Breaking Down Cosmetic Procedures for Your Kids
This summer, I had Botox and fillers done so subtly that my daughter noticed from a mile away. Fine, it wasn’t an actual mile, but it was about the length of a baseball field. I know this for certain because she was at camp on a baseball field and ran up to me, the entire length of the field, saying, “What happened to your face?”
I had thought my minor tweaks were unnoticeable, or at the very least, understated enough that they’d be mistaken for a fresh hair cut or a new moisturizer. To other people, that may have been the case but, to our children who look so lovingly into our eyes on a daily basis (or whatever you want to call those stares) subtle changes are big… huge even!
“Your face is fatter.” My little one yelled as she walked toward me.
I could have told her the truth, “No, Mommy’s face is exactly as ‘fat’ as it once was, in the days when she had natural collagen and the volume of a 20-something with the world at her feet.” But, I went with, “I know, I’ve been eating a bit more. My face was getting too skinny.” So, I lied, but then I added a dig at being skinny, so score one for body image.
The truth is, you don’t have to tell your kids the truth, but as they get older, you may want to consider it. Most importantly, whatever story you go with, you want to make sure you aren’t implying that you dislike yourself, your features, or your body.
So where does that leave you? Here are your options. You know your kids best, but don’t forget that works both ways. No one looks at you more than your off spring and just when you think they are clueless they’ll shock you with some pretty amazing insights into your mood or appearance.
1. Lie - If your kids are younger and you’re getting something in an area that is not totally visible, lying may be a great option. I like the “Mommy had moles” or “a cyst removed” angle. It can explain bandages, stitches, pain, inability to lift items etc. Let’s face it; no one needs to explain breast implants to a 4 year-old.
2. Disappear - Depending on the age of your children and the type of surgery, you may want to consider a trip for the kids to grandma’s or a “girls trip” or “spa weekend” for yourself while you recover. Some recoveries are scary to watch and if you can avoid having your kids near you and worrying about you, it’s a win-win!
3. Be Honest - Many parents believe it’s immoral to lie to your kids, but I am not of that ilk. Not because I don’t think lying is bad, but because I think a child’s mental health and ability to process is more important. That being said, you don’t need to regurgitate all the graphic details of your procedure. It will probably scare and possibly scar your kids and it’s just not necessary. Give them an honest yet palatable explanation of what you are having done and answer questions that are asked, no more. The goal is for them to be prepared for what is to come, bruising, bed rest etc., while feeling that you will be okay.
4. Be Smart - Whichever route you choose, at some point you may end up telling the kids what procedures you’ve had done and why. This is where you very tactfully explain that you did not NEED to change these things to feel better about yourself. The last thing you want to convey is that you hate certain things about yourself so much, you couldn’t live with them. Try to put a positive spin on your enhancements and body image i.e. “I had my breasts enlarged because they lost volume over the years and I wanted to fill in some of the skin that was beginning to sag.” It’s really important to emphasize that inner beauty comes first, but sometimes a little change can make you feel good (the way a manicure/pedicure or facial can). In other words, don’t make your procedure seem like a magic wand that will change your life and you’re good.