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body image, eating disorders, my daughter thinks I'm ugly

My Daughter Thinks I’m Ugly

by Deborah Cruz

Talk about your body image being crushed. My daughter thinks I’m ugly. She told me that I’m prettier on the “inside” than I am on the outside. She even qualified it by saying, “Mommy, I’ve lived on the inside, so I should know.” She told me this last week.

I won’t lie; I wasn’t looking particularly pretty on that day. If I remember correctly, I was wearing yoga pants, a tank top and my hair was pulled back in a disheveled ponytail. You know, the same thing I wore yesterday and the day before and probably today. Isn’t that the standard new Mommy uniform? It is in my house. Or maybe I’m just too tired to care lately. It’s been a hectic summer with lots of changes and little sleep.

But I still can’t believe that my 7-year-old gave me the old “its what’s on the inside that counts” speech. I don’t want that speech. I wrote that speech. It’s like getting the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. You know what it really means is that is absolutely YOU. I know she didn’t intentionally mean to hurt my feelings. That was just a side effect of her brutal honesty. It’s not like she knows about the years of eating disorders, the body dysmorphic disorder or the negative self-image that I battle daily. How could she? I hide it from her.

What’s body image, Mommy?

Have I done my job too well? I’ve always tried to teach the girls to look beyond the surface in themselves and in others. I don’t want them to think anyone’s worth is based on what someone looks like. I don’t want them to end up in the position where they judge themselves and others on what the body looks like. I want them to have a positive body image. I don’t want size and shape to matter. I want them to understand that the body is just a shell to hold the beautiful spirit within. My biggest fear is that they will end up like me.

READ ALSO: I used to be Beautiful

All I know is that it hurt. This is probably more my issue than it is hers. But aren’t little kids supposed to think their moms are beautiful no matter what they look like? Isn’t that the law? I mean there are people that do have ugly children and they still think they are beautiful because they are looking at them through love goggles. I don’ think it’s even possible to think our own children are ugly because they are dripping in love. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this? At the very least, shouldn’t our children always look at us with love colored glasses?

I want to keep her body image intact.

I always remember thinking my mom was the most beautiful woman in the world just because she was my mom. You know the lady who gave birth to me, fed me, clothed me and loved me despite my bad attitude during the teen years. The same woman who spent a lifetime making sacrifices so that I didn’t have to. My mom was always the most beautiful woman to me in any room because she loved me. She was the kisser of boo-boos, the mender of broken hearts and the woman who cuddled me when I was sad. She made it all better. She is amazing and she is still the most beautiful woman to me, inside and out. No one else can even hold a candle to my mom’s heart and spirit. It is unrelenting.

READ ALSO: My Mom, My Hero

I do all those same things. I know that I should be proud of my daughter for looking beyond just the shell, as I have taught her but I guess I thought that only applied to other people. I took for granted that maybe my outside wasn’t as pretty as my inside. I never thought about how my own body image would suffer knowing that what was on the inside was prettier than what was on the outside.

Logic tells me that this is a good thing but why are my feelings so hurt?  Has your child ever said something to you about the way you look or dress that really hurt your feelings?

Psst, has anyone seen my little girl’s beer goggles, I think she may have dropped them at school. We need those back immediately. My body image has taken a 10 point dip since she made this comment.

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NPRMommy 2012/08/28 - 12:01 pm

ouch! i can tell how much you are hurt by this. to be fair, she didn’t say you were ugly. she said you were prettier on the inside than on the outside. and i would hope most people (regardless of how “pretty”) would hope people viewed them as prettier on the inside. you’ve taught her to judge people by what they’re like on the inside, and she’s judged you as pretty!

Deborah Cruz 2012/08/28 - 10:43 pm

I guess I am lucky she didn’t say it the other way around. Oh wait, she has. I know she didn’t call me ugly. I know she loves me. I also know that I’m a little more sensitive than I probably should be about this but it’s the worst possible week of the month for my kid to tell me that I’ve got a great personality:)LOL

Giselle Camilleri 2017/12/04 - 5:50 pm

Bang.i found this comment because I am feeling just the same way as you did.My 7 yr old looking closely to me said mummy you know what I don’t like about you. Your eyebrows…the shape..you look like a witch.then your eyes are too close to one another,your nose is crooked,and you got wrinkles …..my eyes filled with years as I said.is there anything you like…she said your boobs( breastfed 3 yrs)..I felt my self esteem take a big plunge.gosh I m ugly…oh man it hurts coming from yr kid

Toots 2019/09/05 - 8:44 am

Same as you down to a T – my 7 year old told me this morning that if I won the lottery I should have some plastic surgery to make my face prettier as it’s quite ugly and that I should stop wearing glasses. Like you I asked if she thought anything was nice about me and she answered ‘boobs are the only thing really.’ It’s not the first time she’s made a comment but this time it stung that bit more. ☹️

Kristin 2023/09/26 - 6:32 pm

These comments do hurt. But maybe we need to think about it this way- maybe our kids feel so comfortable with us as their mom that they feel they can say those things to us without hurting our feelings. I think kids forget us parents have feelings too. I remember when I was really young almost feeling like my mom was a “toy” I could play withMakes you want to make comments right back to them about their image though, doesn’t it? “Well I don’t like your…”. lol.

Lisa 2012/08/28 - 1:24 pm

Been there, heard that. Last night my 7 y/o son grabbed my upper arm and told his cub scout troop that I was fat and squishy.

Thanks, kid.

Deborah Cruz 2012/08/28 - 10:47 pm

Ouch! See, that might have made me cry a little this week. Next week, it may have gotten him and “oh yeah. Its your fault!”LOL THen I would have hugged him with my big squishy arms:)

Arnebya 2012/08/28 - 2:26 pm

My oldest daughter has done this, unintentionally, I think (at first). It’s all about the boobs. Hers are bigger than mine (she is 11. Fucking shit!) and she asked, while in Target, if I wanted to get matching bras but “Oh, nevermind, Mommy; they don’t have any small enough for you.” Since that comment, she’s made offhanded remarks about my lack of bosom but I want to show her I am happy with my body, I accept my nonbreastage, lack of cleavage, virtual daily need to wear a padded bra. I present the this is my body and I love it face. Inside? I HATE THIS BODY, GIVE ME BOOBS!

