When Allison Kimmey asked her children to exit the pool, she received an unexpected response from her 4-year-old daughter, Cambelle. Cambelle, visibly upset about leaving the water, uttered the words, “Mama is fat,” to her brother. This took Kimmey, a 30-year-old mother from Cocoa Beach, Florida, by surprise.
Perplexed by her daughter’s statement, Kimmey, determined to foster a healthy body image, decided not to let it pass as a mere insult. She didn’t want to perpetuate the notion that calling someone “fat” should be offensive. Instead, she recognized it as a valuable teachable moment for both Cambelle and her 6-year-old son, Graham.
Kimmey, who is currently working on a children’s book centered on body positivity, emphasized the importance of distinguishing between having fat and being labeled as “fat.” She explained to her children that everyone has fat, and it plays a vital role in safeguarding muscles and bones while supplying energy to the body.
In an Instagram post reflecting on their conversation, Kimmey relayed the message to her kids that having different amounts of fat doesn’t make one person better than another. The children grasped their mother’s message, repeating it back to her: “I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat, but everyone has fat, and it’s okay to have different fat.”
Kimmey’s account of this empowering parenting experience quickly garnered attention, amassing more than 33,000 likes on Instagram. Her goal is to encourage fellow parents to set an example with body-positive language and actions for their children.
She stresses that parents should begin these important conversations early in a child’s life. Children face a barrage of unrealistic beauty standards from a young age, and Kimmey’s daughter’s use of the word “fat” exemplifies this influence.
Kimmey’s household does not employ “fat” as an insult, and she believes her daughter may have internalized this idea from external sources. In a world where children encounter various perspectives and values, Kimmey underscores the role parents play in being the loudest, most accepting, and positive influence their children encounter.
Kimmey also shared her approach to promoting body positivity within her own home. She leads by example, showing her children the importance of being content in one’s own skin. Her household avoids discussions about health that revolve around numbers or pounds, instead emphasizing the pursuit of happiness and practicing kindness.
Kimmey acknowledges that perfection may be elusive, but she believes that showing children a life where they need not fear their own bodies is an endeavor well worth pursuing. In a society where body image and self-esteem are ongoing concerns, Kimmey’s parenting offers a compelling example of how to instill a positive body image in young minds.