Kids have a way of internalizing what their parents say in passing, especially when it comes to conversations about dieting and appearance. And Jenna Bush Hager says she was lucky to have a mom who never talked about her weight in front of her daughters while they were growing up.
The topic came up on Thursday when the TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host recalled a recent trip to the grocery store where her two daughters — Mila, 8, and Poppy, 6 saw a picture of her on a magazine cover alongside a headline about her weight.
"Mila yells, 'What are lbs?'" Jenna said. "And I go, 'Oh Mila, nothing."
An employee at the store then read the headline out loud, saying, "It says here, 'Jenna's dropped 30 lbs.'"
Hoda Kotb could understand why Jenna felt uncomfortable in that moment, but she also noticed something else about the story.
"You know what I love? She didn't know what 'lbs' are," she said. "You don't bring it up."
And Jenna said she doesn't intend to talk about weight with her daughters, even though the cat's kind of out of the bag now.
"I will never. And I had a mother that never (did), and I still felt like a chubby child. But it wasn't because of her; I think it was because I was chubby," Jenna said.
Jenna explained that her mom, former first lady Laura Bush, was always conscious of the way she spoke about her appearance in front of her and her twin sister Barbara.
"She never said things like, ‘Gosh, my hair looks terrible. Or, ‘I look terrible.’ Or ‘This dress looks bad on me,'" she told Hoda. "And somebody (once) said, 'Well I can't believe she never had that talk to herself.' And I said, 'No, I'm sure she said it to herself, but she never said it out loud in front of her girls."
Hoda was impressed and happy that Jenna had such a strong role model while growing up.
"By the way, that is huge. That's a big life lesson right there," she said.