DROPPING THE BALL a realization of how I didn’t help my daughter after all

I definitely have it easier than lots of people, 1 child, loving husband, decent full-time job, 2 dogs, 3 cats and a mortgage, but I don’t think I was naturally cut out for all of it, but I’m doing the best I can with the skills I have available.  My day consists of waking up with my husband at 5am and getting him out the door, concocting something delicious (hopefully), blogging while sipping a strong cup of joe, getting ready for work, getting Zoe ready for school and then out the door. During my lunch I run errands in order to save time at night. When I get home it’s dinner, homework, walk the dogs and family time.  Somewhere within my day I sneak in a quick workout and another slice of me time.  Easy enough right?

My husbands work schedule is such that he can pick our daughter up from school, help with homework, help prep dinner and get everything ready for the next day…seriously an awesome man! 

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My daughter is equally amazing. She’s a very sensitive old soul.  Loves animals, gave up pork because she loves pigs and goes back and forth on being a vegetarian (total opposite of me).  Handwrite’s and mails letters to send to friends and family just to say “hi”. She takes things very literally and can’t wrap her head around why people would purposely hurt one another.  I honestly have no idea how I got so lucky.

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Yesterday my husband mentioned that he is noticing more and more of our daughters lunch coming home without being touched.  In retrospect, her eating habits at home were getting a little strange, asking to eat in her room, only wanting apples for dinner and insisting on packing her own food.  Before you get appalled about apples for dinner, don’t worry, she ate more than that.  Now, as a reader you might already see the issue, but as someone living with this sweetheart I thought it was her making healthier choices and becoming more independent. With all my “balancing” I dropped a ball and never realized my daughter lives in fear of being called “fat”.  

Last night she and I had a heart to heart talk about what was going on.  It took lots of coaxing, but eventually she told me what was going on.  She is scared that if people see her eat they will tease her about her weight…SHE’S ONLY 9!  It breaks my heart that it’s an issue.  She will eat a few plantain chips at snack, then wait until she goes to her after school camp and eat some more food, because she feels safer there with a smaller group of kids and more adults by her side.   I tried so hard not to do what my mom did to me (not that my mom meant to either) I pushed my food issues onto my daughter.

I suppose I should take a few steps back.  Before I had Zoe, my daughter, I was pushing 300 lbs.  Now, as of this very moment, I’m down to 155 lbs.  Even now I want to type “20 lbs TO GO” which totally takes away from what I’ve already lost and the weight I’ve maintained for years.  My years of searching for answers, finding the best foods for my body and what’s totally toxic have become an obsession, I’m a total foodie.

I don’t want a daughter that has to worry about her weight, fear joining group sports because of teasing or being self-conscious everywhere she goes…been there…done that. Yet, here we are. I could spend the rest of my life focusing on this moment, but much rather work on how to make food “ok” for her, rather than feeding into another issue, which she will have plenty of as a teen.  

Last night we discussed food choices and how she can’t starve herself. We’ve decided to start with a smaller lunch for a while, until she feels comfortable eating without being teased. She agreed on homemade chicken nuggets and a small cup of sliced peaches with plantain chips in a side container for snack if she’s feeling hungry.  Here’s the catch, it’s no different from what I’ve been packing. The difference will be how I package it, she asked if I could put each in a small plastic container rather than the larger containers I’ve been using. Quantities are the same, but it’s the perception of how much food is there.

The next step is exercise, which she gets a little at school during P.E., but we all know how those programs are nowadays.  In addition, she plays for a local softball team twice a week, as well as participating in CrossFit for kids class on Saturdays.  To step it up, we agreed to get more physical activity as a family, playing “Just Dance”, hike in the Hollywood hills or riding our bikes along the coast. 

Knowing how out of hand this can get,  I don’t want this to become a focal point on her day, nor live in fear of eating in public, but I also don’t want to invalidate her feelings. This will be a process that we will work on as a family, in hopes to prepare her for any future turmoil she may have, but the first step has been honest communication, so we are heading in the right direction.  

Any constructive thoughts or suggestions are always welcome.

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3 thoughts on “DROPPING THE BALL a realization of how I didn’t help my daughter after all

  1. Oh little Zoe … she is beautiful and I love her so. I need to come over for a Just Dance night. I hate that we all care what others think. Man I want to squeeze her and tell her it will all be okay. Love you guys and so happy you’re helping her through this!!!!!

  2. This breaks my heart because not only have I been in her situation but I can’t even believe she’s having to deal with it at 9! I think I was around 10 though when my issues with eating started. What I love about this is your reaction. Instead of ignoring the situation or making a huge deal out of it you are helping her through it. I’ve actually never seen a parent do this. You are letting her guide you in helping her. I hope you don’t mind but I would love to share this blog post. You are a true inspiration mama! I will have to keep this in mind when my daughter is older.

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