June 24, 2012
I’m up late working tonight. By working, I mean I’m sending a couple of emails, blogging a few weddings, and spending waaaaay too much time on social shopping sites and Pinterest. In fact, I just read two Pinterest posts and was prompted to update ye olde mom blog.
The first was posted by my cousin Casey and it’s a recipe for making chocolate mousse in 5 minutes with just chocolate and water. The recipe looks delicious, but you have to whisk stuff and I thought, “enh…whisking…but I want chocolate…” and promptly went to the kitchen to dig around in my stash. I’m dieting (like always) but I have chocolate hidden in random places so I don’t freak out and make an entire pan of cinnamon rolls when a craving strikes. Tonight’s chocolate stash of choice is an imported Cadbury Flake that Kyle bought me a few months ago. (I like to believe that the pockets of air in British candy bars means that there aren’t as many calories.)
While nibbling on my Flake, I popped over to another Pinterest post. This one was from my cool mom friend Ali and it was a link to an article about raising kids to have a good body image. Man…some people really know how to ruin a candy bar buzz.
I read through it because Kyle and I just had a conversation yesterday about Eva’s body image. Kyle had been out and about with the baby and saw someone who looked too thin. He’s a little more sensitive to all that jazz thanks to my problems with bulimia and we wondered out loud if anyone had asked her if she was ok. We have consistently thin friends who are annoyed when people assume they have an eating disorder, but I also have a fair share of friends who do or have done bad things to themselves in order to slim down. (You may know us as overachievers/housewives/brides.)
That conversation evolved into talking about how challenging it will be to keep Eva from falling into my old bad habits. Kyle feels like we’ll be more attune to any issues she may have because of my history, but I know from personal experience that someone can seem absolutely and completely fine and still be nursing a dangerous habit.
It’s scary. So I read this article about keeping your kid’s body image in line and it has a bunch of tips about not using food as a reward and not making derogatory statements about your own body and not putting any pressure on your kid to eat/not eat, be active, or slim down. Theoretically, if you can limit the importance of weight and food, your kid will make the right decisions for themselves and feel good about them.
(me <— not buying it.)
Some of it made sense and I don’t think that this is poor advice, but (A) it would be impossible to go the rest of my life without incorrectly mentioning my food/weight/exercise in front of Eva, (B) I feel like I need to teach Eva which foods are “good” and which are “bad” before I can expect her to make good decisions, and (C) I don’t feel like my parents would have altered my future if food/weight/exercise had never been mentioned in our home.
This is not to say that there weren’t errors made by my parents re: body image in general. My mom has been openly concerned about her weight since I was born and my father (the doctor) is all about the gym and salt content and not dying of diabetes. That being said, it wasn’t my parents who inspired my bulimia. It was (in no particular order) Gwyneth Paltrow, the girl who sat in front of me in 7th grade shop class, and the boy that kissed me in the dollar theater in 1994.
The thought process wasn’t, “my parents feel like I’m fat and therefore bad”, it was “I want to be pretty/famous/attractive/successful so maybe I should try harder to look like X, Y, and Z. Too bad I hate exercise. Oh hey, I have an idea…”
So the question remains: how do we safeguard Eva? Limited TV time? An all-girls school with boxy uniforms? An arranged marriage so she doesn’t feel the need to date?
Daughters. Exhausting. Where my boys at?