Get rid of these metrics, writer Sarah Mollman wrote in a contribution to the opinion last weekend. Brain trash, that’s what the writer calls all that worrying about our weight. Women have been doing this for decades, subconsciously teaching their daughter “this ballast for every brain inclined to right thinking.” There are many things that build guilt as a parent, and especially as a mom, along the way. Your daughter’s body image is one of those things. Then it goes to your head: How is her body image so negative for God’s sake? Is this your fault or is it Instagram? Shouldn’t you be a little stricter about that screen time? While you worry about it, you immediately lose sight of the fact that your kid was already working with weights at a young age.
• Body shaming: As long as my daughter doesn’t get fat
But, and it has gradually become a real dogma, what I feel most guilty about as a mother is the (unhealthy) eating pattern of my teens. I once heard a childless classmate say she wouldn’t dare serve chocolate sandwiches to her children. Mine doesn’t look like anything better. In the morning and afternoon at school and again in the evening when coming home just before dinner. Sometimes I make omelet sandwiches or give her chicken and cucumber rolls to school. This works for a while, until they get enough of it again. And until I find a better alternative, I’m going back to chocolate and jam. Yes, I’m one of those moms who still makes these, butter sandwiches. Even if they were able to do it themselves for a long time. I love rituals.
Furthermore, a friend recently told me that bread from the supermarket is actually very unhealthy. Better to bake it yourself. All those preservatives that our kids ingest: they are gradually becoming irresponsible. Who knows, it could lead to cancer later on. This is what I hear and read. swallow. I don’t have time to bake my own bread. I don’t know how to bake bread.
litter as a reward
The idea that my kids aren’t eating healthy enough has been an alarm that’s been ringing in the back of my head for years. They are red flashes of panic that I try to ignore. What worries me is not that they are getting too fat. It’s about becoming unhealthy. That they will soon turn green, or red, or yellow, or that they will suddenly begin to glow or become depressed because their intestinal flora will become unbalanced. Or that a lack of vitamins will affect their brains. (The fear is not rational. Because in my generation everyone grew up on chocolate and jam sandwiches, right?)
Banning all clutter can be an option. But at the same time no. Because they are teenagers and they decide a lot for themselves. I have friends who were only allowed to drink cola on weekends, and who once they went to the student room did nothing but drink cola. Until their teeth began to loosen. (And it turns out, those expensive dental jobs their parents paid were a waste of money.) My kids don’t drink a lot of soda, but I’ve learned that if you mark something out and save it for Sunday or a special day of the week, they’ll see that mess as special. As a reward for…and this is the exact opposite effect of what you want to achieve.
The point is, this junk is everywhere. On social media and in the supermarket. He seduces everyone. For six months now, I’ve been trying to avoid sugar and cut down on carbs and suddenly three-quarters of the shelves in the store turn out to be completely irrelevant.
I myself have been kicking the scales for a long time. So it can’t make me look sad anymore. But there is enough leftover brain waste still overwhelming me. What margin is there in parenting between the physically and mentally healthy? How big is that bandwidth where you get them to know enough about what’s healthy and what’s not without talking to them in complexes? How often can I see their unhealthy eating habits, and how many healthy alternatives can I force them on without anyone noticing? When will the pendulum swing and will I cause them to have an eating disorder? Or just low self-esteem?
Parenting is like skating on frozen rivers. Every choice, every change of course carries with it the risk of falling into the ice. Get out of there safely. So yeah, this alarm clock will continue to ring in the back of my mind for a while.
What about you, dear reader, how do you solve the eternal table battle? Do you recognize yourself in Valerie Durovin’s alarm clock? Email us