Andrea is a native New Yorker living in NC who has become quite accustomed to wearing flip flops year-round. A licensed clinical social worker, she spends her free time volunteering for a number of organizations supporting women (more specifically, mothers) in need of a reminder that they are not alone.
Andrea blogs at Good Girl Gone Redneck, where she writes from the heart, sharing the ins and outs of parenting, family and relationships. She also devours books and regularly features her honest reviews on her blog.
I headed to the parenting section. I thought to myself that maybe I would find something new to read. The section of parenting books is plentiful. Always. But sometimes can’t find the ones I love. The ones where moms talk about motherhood. Real moms. Real life. Real stories.
Skimming the titles one jumped out at me.
The Heavy. A mother. A daughter. A diet.
Read it again.
Twice. Three times, even.
It was positioned perfectly on the shelf. Title out. Front cover, I mean. No spine for this one.
Ha. Spine is an interesting word, isn’t it? This book, this mom, had, has spine.
I don’t know why I needed to buy it. And yet I do.
I have a 7-year old daughter. I’m a woman who is constantly battling weight-related issues. I’m the woman who was that girl who put herself into a corner, and admittedly sometimes still does. Regardless of what society tells me.
The mom who constantly reminds herself and others to look out for you.
It’s not easy. Ever.
Motherhood isn’t easy, either.
Watching your beautiful little girl grow and worrying, thinking, saying to yourself, will she face all that I did? Will she battle her weight? Hoping and praying, even. Thinking no. No. You won’t let that happen. You won’t, right?
I see her thighs, strong and sturdy. Thighs. Ugh. Thighs that cause friction. Thighs that bother me when I wear skirts without shorts underneath. Will she hate them someday?
She’s tall. I’m not. She’s probably 4′ already. Will she feel too tall? Too big? I always felt too short. No. Not always. There was a point I reached, perhaps when my weight passed me by? … I reached it and wished I had a few inches. They’d make it all better – wouldn’t they?
Feet. Mine are huge. They are. You don’t notice because I’m 5′ 2-1/2″ and you can’t tell I’ve worn a size 10 shoe for much of my life. She’s already passed so many kids her own age when it comes to shoe-size. I shouldn’t care, but I remember the days of wearing the same size shoe as my mom for like a minute. It was fun. I don’t want her to get to my size, but she might. She could. It’s rough when your shoes are the one article of “clothing” you’re comfortable shopping for and you can’t find stylish stuff because your feet are big, too.
My mom helped me through that. She bought me gorgeous boots every year. I saved them all up. Year after year. Red suede. Colorful suede. Browns. Blacks. With fringe and without.
I also have sneakers in every color. Now. As an adult. I’ve held onto so many pairs. From my 20s. TWENTIES! I’m FORTY-TWO, y’all.
I rarely wear them, but I kept them. I keep them. I keep the option there. Orange Saucony kicks. Pink ones, too. White and black Skechers. Bright pink Bebe’s. Shoes to match every outfit. Maybe to distract your attention from the rest of me? Lead you to look down and not up? I don’t know. It’s surely possible. A therapist might have a field day. Oh, wait, I AM a therapist. I could have my own field day, I suppose.
But again, I tangent.
I started reading this book, The Heavy.
Then I did some digging and realized who the author was. She’s the woman who put her 7-yo on a diet. Restrictive diet. She’s the woman who took a beating in the media and from many other parents out there. Moms. Dads. Aunts. Uncles. Who knows? She is the woman who had a 4′ 4″ child weigh in at 93 lbs. And knew she needed to make some changes.
I’m not defending her choices. Nor am I criticizing them.
I just know that I wanted to read her story.
Even though a few years ago I might have automatically judged.
I’m a believer that children will regulate their eating. They’ll eat when they are hungry.
But I, too, have learned that children might also eat if they are bored. Is that learned? Or habitual? Or what, exactly?
How do you look at how your child(ren) eats? Do you monitor it? Schedule it? Plan it out?
School lunches suck. But sometimes they’re a great option. Do they suck that badly? Will Jamie Oliver come to our town and get everything but white milk out of our schools? (Is he even still doing that? Where’s Michelle Obama when you need her?) That, in and of itself, would help. Would cut out loads of sugar and calories. Wasted ones.
We give our daughter chocolate milk. Weekends, most often. Sometimes she has breakfast or lunch at school and has one. It’s not forbidden. And she might drink it always if we let her. But water is a good substitute. It’s my beverage of choice when we go out for dinner. Or lunch. Or both. If she has it for one she doesn’t get it for the other. Breakfast at home. No chocolate milk. Lunch sent from home. No chocolate milk. Juice boxes. 100% juice. Yes? No? Who the heck really knows.
So many thoughts.
So many questions.
What’s the right thing to do?
Sometimes we just have to figure that out on our own.
For me – that’s my plan – and yet … I keep on reading.
And I keep on remembering.
That we’re all a little bit perfect in our own way. Yes. YOU, mom over there struggling. You, too.
Each and every one of us. And we’re all a little bit imperfect, too. The struggle is finding the balance between both.
But we can do it.
I can. You can.
And I plan to. Feel free to join me.
This post was originally published on Good Girl Gone Redneck