Deborah Cruz 2012/08/28 - 10:48 pm

You are good. Never let them see you sweat. They will never know your kryptonite because you are super smart. Damn, you are good!

Kristen Daukas 2012/08/28 - 8:23 pm

Does it count that my girls have all commented on my ahem…ample bussom and (non)JLo butt? I just laugh and tell them that it’s all because of them and that one day, they’ll have the exact same look as me! Usually shuts them up for a week or so.

Personally – I think you’re a knockout inside, outside and where it counts the most – in the brain!

Deborah Cruz 2012/08/28 - 10:45 pm

Can I please adopt you? This would make me feel infinitely more pretty:) Thanks for the sweet words.
Finally, somebody gives credit to my brain and not just my ample bosoms with the great personality!

Delfin Joaquin Paris III 2012/08/28 - 10:36 pm

There’s only one solution here – make another kid and hope that he finds your features striking.

Deborah Cruz 2012/08/28 - 10:41 pm

But were it so easy. That’s a lot of work just to satisfy my vanity:)
Luckily for me, my second daughter is completely blind to my flaws and finds me quite the handsome woman:)

Giselle Camilleri 2017/12/04 - 5:54 pm

Hello, it’s exactly what I told my kid..I don’t think she appreciated my comment

Andrea 2012/08/29 - 10:52 am

I’ll never forget the time one of my children told me that I look like an old man. I don’t even remember which one said it. All I know is that they were at the age when kids just say what’s on their minds, and I will never forget it. It made me feel so terrible. These days my kids know better. They tell me I’m younger than all their friends’ parents. No word on beauty, but these days I’ll take young over pretty.

Mary Samadani 2017/09/24 - 3:47 pm

My daughter is 8. I’m 54. I had her later in life. She told me today that she wished I was younger… like 20. She also wished I was pretty. I told her that some things you can’t change like your age. I wish. I wanted another child so bad I went to a doctor to help me get pregnant. Paid lots of money doing it. She’s always ashamed of me. She does want me to go to the school. She’s always putting me down. When I was het ahe I never thought anything bad about my mom. I just don’t get it. I know she’s a child but it really hurts. I canny help but think now that I madder a high mistake to have a child at my age since I’m an embarrassment. Please help me to deal with this.

Deborah Cruz 2017/09/26 - 11:15 am

It doesn’t matter if it’s a child or not, it hurts. TO be honest, it may hurt even more when it’s your own child because we just expect them to love everything about us because we do them. She loves you. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. It stinks. Please don’t let this come between you and your child. Just keep reminding yourself that she is only 8 and she has no filter and lacks the ability to tactfully say things. You may want to sit her down and just say, sweetie when you say things like that, it hurts my feelings and that may be enough to stop it. Maybe even tell her the story about wanting her so badly and what you went through to have her. Maybe it will give her an appreciation of what she has, an amazing, beautiful human being of a mother who was willing to sacrifice time, money and her own health to bring that child into the world. And take deep breaths because remember, you love her and she loves you and she is a child and they don’t think before they speak. They blurt every single thought at any given moment and it changes from moment to moment.

Evie Moreno 2018/08/01 - 1:47 am

Awwww I guess is the age? Tomorrow is the first day of school for my 6 year old, I asked him if he wanted for me to take him and he said no, my aunt can take me (my sister works there) I kept asking why why until he said becasue I was ugly… that was at 5pm and it is 11 and I’m still crying!! My heart is shattered:,( I know he means it and is because I am and I’m obese and I know I have to do something about it! I used to be beautiful ….

Mommyof2 2020/05/31 - 4:54 am

how are things now 2 years later? I am cancer survivor. The day after my daughter turned one I had surgery. After that, my weight increased so much. My energy and emotional state is all over the place. She is now 4 and recently told me that she does want to look like me and has mentioned d lot of things she doesn’t like about my physical appearance. It hurts.

Farrah 2021/03/24 - 10:54 am

My 9 years old son told me the same thing!
I used to be beautiful too but stress and smoking cigarettes don’t help! So I’m glad that my son said such thing to me, just so I know that I need to put myself first meaning take care of myself too!!
It is really hurts when we try do our best but they seems to be ungrateful for what we do or how much struggles we go through emotionally behind the scenes!
I pray that god touch our kids heart and soul! God bless you dear

Cindy 2012/08/31 - 2:21 pm

We all say it doesent count. Then we hear it and we’re like “what a load of shit”

Suzanne H 2012/09/12 - 8:24 am

My son started preschool this summer. He told me some of the kids in my class thought I was gross. I asked him what he said back to them and he said nothing. I couldn’t believe how hurt I was that 1. a bunch of 4 year olds thought I was gross and 2. my son didn’t stand up for me. Seriously, I know that’s nuts but it really hurt my feelings. I perseverated for days over what I could have done in front of these kids to be percieved as “gross!”

eva 2012/09/12 - 11:45 am

great article. Here’s my take. The Disney princesses are causing a big part of this problem. They are coming into the american girls’ lives too early and every single one of them is beautiful AND wears great clothes. You see, I’m from Europe, so when I was growing up, I was read ancient roman fables, and great tales by Andersen (danish), and folk tales from all the nations, with animal characters in them, and I learned from those from a very early age, that beauty is not even so important in life. It’s being smart and kind is what got those characters life exciting. I didn’t even know what a disney princess was until I was 10 or 12. I also grew up knowing that princes and princesses are real in UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Netherlands, Monaco, Greece etc, because they have a reinging king or queen AND they wear jeans sometimes. Those fables got had my value system going in the right direction at an early age. Point is: less disney princesses is what I recommend. It works in our family, and we have two girls, we still go to Disney and enjoy the princesses, but in proportion.

