Big feet

We’ve got big feet in our family. I’m an 8 and 5′ 6”, my 10 year old is a size 6 and my 8 year old is a size 4. Compared to the rest of us, my 6 year old daughter with size 13 is pretty small.

But not compared to the rest of the world, apparently.

Recently, not one, but two, mums in her class have made a big deal about the size of her feet. And, guess what, that is not acceptable and it’s none of their flipping business!

How can it ever by right to go up to a 6 year old girl, dressed beautifully in her best party outfit, and say ‘Oooh, LG, look at the size of you feet. What size are they? C is only an 8.’ Well, whoop-bloody-doo for C. If I wasn’t polite (like these women aren’t) I may have said ‘Well, actually an 8 is a BABY SIZE. How come she doesn’t fall over?’

On one of these occasions, the mums so fascinated by the enormity of my daughter’s feet got her to measure her feet against their own. Funnily enough, I wasn’t there when that happened, because I wouldn’t have allowed it. It is NOT ON.

So, feeling wound up, I posted an unusually ranty status update on Facebook (the mums in my daughter’s class are not my FB friends, apart from one who I totally trust). And I got some great responses – from mums, non-mums and a teacher. All giving me the same message – this is absolutely no-one else’s business.

One mum said ‘I would never comment on another child’s appearance including their shoe size.’ And she’s right. This is part of her appearance. Part of her body image. Something she could end up feeling bad about.

I had size 13 feet when I started school. I was quite proud of the size of my feet, but my Grandma used to make quite a big deal out of it. I remember her saying, and I think she was only half joking, that I should ‘bind’ my feet to stop them growing. My poor sister’s feet were (and still are) much bigger than mine. And she has had a complex about them all her life. She has squeezed her feet into size 8s and suffered with them all through adulthood.

Whatever we think about other people’s appearance, and we all do it, we shouldn’t say it out loud. Or at the very least we shouldn’t say it to that person, their close friends or family, or within earshot of any of them. Because this is how problems with body image can start.

If I think a child is too fat or too thin, I don’t say it. Very few people do. Well, they don’t say a person is too fat. Being too thin is apparently fair game. Another comment on my Facebook status was from my friend whose daughter is extremely slim – it’s her natural body shape. People think there is no harm in commenting on her size, yet it’s potentially just as damaging to a person’s self-esteem as people saying you are too fat.

Not in this case, but in most cases, we have control over our own and our children’s weights and being too fat or too thin can be harmful to health.

We have no control over the size of our feet. So please just keep your thoughts to yourself!

Big feet, Shoes, Daughter

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Love the shoes! Completely sympathise, how can it be acceptable for these other parents to make any child feel bad like this. The foot-measuring…ngggah! Would they do that with waistlines? We all have large feet in my family and I’m not even very tall. My daughters are, so it made sense for them to have the biggest feet in their class all the way through school. I actually think it’s quite exciting to be at the top of the baby sizes (13) and about to start the grown-up ones. Your lovely daughters should feel that, not the opposite.

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  2. Thanks very much for your comment, much appreciated!
    My point exactly – they wouldn’t do it with waistlines (whether a child was fat or thin), so they shouldn’t do it with feet.
    Good point about feeling proud about moving up into ‘big sizes’ – I hadn’t thought of that! With boys it seems to be a bit of a badge of honour, but not so much with girls that I’m aware of.

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  3. Mia is a size 2-3 and has not yet turned eight. I’m sure she was at least a size 13 when she was six and I never thought of her feet as THAT big! I agree it’s just plain rude!!

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  4. Thanks, Astrid! That’s not that big! People just vary so much and parents should know better than to judge a child who isn’t exactly the same as their own.

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  5. You are so right, no-one should judge a child, particularly for something they have no control over. It’s the same for hair, nose, boobs etc, it happens all the time and it’s so sad, it’s no wonder that we now live a society where people think it’s acceptable/necessary to change something about the way they look. 🙁

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    • It’s a scary world we live in. There’s so much pressure to look ‘perfect’, but if everyone had the ideal feet, boobs, noses, hair etc, the world would be a very boring place. I hope my daughter and her friends are strong enough to rise above such nonsense, but we still have the teenage years to get through..

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  6. Completely sympathise as my son had size 13 in Reception but is now a size 12 at age 15. People used to say what a big boy he must be because of how tall he was but he is actually a summer born so I his size was very misleading! I’m a teacher so I am always conscious of this and hate when other teachers say things like, ‘oh haven’t you grown tall over the holidays’ well yes, they are children! We used to measure children’s shoe size as an activity but I don’t do that either anymore because the children always like to compare and actually they do without things being pointed out to them! Lovely post and good luck with your family, #mondaystumble

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    • Thanks very much! I know it’s human nature to compare, but it can also be unhealthy and, as you say, children don’t need much encouragement to do it! It’s good to hear that you don’t do the feet measuring activity any more.

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  7. Oh, my word! That is just horrible, for any child, big footed, regular footed or small! Who cares, and why give a kid something to worry about. We are so very careful about discussing any body parts with judgment around our girls. It’s hard enough growing up! Ugh… #mondaystumble xo

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    • Thanks very much! We’re careful too, but a lot of people don’t seem to be. And while they would never call a child fat/ overweight, talking about foot size seems to be fair game and a lot of people won’t think twice about calling someone thin/ skinny, even though that can be just as upsetting as being called fat.

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