Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal- Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

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Small Children, Small Problems. Big Children, Big Problems

As a baby, Caroline cried loudly and often. She was sensitive to sound, light and texture. No amount of concealer could cover the dark under eye circles that accompanied my constant fatigue. Friends and family would remind me to enjoy those years. “Small children, small problems. Big children, big problems”, they would say.

I thought they were all crazy.

A few weeks ago, I took Caroline, nine years old and nearly five feet tall, jean shopping. We spent an hour trying on jeans with names like ‘Skinny’, ‘Twig’ and ‘Painted On’. Time and time again, the jeans were too tight and Caroline, while tall, is far from overweight.

As she wrangled a pair of too-small jeans over her hips, she looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m fat, aren’t I?”

I looked her in the eye and told her how gorgeous she is and how wrong jean companies are to sell to only one body type; the “Twigs” and the girls who can and want to wear jeans that are “Painted On.”

Caroline is not yet ten years old and the fashion industry has convinced my gorgeous, strong, intelligent and creative girl that she is fat.

I think back to all the people I distrusted when Caroline was a baby. The ‘small children, small problems’ people. Turns out they were not crazy after all. Our society and their skinny jeans are crazy.

I love the growing ‘tween-ness’ in my oldest daughter. I love that we can share shoes and books and laugh at the same jokes. But I do miss those sleepless nights and my defiant toddler who did not yet know a society that would judge her on the circumference of her thighs.

In your journal today, write about a transition to a new stage of motherhood. What do love? What do you miss? What is different than you expected? Or the same?

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Do you have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas! 


Stacey Loscalzo is a mother to two daughters, a writer, reader, volunteer and former reading specialist. Stacey’s writing has appeared in parenting publications such as City Parent, Flagler Parent and Suburban Parent. She writes often about children’s literature, education, parenting tween girls, reading and writing on her website. She also reviews her favorite new releases at the collaborative site, Great New Books.


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Ugh.... I *hated* shopping for jeans as a teenager! Nothing ever fit and it was just the perfect storm of body image drama. I'm sorry your daughter is having to go through that too, but I think it's just part of being a teen girl. =(
So glad to see you on here, Stacey. Oh man. I am so not looking forward to these kinds of discussions, having to explain away why society/media/fashion industry continues to demoralize women and girls this way, despite so many other kinds of progress we've seen. It's like it's the last bastion of self-esteem eroding devices, and sadly it seems to be the biggest and most pervasive, and reaches our youngest of females. My daughter is only about to turn seven, and, thankfully, this is off her radar still. But I know it's coming, and that's what makes it tougher, that upcoming innocence lost that has the capacity to really derail young, impressionable girls. I am sure though, Stacey, that you are setting a good example for her and are able to at least explain the problem is not her, it's definitely others (who should know better at that).
A good reminder for me to cherish these moments before we're there. I remember being there as the kid. And now I know enough to know it's so much harder to be the adult watching the kid have the same feelings.
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