janet 2012/09/13 - 2:28 pm

I just had to respond to your blog because my 8 year old son hurt my feelings so badly recently that I cried for the longest time. We had been looking at Halloween costumes, and one that we had seen was a “blimp” type person inflatable costume. Air fills it up and makes the person a round globe with a head, arms, and legs. He told me that if I got that costume, I wouldn’t need air to fill it up. Normally, I’d have brushed it off, maybe even laughed at that, but for some reason that day it really got to me. DH and I both had a talk with him about the kinds of things you don’t say to people and being mindful of others’ feelings. It’s not the first time we’ve had that talk.

debbi 2012/09/14 - 11:27 pm

OMG! Tonight my 7 year old asked me to smile at her and said ‘why aren’t you as pretty as the rest of the family?’ then she said but you are the nicest. she asked me if it was mean to say and i told her she could tell me anything but I wouldn’t say that to any friend as their feelings would get hurt. Of course my feelings were hurt too but I didn’t want her to know since it was her honest opinion. So I really feel sad now.
so I certainly understand your situation!

debbi 2012/09/15 - 7:35 pm

so tonight we went out to dinner and my daughter said something about my tummy. then I said we shouldn’t get desert or your tummy will look like mine. she cried and cried. ;-( sadly i didn’t know i looked so bad to her. now the last couple days have been a rude awakening for me! i am only 130 lbs. 5’4″ I am not obese. sad to me that it bothers her that if she looks like me, she would be so sad. ;-(

Rosalyn 2013/03/01 - 9:06 am

Just put a comment above— won’t take it confuse

Christine 2013/04/29 - 2:38 pm

My 7 year old daughter in the last few months keeps telling me that “I need to exercise to get skinny”, or “you are too fat to do push ups”, “Don’t you want to get skinny mommy”? One night recently we were picking avatars for the xbox and she said “You have to make yours fatter mommy”…my husband says she is just saying what she sees. I’m overweight to which my husband says is ‘abnormal’. I’m 5 1 and weigh 135 lbs. I could lose 20 lbs for sure, but it is so hurtful to have my child and husband making comments on a regular basis. Although it should motivate me, it simply hurts me and pushes me further into a depressed state about myself. I don’t eat unhealthy, but I do have a job where I sit all day…and I do not work out. This I realize, I need to do and my biggest struggle is time for myself as I am in the sandwich generation with a parent in a nursing home and 2 small kids + I work full time. It hurts me when she keeps saying those things to me as I think she is embarrassed by me. Note I live in a trendy neighbourhood where ‘yummy mummies’ seem to be the norm. I’m the chubby mummy! As others have commented before me, these comments always hurt but some days these comments hurt more than others and do bring me to tears.

Deborah Cruz 2013/04/29 - 3:40 pm

Oh, my friend. MY youngest does the same thing but if she sees that I get hurt by it she retracts her statements. I know it shouldn’t hurt an d she doesn’t mean it as a dig, but it does hurt my feelings, some days worse than others. Others I just remind myself that she is only 5. I’m sure no matter what weight you are, your child still thinks you every bit of amazing. And 135, doesn’t sound heavy to me at all.

Sandy 2013/10/23 - 4:13 pm

I just found this when searching for “My daughter thinks I’m ugly,” I feel a bit better after reading about others with the same problem. My daughter just went on a field trip with her first grade class, I wasn’t able to chaperon this time. When I asked her, whose mommy or daddy was the chaperon, she said “__’s mom, she is beautiful and doesn’t have red spots like you.” I have adult acne, it isn’t bad but it bothers my daughter as she brings it up all the time. It made me cry, I needed comfort and I found this article. Thank you.

Deborah Cruz 2013/10/23 - 8:01 pm

I’m so glad the article let you know that you are not alone. I am sure that your daughter loves you more than anyone else in the world. And if it came down to it, you are the most beautiful woman in the world to her.

Giselle Camilleri 2017/12/04 - 6:11 pm

Sandy, same her.i googled same thing as you.i wanted to find someone out there sharing same comments from their kids.Oh
Man it hurts when your own kid whom you love tenderly , spits out the truth …I think it hurts because we are aware of our fleas but we know that we can’t change our physical appearance ( as for me can’t remove wrinkles or change shape of nose or eyebrows)..
I feel I m not alone after having read your comments.
All I can say is that we have to be strong and accept ourselves the way we are or if we can make small changes then …let’s do it.kids love to see their mums attractive

Tasha 2014/07/03 - 2:43 am

My 5 year little girl told me that her brain tells her that im ugly and she keeps trying to tell it no. I told her thats ok if thats how you really feel then its ok.. Trying to teach honesty but deep inside my heart hearts so bad because a few years back she use to look at magazine models and say mommy.. I am getting older but dangg! ;( lok

Tasha 2014/07/03 - 2:46 am

Hurts sorry for the typos!! Typing too fast out of hurt does it lol it only happened last nightttt ;(

shandi 2014/08/15 - 2:16 pm

My 11 year old has recently started insulting me and calling it “jokes”. She said, “Wow did you see that fat lady? She’s really fat… I mean she’s fatter than my Mom.” It hurt. It really hurt. I didn’t realize she saw me that way. I wear a size 12 so I guess I’m bigger than I should be. I was just hoping that my daughter saw me different than everyone else. So, it gave me the opportunity to explain the difference between being honest and being cruel. And calling someone fat is never a funny joke. I just suddenly have this sinking feeling that I’m actually an embarrassment to her.

Deborah Cruz 2016/10/04 - 2:29 pm

Oh no, I am so sorry. You know anyone else in the world could call me a dog face and I wouldn’t give a flying flip but you are right, the thought that someone that I adore so completely could not think that I am the most amazing thing in the word seems to streamline break my heart. If it helps any, I think at 11 she is testing her limits. She loves you unconditionally and I’m sure that one day she will realize how truly amazing you are. Hugs mama!

Natalie Champmin 2016/03/07 - 8:35 am

I was just out of my morning shower and was covering my tummy with bio oil when my daughter decided to tell me that she hates my tummy its disgusting. She is 3 and a bit.

