Re-Educating My Children

Little Miss ChatterboxSitting in a doctor’s waiting room for two hours with three children ages 6, 7, and 11 is… interesting, to say the least. Especially when the 7 year old is a voracious reader and will read anything she can get her hands on. Books… magazines… health leaflets… bank promotions… I mean anything.

Little Miss Chatterbox must have read something about healthy eating and losing weight, because she turned to me and said:

Mommy, you cook us healthy meals so that you can get healthy and skinny, right?

Now, if she had said something like that to me a few months ago? It wouldn’t have bothered me in the least, and I would have told her that she was right. That Mommy is an ugly, huge person and would give anything to be skinny and attractive.

But I know better now. I know that I don’t have to hate myself because of my size. I know that my size is and always has been largely out of my control. I know that my size is nothing to be ashamed of, because human beings are supposed to come in all shapes and sizes (and colors, and shades of colors). And in a split-second, I saw that I needed to re-educate my children. Not just The Little Helper, whom I blogged about a while back. But all of them. Because obviously my self-loathing – as much as I’d hoped it wouldn’t have – has made an impact even on the children that I thought were immune to it.

So I looked at her and said:

No, I cook healthy meals to be healthy. Period. Skinny doesn’t always mean healthy, and healthy doesn’t always mean skinny. You can be healthy AND fat.

I hate that I’m going to have to re-educate them about what is healthy and what isn’t. They’re constantly talking about food that is “bad” for you – and because I’m trying to get out of that “good food/bad food” mindset, I’ve been correcting them as well. I tell them that no food is inherently “bad” for you, it’s eating one particular food all the time – even if it’s a universally accepted “healthy” food – is UNhealthy for you.

But I’m glad that they’re still young enough that it might work. They might not grow up believing that they’re a bad person just because they ate some junk food. They might not grow up feeling superior to those people that eat junk food if they don’t. They might not grow up hating their bodies. I’m not dumb enough to think that I’m the only influence in their lives, so I can’t be sure that my re-educating them is going to eradicate all the other messages they’re going to get in their life.

But I can hope, right?

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Sometimes kids can be great for your self-image

Note from The Little Helper

I went into the kitchen earlier to make some toast, and this is what I found stuck to the fridge.

Need I say more? 🙂

Edit: I just found out it wasn’t just The Little Helper.  It was The Little Chatterbox’s idea to make the sign, and The Little Helper did it.  That actually makes it even nicer.  Not just one of my kids decided to be sweet to me today, but two of them.  *tear* 😉