      While I appreciate the dialogue the writer is bringing up here, I think that focusing on how thin her daughter is for three paragraphs is completely counter productive to her intent. Instead if focusing on the body, why not say something like, “you’re a smart, fun, talented person, the shape of your body doesn’t matter one bit. You will always be perfect exactly the way you are!” 10 is a great age to start opening up a lifelong focus on ones character rather than how much physical space we take up on earth.

      I know this comment is super late on this article but everything about it was disturbing to me..

  • SarahJesness

    If you feel your daughter’s comment was her expressing insecurity about her weight, maybe try telling her that health is more important or whatever. By reassuring her that she’s skinny, you might be (unintentionally) enforcing the idea that fat = bad. How would she feel if she gained weight later on, or fell into whatever she defined as “fat”? (standards today can be pretty crazy, depending on what you’re going by. Hollywood standards? 5 foot 6 inch, 115 me is pretty fat, ha ha)

    You say you don’t make statements about weight to her, but you might want to look at the things you say. Even a simple, innocent comment can be interpreted differently by a child. (again, the “we’re so skinny” thing can do this. By bragging about how skinny you guys are, it establishes that skinny = good. Humblebraggin’, much?) It’s also possible you might be saying things when you think she’s not listening. Look over your own statements and actions. If you find nothing wrong, well, those attitudes can just as easily come from an outside source. School, media, (even innocent looking shows have a habit of reinforcing beauty standards) whatever.

    • Rebecca Eckler

      Well I don’t “brag” to her about her body size or to her about mine. When a super skinny child asks, “Mommy, am I fat?” it’s really depressing. And, it IS possible that I do say things that I’m not aware of! Thanks for joining the convo!

    • drinkpepsi

      You can say that your child is skinny once to make the point. You do not need to stress the point ten times. It just makes you seem like you are the one who is obsessed with thinness and body image.

      The fact that you admitted to starving yourself after you had your daughter and that you felt the need to have a personal trainer, a pilates instructor and swim every day to shed the baby weight shows you have huge insecurities about your body.

      Most new moms take some time to just enjoy their newborn.

      Are you really surprised that your daughter thinks it is super important to be skinny?

    • rebecca eckler

      No, it shows that I wanted to get back to being fit and healthy. Why do I bother with you? I have no insecurities (no more or less than the average woman) about my body. What pregnant woman doesn’t want to lose the weight and feel their normal self again?

  • How’d

    This is just one big humble brag. Rebecca, it is very easy to find photos of you online. You are not that thin.

  • enterer

    It’s when she says, “Mommy, am I fucked?”, that alarm bells might go off.

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