Denisa Havasi 2016/10/04 - 2:05 pm

Haha….I just googled kids think I’m ugly and the article came up…lately my kids told me that I’m a little bit fat and a little ugly. Although I did laugh and tried to look not bothered, it did hurt me a lot…since then it made me very self conscious and I’m even scared to eat a treat in front of them as I feel guilty….I do not want to be looked at as an ugly mother…Strangely I also thought that kids would think you are the most beautiful since you are their mother, and I’m sure I never thought of my mom as ugly…

apparantly ugly 2017/06/18 - 5:15 am

My grandaughter thinks I’m ugly and feels sorry for me because I look ugly. I’m only forty, and was actually shocked to find out she thinks I’m ugly. She talks about it often and even when she doesn’t say it with words, I see the look of pity in her eyes when she looks at me. She has even tried to make me look pretty, but was unsatisfied with the results. I tell her I like the way God made me and that I think I’m pretty, but she doesn’t have to think the same. It really hurts my feelings, but I don’t tell her that. I remember, as a child, staring at my mother and grandmother and thinking how beautiful they were. Honestly, I think something is wrong with this generation that they don’t see beauty when they look at the ones they love. I don’t know what’s causing it. My grandaughter doesnt watch Disney and she is taught that there are many types of beauty. The funny thing is, she points out how beautiful strangers are sometimes, and they are far from what society says is beautiful. I’m not quite sure why she sees beauty in everyone else, but not me. Even though it hurts me, I actually feel more sorry for her because if she can’t find beauty in someone she loves, then she isn’t letting love guide her. By the way, from looking at all the pictures attached to the comments and article, well, all of you are beautiful. You really are!

Robin 2018/03/12 - 1:23 am

Wow. I too googled my child said I was ugly. I am so thankful for all of these comments. It has to be something with the generation. I am a single mom. Their dad would make me feel really insecure and awful but even he never said anything bad about my looks. But like all of you it isn’t even that I believe her but I just can’t believe she thinks these thoughts and says then. I never ever thought my mom was ugly. Even now I see old pics of my mom as a kid. She wasn’t very attractive I guess but I don’t really think or see that….I really don’t think anyone is ugly so I just don’t get why a kid would think it or say it or feel it. It hurts me to think of someone that way…I’d feel guilty thinking it. I don’t get their thought process at all.

Mine have talked about my squishy tummy…I have yellow feet…wrinkles…bad hair ….u name it.

Thank goodness for all of you …and I sure hope we can improve the empathy and compassion in these kids.

Nina 2017/07/03 - 1:04 pm

I too had a conversation with my 8 year old that somehow left me devastated.
Why in the world would I give this little girl so much power. I could feel her staring at me yesterday. She was not being particularly loving. I asked her what was wrong. I told her she could tell me anything and we could talk it out. By this time she was crying and saying she really needed to tell me how she was feeling. She precedes to tell me that my whole body was fat and that she wished she had me as her mom but in a different form. My eyebrows were too thin, my eyes and nose were too big and my hair was not soft and pretty. Oh, and my stomach, legs and butt were huge. She wished I looked like her friend’s mom. She is bawling at this point apologizing for saying hurtful things but she feels so much better because she is being “honest”. I was speechless. She said those thoughts go through her head so often that it felt good to tell me. Seriously!!! It is like she affirmed every insecurity I have felt but never said. I do Crossfit, eat Paleo and very rarely indulge. Somehow I am fit over skinny but not fat. I had two babies in my 40s so the war wounds after 3 c-sections are visible. I would like to say who cares. Obviously me! I know, my issue…. how did I raise such a superficial child. I pride myself in being genuine and authentic and would share just about anything with a stranger. I have failed somewhere. I hope and pray I can help her change that mindset. I will love her where she is and work on the obvious but I won’t lie. I feel betrayed. Girls are supposed to think their mommy is beautiful….maybe my boys will feel differently. If not, maybe by then I won’t care.

Heatbroken 2017/12/14 - 11:53 pm

You post struck a cord with me. I have been struggling with my 7 year old daughter making comments on a regular about my weight. I am very overweight. It is something I struggled with my whole life. And to have myh daughter repeatedly say things to me is tearing me apart. She has has flat out told me maybe she would love me more if I was skinny. She has asked my husband why he would marry someone like me, and why can’t she have a skinny mom. I am heartbroken. How could my own daughter keep doing it over and oiver again? She knows I am hurt. She has been told to stop. She has been removed from family situations and told she cannot return until she can be kind. And she won’t stop. I have twin boys…they are 2.5 yrs old. And I am started to become terrified they too will look at me like this.

Momma K 2017/07/24 - 11:07 am

I was actually just told by my 15yr old boy that I was ugly while on a float trip yesterday. We were with a bunch on friends (all of whom have either 1 child or none and free to live at the gym as much as they please) I am a mother of 4 and not as active as i would like to be. It really hurt my feelings and im still pretty sour about it. I have raised him with manners but its like the day he turned a teenager that all went out the window. I always thought my mother was the prettiest woman alive and would never think to say any such thing to her. On a side note im sure i will be told all day how beautiful i am because i will remind him that i am too ugly to be in public so all the places he needed a ride to today I will not be going to.. 🙂

Robin 2018/03/12 - 1:27 am

Omggg wow do we all have the most hurtful kids?? WTH. I too told my daughter I don’t think I can take her to school or gymnastics because I think I’m too ugly to be out in public…she will have to get a pretty mom to do it:)

Heart broken 2020/11/27 - 4:26 am

My 5 year old daughter said she wished my body was “straight” (skinny) like the pretty girl who had left. I am overweight, had back surgery 2 years ago so Im lucky to be walking and Ive lost 20 lbs in the last 2 months. She has made many comments about my weight lately but tonight she said it in front of her dad and my uncle. Nobody said anything. Later, her dad told her she hurt my feelings but didnt explain it. Then later he said to me “Im sorry she hurt your feelings but youre acting like I did something” because I was in hurt and quiet which I explained. So he goes to sleep. And now Im up, googling what to do when your 5 year old thinks youre ugly and you dont disagree and apparently, neither does anyone in your family.

