Every mother wants her child to have a healthy attitude toward food and I’m no different. When my daughter asks why she must eat her corn (by the way, how can you not like corn?), I remind her that the doctor said she needs to eat vegetables every day. I say veggies will help her grow big and strong.
As someone who pre-baby only ate vegetables if they were toppings on a pizza, I’m doing the best I can. I try to smile when I come face-to-face with my old nemesis, broccoli, so my daughter won’t pick up on my aversion. By some strange twist of fate, she likes the green, mini trees. She squealed and jumped for joy last spring when we cut some from the garden for lunch. I was so proud of her that I actually got out my camera to document her chowing down. You see, I tell myself that feeding my offspring nutritious meals is what “good mothers” do.
My self-proclaimed status as either a good or bad mother vacillates throughout the day. Put blueberries on homemade waffles, good. Lose patience when daughter asks repeatedly, “Do I have to eat all of my salad?”, bad. This constant rise and fall from greatness takes such an emotional toll! To counteract it, I’ve developed the habit of seeking comfort through food.
Naptime is when I claim my reward. My daughter will do absolutely anything, though, to ensure that she doesn’t give in to sleep. She sings, chants, and talks to her stuffed animals in her upstairs bedroom while I sit down below in the living room, listening.
Ironically, naptime isn’t very relaxing. Gritting my teeth, I flip on the TV and reach for the Oreos. Then I feel guilty. Guilty because I keep the cookies hidden in the pantry. Guilty because I don’t want my daughter to know we have Oreos. Guilty because I know I won’t do anything to burn off these extra calories.
Food and guilt go hand-in-hand for me. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and I come from a family with weight issues. Therefore, I started young trying to figure out tricks to stay thin. Here are some of my rules: 1) Don’t eat anything unless you absolutely love it. 2) Stop eating when you’re full. 3) Don’t bother eating a slice of chocolate cake unless it’s homemade. (OK. That’s basically re-stating rule number one. I can’t think of anything else.) Although these rules work pretty well if you follow them, none of them assuage my massive Oreo cravings.
Everyone knows the best way to compensate for consuming too many calories is to exercise. A few years ago my husband and I got on a big fitness kick. We worked out six, sometimes seven, days a week. Even though I kept indulging myself, I lost weight and it was a rush.
Suddenly my back started hurting. When, on the advice of a chiropractor, I stopped my favorite activity, I gained one pound every month for three months. Then I had a series of sinus infections which kept me home from the gym altogether. To make matters worse, I received a prescription whose side effects included weight gain. Now my pants don’t fit, and I’m stuck in the house with a sleep-resistant toddler and my love/hate relationship with those Oreos.
Deep down I know these are excuses. The daily ups and downs of motherhood will continue and I need to figure out a better coping strategy. Oreos should be an occasional treat, not the foundation of my food pyramid.
I look over at my daughter who is sucking on her fingers, even though I keep telling her she’s too old for that. Hmmm. . . Maybe she’s on to something. Sucking fingers equals zero calories.
The bottom line is, if I ever want to fit into my favorite jeans again, I’d better stop complaining and do something. After all, teaching my daughter the value of exercise is something else a “good mother” would do.
So, I’m going to lace up my running shoes right now. . .and go for a walk.
Afterward I’ll reward myself with a cookie. Just one.
It’s a start anyway.
What food would you like to keep hidden in the pantry so you wouldn't have to share?