Wednesday, February 2, 2011

bad parenting 101 ...

J and I come from big stock. My mom is one of 8 and she at the short end of the group at 6'. And J, well, J is 6'7. He towers over me by 10 inches (making me 5'9, of course). We are most often the tallest couple in the room. And we are definitely not "skinny" tall. We are "thick" tall or "built like a brick house" tall. I mean, seriously, have you seen my quads? Well, J has them too.

Because of this, I have always had a fear about my girls' future size. It's pretty much a given that they are going to be tall and naturally muscular. I'm cool with that. But I was built that way too, and I know how easy it is to go from tall and muscular to tall and muscular with a thick layer of fat.

I like to think that I have a pretty good body image. No, it's not perfect, but I have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. A relationship I try to show on a daily basis to my children. I do my best not to be judgmental of anyone's appearance. And for the most part, they get it. We don't eat a lot of junk in this house (cupcakes are not junk, they are an indulgence). They like to run. They love to play soccer. They dance. Basically, healthy habits are shoved in their faces (in a positive manner).

But the other day, I did something I swore I'd never do. I yelled at Dizzle about food and exercise. The conversation went like this ...


Me: Dizzle and Doodle, you have to get ready to go to ballet.
Dizzle: I don't want to go to ballet anymore.
Me: Why? Don't you like it?
Dizzle: No.
Me: Well, that's unfortunate. But, Mommy and Daddy spent a lot on your dance class and you made a commitment. You have to finish the year. If you don't want to dance in the fall, we won't sign you up.
Dizzle: (crying) But, I don't want to go. And I don't want to play soccer either.
Me: (starting to get worked up): What?!?! You have to go to dance. I already told you that. And you love soccer. Why wouldn't you want to play?
Dizzle: I just don't want to. I want to watch TV and eat.

And that's when it happened ...

Me: WHAT?!?! You want to watch TV and eat? Why? So you can get fat? Did you see all those people at the restaurant last night? They sit around and eat. And look at them? Do you want to be like that?

I instantly regretted it. I never ever wanted to share those thoughts with my kids. But in that moment, my fear that she would go down that road had such an effect on me that I couldn't hold back. It wasn't pretty. And it was definitely a moment of bad parenting ...

28 comments:

BeePieRuns said...

Arrgh! It's soooo hard isn't it? I also want my girls to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise (have you seen that show "What's Eating You" - SCARY!!) I find it very hard to balance letting them make their own choices and pushing them when they need help with those choices.

And having kids brings out the bad parent in all of us, don't you think? Your girls know you love them and your wonderful example of a healthy life is what's gonna be the biggest impact on them. Chin up :)

Rachel McPhillips said...

I understand that you feel really bad about that, BUT, I come from a family where 5'6 is tall and my mom underwent gastric bypass surgery. Exercise and eating in moderation were never staples in my house. I, on the other hand, am the outcast in the family. I run, I try to eat well, and I am not overweight- not by most people's standards- my mom always told me the importance of exercise, even if she didn't do it. And she never seemed happy. I think as long as you are being a good example to your children, having fun while exercising, that they will learn from your example.

Shawn said...

Maybe wrong comment for the right reasons? We can try to be perfect as parents but it just does not work that way. Live and learn, we are all allowed a mulligan once in awhile. Don't be too hard on yourself!

Cat B. said...

I know exactly what you mean. I always had poor body image and it didn't improve until I was an (active) mom. I don't want my kids to get the wrong image.

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Boy I've been there, done that!! My 2 older ones now 14 and 13 can really be LAZY! Now they are slender by far but I get freaked when they just want to do nothing, watch tv, play on the computer. It's really ok to be freaked. This world has a scary future. We have 5 kids and can't afford extra stuff like dance lessons, so it's even harder for me. Don't fault yourself too much. You as a mom are allowed to have fears and be human. Your an AWESOME mom!!!!

Marlene said...

If you ever feel guilty about your parenting, I think you should watch an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras. *cringe*

You just want the best for your kids and you are teaching them the best way you can.

Holly said...

What did you say after that? Did you apologize to her? The thing I always hear is that you will say things you regret and can't take back... but you can address the aftermath.

Like telling her you should not have said that, and then building up her body image.

S Club Mama said...

Oh honey don't be so hard on yourself. I totally agree with what you said about ballet and the commitment. I will never let my kids quit something once they've committed to it. I think that's great.

And you have two little girls. It's very hard not to be wary of their eating and exercising habits. You want them to be healthy. It's a great responsibility you bear...just know you are doing a great job. I wish my parents had practiced good eating and exercising habits. That's why I run and work out. To show my boys that it's just habit.

Like I said, don't be too hard on yourself.

giraffy said...