Jesse 2017/08/12 - 12:57 am

I too Googled “My kid thinks I’m ugly,” and found this site. It really is a relief. My daughter is adopted from China, and truly is a sweet kid. But the other day she said “Mommy, I wish you were Chinese too, so you could be pretty.” Now, I am torn between being proud that she sees her ‘differences’ as beautiful, and hurt because I will never look like her — and never be as “pretty” in her eyes as her birth mother might have been. I didn’t say anything, but she is pretty observant, and knew that my feelings were hurt — and she apologized, etc… Which made me feel even a little worse — she was just thinking out loud, not trying to be mean. But in my mind, I worry that she is fantasizing of a prettier, more “alike” Mommy.

Ily 2017/12/02 - 12:05 am

Tonight my daughter of 7 years old told me i am ugly, I have a fat face and she wish i could have blue eyes , blond haur and pale skin…… i felt devastated . I am latina , of course brown eye and brown skin ….. I am spechless … I Feel truly sad

Toots 2019/09/05 - 8:57 am

I bet you are beautiful – my 7 year old daughter said similar to me but opposite – she wishes I had brown hair/skin/eyes like her and daddy and thinks my pale skin blonde hair and blue eyes (and the fact that I wear glasses) is really ugly. It really hurts doesn’t it? I always thought my mum was beautiful and it’s painful to think my daughter doesn’t think the same. Hopefully it’s just an age thing. According to her I need to dye my hair and go on a sunbed!

Toots 2023/09/04 - 8:25 am

Maybe it wasn’t just an age thing – here I am googling again 4 years later. This time she tried to be a bit more tactful about it (failed miserably) and asked her dad in front of me what his last girlfriend before me was. Described her as small and blonde and she said ‘like Kelly from Superstore?” I knew where it was going so was about to leave the room and she said “she sounds pretty, why did you go out with mum next? Mum has a different face to everyone else.”
I know I should just brush it off but wow it hurts

She’s obsessed with these perfect looking You Tube influencers and once told me she was embarrassed by me picking her up from school as I wasn’t pretty like the other mums. Like another mum commented she got really upset telling when telling me this and said it made her feel better afterwards. My elder 2 children would never say things like that – I just don’t understand how she can say such hurtful stuff as she’s getting older now. And she would NEVER say it one of her friends thankfully.

Wanessa 2023/12/21 - 6:20 pm

I just google “my kid tells me I am ugly” and here I am. Latina, living in Scandinavia, my daughter is half Norwegian and very pretty. Most of the moms are stunning blond with blue eyes, while I am short, bad shape, scalp problems, crocked nose, saggy boobs and tummy. My 6 years old have said it many times how she wished for a better looking mom,a blond one and wonder if he father (whom I divorced 6 years ago), thought it was ok to marry me even though I am latina. She says I don’t fit in this country, that I don’t understand how “we work” and that I should go baxk to my homecountry. I’ve been here for 17 years and I am turning 43 soon, so I’ve spend most of my adult life here. I don’t know what to make of it. I am raising her to be honest and say what she thinks and my sisters tell me I should tell her how I feel when she tells me those things. But I don’t want her to not be able to be open with me about other things. Iused ro be very beautiful and was even cover girl for a magazine. But years of psychological abuse, solo motherhood and dealing with childhood traumas, all on top of having a bad private financial situation, how could I take care of myself? I agree about the disney princesses and I think she perceives that I am “different”. She even says that I am too “weird looking” and look like a man. Once she ” I wish I could have my friend’s mom, she is so beautiful and long, blond hair. I wonder if we would like to swap”. Oh my, I cried for hours and it still hurts me every time she says something like that. I think I need to qork on my childhood traumas and feel more confident and accept and love myself. I am afraid our children sense our low self steem and low self worth. I am glad I am not alone. But it still hurts like hell.

Lia 2017/12/29 - 12:06 am

My daughter just told me that she doesn’t like my eye color. I’m crushed. I used to get tons of compliments on my hazel eyes. I envy blue eyes but I always thought they were still pretty. I’m the only non-blue-eyed person in our family. My mother had blue eyes. I always thought she liked mine but when my daughter was born she told me how happy she was that my daughter turned out to have blue eyes, and how disappointed she was when mine turned hazel. My father, who had brown eyes, said the same thing when my daughter was born. I handled it poorly when my daughter said that she didn’t like my eye color. My mother died two months ago and I’m a wreck. I started crying and told her it hurt and walked away because I knew I was going to bawl in the next room.

Why Worrying About Being Skinny is Stupid - The TRUTH About Motherhood 2018/02/12 - 5:19 pm

[…] alert: People know their shortcomings. You never have to tell them. Keep it to yourself. Telling an ugly person they’re ugly doesn’t help them not be ugly, it only makes them feel bad a… which they were already completely aware of…same goes for being rich, popular, thin and […]

Gen Tor 2018/05/23 - 9:32 am

Wow. Thank you for this article. It was my wedding anniversary yesterday and my 5 year old son went into a tirade about “My mom is not cute! How could she be cute?” He was arguing with my husband about it. It just broke my heart. We’ve had some very stressful family situations (jobs, our ministry is struggling, and trying to balance everything) so it was just another blow that really sent the tears. I didn’t cry in front of him. My husband said, “Do you realize you’re calling your mom ugly?” His eyes got wide and then he agreed that’s what he meant. It just breaks my heart because I used to watch my mom (a waitress when I was little) and dream of being just like her, admiring her muscled calves, and thinking she was beautiful. How is it that our children look on us with such disdain? I would remote (full-time) so I can homeschool my son. I work from 7:30am-7:30pm to fit it all in…then I clean house and try to serve supper and try to spend time playing with the kids. I’m worn out, I’m frustrated, and now he thinks that this person who sacrifices so much for him is ugly? I love him dearly so I didn’t let on much but I just hurt.

Deborah Cruz 2018/05/23 - 2:19 pm

Sweet mama, just remember he is 5. Pardon my French but he doesn’t know sh*t about real beauty. Also, kids sometimes say things to be funny not realizing the full weight of their words. I am sure he does not think you are ugly. I am sure you are the most beautiful person in the world to him. Just think of who he reaches for in the night when he is afraid, who he cries for when he is hurt, who is his person who he knows will always love and care for him. YOU! He knows that. He loves you. Kids are just jerky sometimes.

