Happy Hump Day!!! For some reason, weeks have been flying by lately. Maybe it’s because I have had very little downtime. Today has been just as non-stop as you saw on Monday. I would say tomorrow will be a bit more relaxing. Ha! I’m hosting playgroup. I have a feeling having 5+ toddlers in your home won’t help calm things down.
Despite my busy schedule of errands and caring for Makenzie, I did have time to get in a little bit of blog reading today. Certain posts related to children’s relationship with food and body image coupled with a visit to the pediatrician for Makenzie’s checkup really got me thinking about the fine line of parenthood. More specifically the fine line of being a good example in health and not overbearing.
I am very thankful for the fact that my parents fed me healthy meals growing up and never complained about dieting, needing to lose weight, etc. My mom always told me how beautiful I was and I never really felt the need to lose weight, feel down on my body, etc. I learned all of that on my own. I know I have struggled with my relationship with food in the past. I know I have days that are tough on me emotionally solely because of how I perceive my body. And I really want to limit Makenzie’s experience of that. I know she won’t be completely free from it, but it is very important to me to instill values of healthy eating and physical activity for personal wellness versus a “perfect” appearance. I want her to grow up feeling confident, strong, energetic, beautiful, and proud of who she is.
So far in her life, she has only eaten at a fast food restaurant once…and only wanted the fruit. She eats fruits, veggies, tofu, oatmeal, natural products, etc. But I also don’t mind her having some cake at a party, a few pieces of candy from her Easter basket, or Goldfish crackers for a regular snack. I desire to not have any foods off limits to her. I will strive to have the healthiest things that she enjoys available in my home and give her those options for her typical meals, but still expose her to treats in situations that may call for them. The whole balanced, moderate plate philosophy…
Like this past weekend’s birthday party, for example. She ate celery, strawberries, grapes, and crackers. But also had some cake. I mentioned earlier in this post on The Biggest Loser, that I despise the all or nothing mentality. I succumbed to it for years and I will do anything in my power for Makenzie to know that is an unnecessary way of thinking. However, it is such a balance already, even at her ripe age of 18 months.
I want to expose her to healthy foods and always offer them to her. I want her to find wholesome options she likes and promote her to choose those out of pleasure. However, exposing some things to her (like turkey dogs, Gerber raviolis, or a piece of Easter candy) she will naturally enjoy them and then ask for them over and over. I don’t want her to think she “can’t” have specific things. I don’t want her to be older and go to friends’ houses to eat and eat whatever they may have there because she “can’t” have it at our house for the fact we don’t have it in our cupboards.
A lot of these issues are farther off, but the lessons can already be taught now. And the sooner they are ingrained in her, the more likely she will accept them as her own and live by them. I know I will find the balance along the way, day by day. And every day I will be sure to be active with my daughter, set an example by choosing wholesome foods for myself and my family, not acting guilty when I do eat a cookie (or two), and telling her she is beautiful and how much I love her 1000000x every day. We’ll see if that is enough. But the media, fat talk, and negativity from others better watch out. I am a momma that will put up a fight. My daughter deserves that. We all do. Fight the battles to win the war on negative self image, poor food relationships, disordered eating, and the value of skinniness over health. We can do it! As, Holly said to me recently, perhaps we can swing our society to focus more on health than size? Do you think we have what it takes? I think we do. And it starts with each one of us.
Great insights. I think it’s great to expose children to both things so that when they are given candy by someone else, they won’t go nuts on it. They’ve had it, they know what it is. Just as they know what healthy foods are and they won’t be picky with those healthy choices. Not sure if that made sense.
I think it’s great that you’re not limiting your daughter “unhealthy” foods sometimes. It will teach them to love the great foods and to eat the bad foods in moderation. My parents did the same thing and I ended up hating all birthday cake (too sweet) but I do enjoy the occasional chips now and then.
Also, I think not letting her eat bad foods everyday is a great thing! She’ll learn to absolutely love the fruits and veggies and all things good. I think you’re being a great mom!
(But when I was little, I would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to eat goldfish and ketchup. I ate it so much I still can’t eat those things! I hope your daughter won’t do the same as I did!)
What an amazing mama you are!! I hope I am as good of a mom as you one day. Even though the food/body image issues you and I have been through have SUCKED, I think it was meant to be b/c we’ve learned so much from it all and we know what to do to break the cycle. I know I will do everything in my power to make sure my future children are healthy and happy and never go on crazy diets or hate their bodies. This was a wonderful post!!
I love your attitude about health and wellness. When I do become a mama, I hope to instill the same mindset in them that you talk about. AND do a lot of fighting against fat talk and media. You’re right- our children and WE deserve that.
I really appreciate this post! Thanks for writing this, Tina:).
You sound like such an awesome mommy!
I would expect nothing less of you as a mother and a person to teach M all these wonderful things that you try and help teach us everyday–M is a very lucky girl!
Awesome post Tina! Did you know that children’s eating patterns that are carried into adulthood are established by the age of 12!!! Crazy huh? You are an awesome mom and I have no doubt that Makenzie will be a good eater as an adult…like her pretty mama!
i’ve wondered about how i’ll handle all of this with our kiddos (when we have them ) too. i think you’re right though: we HAVE to put up a fight! i think that focusing on health and how foods make kids feel is a good start!
I grew up the same way…healthy cooked family meals as well as having other ‘bad’ foods always available…nothing was off limits. Since my dad (who did the shopping) always had things like sodas, juices, tasty cakes, chips, ice cream, etc in the house, I didn’t phase me. I ate it when I wanted it. But we also had fruits and veggies. So I always at ‘moderately’ I would say.
It was not until I joined a sorority that I became VERY aware of women and how they judge their bodies. It was tough to be around ‘negative body talk’ all of the time.
I don’t have any kids, but worry about this all the time, especially because I was one of those kids that raided the pantry of my friend’s houses because my mom didn’t buy junk. It is such a fine line.