Sometimes I find the job of raising children somewhat overwhelming, not the everyday tasks like feeding them, making sure they have everything they need etc but the big things like making sure they grow up to be well-rounded, happy people.
I’m so aware that they are learning everything from Mr C and I and that what they learn will shape them into the people they grow up to be.
The thing is we’re not perfect, no-one is, we are learning as we go along and are always discussing how we want to approach certain things as the kids get older.
I know we won’t always get it right but I hope the kids will see that we are always trying our best.
One of the things I believe is hugely important to happiness in teenage / adult life is self-confidence.
Confidence in your appearance and what you are capable of.
As parents it’s our job to make sure they have that.
We want to help them find the things they are good at and support them in building those skills. We don’t want to crush any ideas they have or make them feel they can’t achieve something, I think it’s so important to believe you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
And when it comes to appearance I feel the message that they learn will come more from me. For the main part of their lives as children I will be the only person they see without any clothes on (apart from Mr C on the odd occasion in the bath!) and to them I’m beautiful. They don’t see that my tummy is wobbly and my boobs are saggy. They don’t notice my double chin or the mole on the end of my nose. They don’t see anything bad when they look at me and I decided very early on that I wasn’t ever going to let them hear me saying those things.
We all have body issues and I’m pretty sure we all have days where we feel ‘fat’. I’m not over-weight but I really need to tone up, joining the gym has been on my list for so long, it will happen!
I put on a lot of weight in my late teens and learnt all the important lessons to not let it happen again. Things like not eating too much cheese, that although nuts / olive oil / avocados etc are healthy they are also rammed with calories so limit how much you eat, that drinking too many cups of tea with milk and sugar will add up to a lot of calories, that just because fruit is good for you you cannot eat unlimited amounts of it as it is full of sugar and therefore calories (yes I did at one point swap junk food for ridiculous amounts of fruit!), that the only secret to not putting on weight is to not overeat and to exercise.
These are all things I want to teach the kids, I want them to be educated about food and exercise, I think it’s an important lesson these days when portion sizes are growing and junk food is cheaper than fruit. I don’t however want to do it in a way that makes them scared of putting on weight or makes them believe any foods are forbidden.
But above all that one thing I am never going to do is call myself ‘fat’. It’s a word that is banned in our house and has been since Cherry was born. It sounds ridiculous but I don’t even use it when talking about bacon.
It’s an evil word and one that they don’t need to learn.
I have letters that me and my friends sent each other when we were at school, they are full of us describing ourselves as ‘fat’. It’s as if you just have to describe yourself as that as a teenager no matter what size you actually are.
Of course as some point they will hear the word, I know I can’t shelter them from it forever but at least if they’ve never heard me using it then it will remain somewhat alien to them and not something that you use to describe your body.
I’ve also banned weighing scales, I get addicted to standing on them when they are in the house and I don’t want to teach them that it’s normal to weigh yourself after every meal so I pop into Boots and use the one in there every six months or so instead.
It’s not always easy, I went through a phase about a month ago where I couldn’t bear to look in the mirror without wanting to say something negative about my appearance but I knew how important it was to not let the kids hear me saying it so I waiting until they were asleep and then spoke to Mr C about it. One day I will explain to them that it’s okay to have things on your body you aren’t happy with, should I ever need to of course but that day won’t be for a long time. The world they see right now is full of perfect people and I’m not going to be the one to ruin that.
How do you feel about the word ‘fat’?