I am sure that he sees your great, big beautiful heart and it is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He loves you. He’s just being a kid and pushing his boundaries. Go away for a holiday for a couple days and see how he begs you to come home with a new appreciation. Sometimes its hard to be the bigger person. I know, obviously, I have been there. But getting some distance from it, I know my to my daughters I am the most amazing person in their lives. I know because at 11 and 13, they now appreciate it. They tell me I am beautiful and believe me when I tell you on most days I am not. I’m not ugly but I’m also not 20 anymore. I’ve been raising babies for 13 years and I’ve sacrificed some things to give them what they need. They always look great. I look weathered 🙂 But I feel beautiful because they believe I am. And so are you! Hugs, mama! Hang in there. One day, your little guy will open his eyes and see just how gorgeous you are.

Joy 2018/09/01 - 11:33 pm

I have a 9 year old son who just told me he doesn’t want me to cut my hair because it makes me look ugly. I told him that he looks like me, so what does that say about him. His response, “Well I guess I’m ugly.” I told him that was the one of the most hurtful things you could ever say to a mother and I just walked away. He apologized later after his other Mom told him too. It seemed genuine, but I’m so very hurt. Is it bad that I’m glad that he is crying because I want him to feel some of the emotional pain that I feel?

Susan 2018/10/04 - 11:53 pm

I’m glad I’m not the only one. I spend hours a day with my daughter whom I Homeschool. She’s an amazing child. Sweet and kind. So I was surprised when she told me that she felt I wasn’t beautiful. At that age I thought my mom was beautiful and I never stopped thinking that. I feel ugly and sad. The good thing is my husband reminds me I am beautiful and my 9 year old son says it without hesitation and without prompting. It makes me so sad and I feel a little distant from my daughter even though I don’t want that. I’m just so hurt. She saw the most beautiful picture of me I had and only said she thought my hair should be different. I’m devastated.

Maria 2019/10/15 - 11:11 pm

Ugh, I know how you feel. It’s been a couple of times that I’ve heard my 7 year old daughter muttering “you’re so ugly “ and we weren’t even fighting. It was all said without conflict or low blood sugar. One day she was crying and when I asked her why, she said “because I keep thinking that you’re ugly and I don’t want to feel like that about you”. wow. For some reason it never bothered me until today. After spending a lovely evening and getting ready to decorate the house for Halloween (a very fun and happy memory for any kid, right?.) she said to me, “I’m going to keep saying to myself that you are beautiful, even though my brain keeps calling you ugly, because I love you “ I asked her, do you think I’m ugly? She said no, because I love you. I asked her again, would you think I’m ugly if you didn’t love me? She said YES. It felt like a kick in the face…with spiked boots. Not proud to admit that I cried. And it still hurts. Brings me back to all those moments when I heard my parents discussing how “unfortunate-looking I was”. That’s why I got involved with assholes that preyed on my insecurity. I was fortunate to marry a sweet man and build a family. Nothing will change, I’ll keep being a mom, but this is a fracture in my heart for sure.

Deborah Cruz 2019/10/22 - 5:55 am

Just remember that she is only 7. Yes, it hurts but don’t put too much stock in what a 7-year-old is saying. They are fickle. But instead, take solace knowing that she loves you more than anything else. I am so sorry that your parents ever said anything so unfortunate. You’ve obviously had this hurt for awhile. Just keep remembering, your daughter loves you and she sees the beauty in you and who gives a flying f*ck what anyone else thinks.

Wanessa 2023/12/21 - 6:32 pm

@Maria I also heard from my both parents how ugly I was. They would point out every single thing rhey thought was ugly about me. Those rhings still makes me very insecure and keeps me self loathing. The way my parents treated me sat premises for extended family members and even neighbours to scapegoat me and make remarks about my apparence. Even though I was taking part in beauty contests and winning them. The thing is, I believe I’ve accepted the role of the ugly scapegoat and it is finally showing. We go our lifetime ith these wounds and they seem to literally eat us from inside out. They are ugly! These wounds are ugly as hell. We should get rid of them!

Steph 2019/10/24 - 6:30 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been searching the Internet for something like it, because I believe that I am not alone. I know that there have to be other moms like us. I am going through a divorce. The kids recently saw one of the women that my husband has been seeing behind my back, And three out of five of my children told me that she was prettier than me. I was shocked. I honestly thought I was way prettier than her, hands down. My daughters tell me all the time that they do not want to look like me when they grow up. And the truth is, I remember thinking that about my own mother.

Rini 2020/01/08 - 11:04 am

My 3 year old just told me I was gross. I aske why, he said, “your tummy is yucky, and your glasses.”
I kept asking him why thoses things were gross and yucky. Being a 3 hear old maybe he dosent have the words to explain himself or maybe he could see the hurt in myt eyes, but he could give any real reasons.
I know i’m oit of shape and i dont have any real fashion that I focus on bit I figured he wouldnt care anout any of that. It was such an u expected thing. He just blurted this out.
Im trying not to show how badly his words crushed me.
Im in the same boat as the author, and not really sire where to go from here.

Leslie 2020/04/20 - 5:10 pm

I can totally relate. My 3.5 yr old asked me how come I got fat but also why I had enlarged pores and moles. Then she said “I sure hope I don’t get those they are ugly”. It hurt but also maybe true. It just reminds me so much of her dad and his criticism he very much acted like a 3 year old. Sigh!

Mommyof2 2020/05/31 - 4:45 am

This just happened to me a few days ago. My 4 year old said some pretty hurtful things. It’ hurt right down to my core. I am of darker skin that she is and she got tanned from being out doors. She told me she didn’t want to be dark like me. Then she said, mommy your are pretty in the inside but not so much on the outside. The next couple of days she has pointed out so many of my flaws. From my tummy, dark spots on face, my hair and I almost feel like I disgust her. I’m sobbing like a little baby but I just don’t know how to deal with it. I really don’t. Just like you I always thought she would feel the same way about me. She heard me crying in my bedroom and I think she knew why. she came over and gave me a kiss and said ” mommy I still love you” But I honestly I am embarrassed with myself. I let myself go for her and my baby boy. I am consumed with all their needs that I hardly have a chance to even look at myself in the mirror.