It's such a tough balance with girls, I feel your pain. Everyone melts down, it happens, for me especially when I feel strongly about something or see my kids making te same dumb mistakes I did. The best you can do is lead by example, and I bet you do a fab job at that :D

Heather said...

oh no! Its kind of funny that she picked those two things to do (watch tv and eat)lol!
I dont blame youI probably would have done the same thing.

AbigailRuns said...

Are you kidding me? You are an amazing mother! My son went through a phase like that. If you keep leading my example, she'll soon start begging to run 5k's with you!

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

I've had that moment. More than once. I have to fight to keep my weight in check. I want healthy habits for the kids so they dont have to worry about that.

And, as a side note, based on your photos, I always thought you were petite. No clue you were tall (I'm 5'11").

Aimee said...

Oh man, I think some form of that conversation has happened to all of us. It's definitely tough to keep some of the thoughts at bay, but I wouldn't stress about it too much! You are a great mother and you being healthy is a great way to teach them the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

OOPS!! I totally know those moments when frustration takes over and you immediately regret what you say.. I am sure she knew what you meant..

Stephanie said...

Dont' beat yourself up. Words slip and you can correct the statement by your future actions and words. I don't always have the right responses to my kids' questions/complaints but although you weren't happy you said it...you were sort of speaking the truth. You don't hate the people you were referencing..you were disliking the lifestyle.

Molly said...

oh, I've been there, you can't help it sometimes. I yelled at my son at a soccer game last fall, I was That Mom. He definitely didn't inherit my athletic gene.

ajh said...

I probably would have panicked a little at the I just want to watch tv and eat comment! Where did that come from? Concentrate on the commitment part. I was always real big on that! Don't worry! You haven't given her food issues. She is going to watch your example for food and exercise.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

We all project our fears about our children's futures. The reality is that we can only guide them. The day will come when we are not there and they will make their own choices. Yeah, you know this. I realize that BUT I'm living that now. I luckily have two other younger children to apply what I am learning to. With them I realize that I am NOT going to make copies of myself through them (everyone reading this comment stop saying that you don't partially do this. Every parent does. We want kids to be all the "good" qualities we think we have.) I wish I could take back all the times I made my oldest feel like he wasn't good enough. I never meant to do it but I know that I did. Because he feels it now. In my desire to encourage him to push harder, I made him feel like his effort wasn't enough. I made him feel like his choices were never the right ones. And I am determined to not do it with my younger two and I am trying to support my oldest through choices that I don't really want him to make. So I remember to tell the kids what a good effort they've made when they do something even if I feel they could do more. I remember to keep my ears open to hear what I am really saying, what my kids really hear when I speak. They are 9 and 2 and I am a grownup talking about comittments to teams and healtly eating and body images.
If this was your first slip up, congratulations! I forget that you are so young or that I am so much older. I think you are a wonderfully balanced parent. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. Your kids will do so much more of what you do than they ever do of what you say, so I think you are on the right track!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Geesh, did I get on a soap box? Sorry.

Pam said...

Oh, don't feel bad. I honestly wish my parents had said something like that to me when I was a kid instead of, "Sure, you can have another bowl of ice cream while you sit on your duff and play Nintendo."

But in Dizzle's defense, I have days where I just want to watch TV and eat too. haha

Pam said...

Oh, don't feel bad. I honestly wish my parents had said something like that to me when I was a kid instead of, "Sure, you can have another bowl of ice cream while you sit on your duff and play Nintendo."

But in Dizzle's defense, I have days where I just want to watch TV and eat too. haha

MCM Mama said...

We all have moments when we say things we don't mean to say to our kids.

I hear you though. I'm already fighting with S about healthy food choices and I've more than once called a food "bad", which is not really how I want to handle the food issues.

Erika said...

that is so hard! I've been there before many times when there are so many thoughts that I literally bite my tongue...and sometimes I blurt and instantly regret. But we are only human and sometimes it happens. don't be so hard on yourself.

Cynthia O'H said...

D. will probably ponder that for days, weeks or months and come back at you with something deep and thought-provoking. Life's lessons.

It's hard to think inside your head when you're a parent. But, this has opened the door for a "real" conversation for you to have with her about fitness and lifestyle. We all have them with our kiddos at some time.

Char said...

I don't know if I'd call that bad parenting. All you want to do is protect your babies from all the bad stuff in life - and that aint bad.

Julie D. said...

we've all been there!! I find it so hard to teach the balance of non-judgement but also teach them that it is not healthy to be overweight. Do we correct them when they talk about being 'fat', etc?

Colleen said...

I don't think it's bad parenting... I think you had good intentions. Don't beat yourself up over it... you're looking out for your little ones - that makes a good momma!

AbigailRuns said...

I tagged you on my blog for an award!