Me 2020/07/08 - 2:49 am

My daughter just called me ugly today, prompting my search to see if I wasn’t the only one. I was similar in your theory growing up and always thought my mom was beautiful on many levels not just appearance. To hear my daughter tell me today that I was ugly and should try make up tore me apart. I’ve always had self esteem issues and was severely bullied all of my childhood for my apperance and now to have someone I love unconditionally say that has had my in tears all night. I’m sorry you experienced this and hope you have a follow-up as to how you worked through it.

Another Ugly Mum 2020/08/03 - 6:29 am

Ugh it hurts….. like many here I too googled to see if others had been told this and how they felt/reacted. It hurts so damn much. My 9 year old son not only doesn’t think I look pretty now, but also doesn’t think I looked pretty when I was younger and all dressed up in a ball gown for my graduation. I’m a single mum and have had insecurities ever since my ex husband cheated on me and to think that not even my own child thinks I’m pretty hurts. I thought all kids thought their mum was beautiful, I did with my mum. I feel bad for being so upset about it, my son cried because he could tell he hurt my feelings but when I tried to cuddle and console him and tell him I still love him just as much as I always have, he unintentionally made it worse by adding “I didn’t want to lie to you by saying you were pretty” OUCH way to make it even worse.

Deborah Cruz 2020/09/15 - 12:49 am

You are entitled to your feelings. Just because we are moms doesn’t mean that we are immune to our children’s words. Don’t get angry with him but I would certainly use this as a teachable moment to teach him that sometimes there are better ways to say something or better yet not even say it because what was there to be gained? Plus, he’s a 9-year-old boy, what do they know about beauty? You know, in your heart, your son thinks you are the most beautiful human on the planet. You gave birth to him. Kids don’t always know how to verbalize their emotions. And I know it hurts like a son of a bitch when they say these things but please don’t take it personally or hang on to it. Sometimes we just have to look past it and forgive. Just remember you are a badass and you are beautiful inside and out. Sending hugs.

Kristen 2020/08/31 - 1:45 pm

My 8 year old daughter just told me I’m ugly because I’m fat. It wasn’t out of anger, just a passing factual comment in her mind. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. It’s a sore spot for me. I know other people think this about me, but hearing it from my own daughter literally broke my heart. I can’t stop crying. I’m somewhat relieved to see that it isn’t just my kid and seems to be a common theme among this age group. I’m just completely shattered and don’t know what to think or say or do right now.

Deborah Cruz 2020/09/15 - 12:45 am

Aww sweetie. I know this is easier said than done and I know our children’s words cut but remember they love you, as tactless as they are. Know that in her heart you are beautiful because you are her mom, the most important person to her. Kids just don’t think or consider how their words can hurt us. You have every right to cry but don’t hang on to this. Let it go. My daughter is now 15 and she is my #1 fan and tells me often that I am beautiful to her, it’s because now, she can see the beauty in a person within and without. Hey, I like my face and my body is doing its job. I’m not perfect but I can appreciate myself and I think the kids can see that confidence. Just keep loving yourself and she will see that beauty and confidence shine through. HUGS

Nicole 2020/11/16 - 4:17 pm

My 15 year old daughter just told me I wasn’t attractive when I asked her. It hurts like crazy! Especially after being rejected by my husband after 19 years and ten children together. I’m not mad at her. How can I be since I asked? But how do you forget it when it hurts so much and you already feel so ugly?

Deborah Cruz 2020/11/16 - 4:45 pm

I am so sorry. I think sometimes our kids forget that we are actually humans with feelings, wants and needs. They see us as super human but fail to realize their words hurt the most. I’m sure that your girl thinks you are the best mom in the world. Maybe she was just having a bad day or taking the piss. Maybe she didn’t realize how much her words would hurt you. Not to dwell on it but maybe once you’ve been able to move through the hurt let her know that her words have weight to you and it hurt your feelings. Yes, you asked but she needs to learn to be gentle with her words in general. There is no need to deliberately hurt someone when you can deliver the same message in a kinder, gentler way. That’s a life teachable moment.

All that being said, I’m sure it hurt even more so because of the fact of what you are going through with your husband. Being the mom of 10, you truly are a superwoman, I can only imagine how tired and overwhelmed you must feel at times. I only have 2 but being a mom, even though it is magical and wonderful, it is exhausting and taxing. We’re still women and we need to take care of ourselves.

Don’t take your daughter’s words to heart. You know that she loves you and to her, you are the most amazing person to walk the earth. Teens are not the best orators and at that age they are very unaware of other people and other people’s feelings. Sending you love and hugs. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH!

Heart broken 2020/11/27 - 4:28 am

My 5 year old daughter said she wished my body was “straight” (skinny) like the pretty girl who had left. I am overweight, had back surgery 2 years ago so Im lucky to be walking and Ive lost 20 lbs in the last 2 months. She has made many comments about my weight lately but tonight she said it in front of her dad and my uncle. Nobody said anything. Later, her dad told her she hurt my feelings but didnt explain it. Then later he said to me “Im sorry she hurt your feelings but youre acting like I did something” because I was in hurt and quiet which I explained. So he goes to sleep. And now Im up, googling what to do when your 5 year old thinks youre ugly and you dont disagree and apparently, neither does anyone in your family.

Stacey 2021/03/04 - 5:16 am

My 7 year old just told me she thinks I’m ugly and I’m now sat in my bedroom crying. I used to slim and confident… then I had her and her sister and now I battle with my weight and have limited time to beautify myself but that was just a punch to the gut.
I think we all want our children to look up to us and be proud but I just feel devastated now.

shy 2021/05/10 - 6:31 pm

after buying a dress for the first time in years ( I’m 27) I felt confident to buy it and wear It well what a fucking mistake to ask a 5 year old how it looks she said it looked like my pregnant dress and sat me down to tell me it’s really what the inside that counts and I’m pretty on the inside and well idk what I was thinking when I asked her if mommy was ugly on the outside and she didn’t wanna tell the truth I don’t blame her but my heart is shattered my daughter thinks I’m ugly I mean .. she isn’t wrong only telling the truth . Even with the abuse my mom put me thru I still always that she was the prettiest.curently can’t handle this.

Val 2021/07/31 - 6:53 am

Hi, I’m 28. My daughter told me I’m ugly and that her dad should get a pretty gf. And we can be friends, an ugly gf (me) and a pretty one. I feel you. I feel so shattered, so ugly. She said it out of the blue….. how does one recover? 🙁

Danielle 2021/07/21 - 2:02 pm

I feel foolish for searching my daughter thinks I’m ugly because I feel like I should take it like a grain of salt but having already a low self image it hurts me. My 6 year old has made lots of “joking” like comments about how she doesn’t want to look like me when she grows up, that I am not fancy enough, that I am to big etc. One day at the swimming pool we were laughing and playing and I said let’s pretend we are dolphins, and she replied quickly no mom you can’t be a dolphin you are a beached whale, not to mention she said it loud enough that other people surely heard it. Lately she makes digs about me being ugly and I try not to let it hurt me but it does. I am her mama, I do everything for her, I am loving, and nurturing and I tell her everyday she’s beautiful and smart and i thought even for that she might find me beautiful. The other night she called me ugly again and my husband sat down with her and told her that it’s hurtful to say that and she apologized but two days later she is saying it again, sometimes she says she doesn’t mean it but I feel like she says it often enough she must think it. Today when I told her it’s not nice to say she said okay how about if I don’t say anything, meaning I won’t say your ugly but I certainly won’t say your not and I told her if that’s how she feels than okay and she just walked away. I feel foolish for being hurt but I look in the mirror and feel fat and ugly everyday, I thought the one person who would always love me the way I am is my child.

Val 2021/07/31 - 6:49 am

My daughter (5) just told me that I’m ugly. She said her dad should get a pretty girlfriend. But not to worry that he can still keep me and have a ugly gf (me) and a pretty one at the same time and we can be friends. I CRIED

Irini 2022/09/03 - 5:36 pm

My son started to say that i have an ugly face around 3,6 yr and keeps telling me that from time to time, now he’s 4,4 yr, the most recent was tonight while i was reading to him a story. He just slapped my hand and told me he wants to hurt my face cause its ugly (it’s almost the truth but i didn’t expect my child to say it, especially that before all this to start he was telling me that i was pretty and beautiful and nice). My heart is in pieces for almost a year now and don’t know how to cure it.

Kate 2022/02/06 - 9:27 am

Thank you for this! My 7 yr old son who truly is the sweetest and kindest little boy crushed me last night. We were writing in this Mom and Me journal we have and there’s a page that says write down a ? For your Mom and Son. He wrote have you ever thought I was so bad you wanted someone else’s kid, obviously my answer was absolutely NOT and that’s the truth, he really is the best. My ? Was have you ever wished for another Mom? He answered NO , that was just a dumb question Mom but when I was little I didn’t think you were pretty because of your skin, I don’t feel that way now though. This boy tells me all the time how beautiful and young I look and then that bombshell. I know he feels bad about
saying it but not as bad as I do

Kaya 2022/08/22 - 8:47 pm

My 9 year old son told his therapist he wish I dressed up and wore make up like I did when he was little. He was my 1st . I now have 5 kids , youngest being 9 months. The last thing I’m thinking about is dressing up and putting on makeup. I don’t want my son to be embarrassed that his mom looks raggedy so ill try for him, but that shit hurt to hear his therapist say

Sasha 2022/10/20 - 6:29 am

So today I got a comment from my 7-year old daughter that I am ugly. It wasn’t the first time and so it hit me real hard and doubted myself. So I Google “My 7 year old daughter thinks I am ugly” and saw this blog.

MrsBard 2023/05/13 - 1:10 am

Felt this right in the feels and completely understand. My 6 year old has told me multiple times now that he doesn’t think I’m pretty. He doesn’t mean it in a mean way. He always finishes it with “but your really kind” or “but you’re super cool”. Which is nice.. I guess? I know looks aren’t everything but man does it hurt. Especially when he is constantly saying how handsome his dad/my husband is. I know I’m not perfect but I AM pretty. I shouldn’t let his opinion shatter my self image. But I always thought my mom was the most beautiful mom in the world. I thought all kids were suppose to think that 🙁

Deborah Cruz 2023/05/13 - 1:34 pm

I know the feeling and you are not alone. I believe all of us moms feel this way. Its probably because our children are our most important people so to hear that they don’t find us beautiful its hurtful, even when they don’t mean it.You are beautiful and believe me, when your son is a little bit older he will realize how beautiful you are inside and out. Don’t let him break your self image. He doesn’t mean it and you are the most important person to him. Kids just don’t always have a lot of common sense.Hugs, mama!

Little bit ugly mom 2023/05/23 - 7:25 am

My 7 year old daughter told me last night that I was a little ugly. Ouch. When she saw that my feelings got hurt she felt bad, started crying and said she wanted to take it back. I can’tbe mad at her for being honest but at the same time now I’m feeling like damn, if my own child thinks that then what do other people think? Sucks because I just got my self esteem back from a toxic relationship then the ego took a big blow last night. Ugh.

Crystal 2023/05/24 - 8:52 pm

Yes, my teenager just said to me, “that guy wasn’t flirting, you’re not that pretty.” 14 years old and it is the truth. I’m not that pretty, but dang I feel deflated. Thank you for writing this! It helps.

Leisha 2024/03/29 - 5:50 pm

Ima glad I came across this article and the comment. My son was so excited for me to attend his schools field day event today. It took a lot for me to attend considering me being in pain with a migraine. I was there with him and his friend for two hours until they went to lunch. Many of the children went to lunch with their kids but he told me not to come. He then asked me to come get him when it was time to leave. I was shocked and asked him if I embarrassed. He told me his friends said I looked like a beaver and he was embarrassed. I guess what hurt the most was the switch up from being so excited to see me to reluctant. I had also got picked on as a kid because of my overbite. At that moment I felt like I failed him and I was hurt because he did not defend me. I have not interacted much with him because of how hurt I am. My son embarrasses me too at times but I never let anyone talk about him. I guess it’s a kid thing but is it a bad sign?


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