Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Mother Question

Scientists have a new, highly effective treatment for women suffering from depression. It is a patch. All you need do is remove the backing from the adhesive side and place the patch firmly over your mother's mouth. - Tina Fey on SNL Weekend Update skit

It figures I am wearing a shirt which reads
I am a dangerous person
I love my daughters more than pixie dust (the stars in my eyes, the breath in my body and the passion in my soul). Both my girls are overweight. I see they both love and accept their bodies even at their larger sizes in ways I do not understand because at my larger size I never accepted my body as beautiful - never. I still struggle with me today more than I like to think about it. 

Knowing the pain of obesity and not wanting my girls to spend decades with that feeling, I keep after my darling daughters about their weight and in doing so, I am the one who causes feelings of pain and rejection because my comments equal not accepting them as they are today. 

I am tied of meaning well and causing tears. How does a mother see her adult children physically suffering and NOT say anything that will cause them more anguish. 

Does anyone have an answer for that, except for the Patch



Melanie said...

I feel that my mom has handled this situation wonderfully. She has never mentioned that I need to lose weight. She doesn't need to mention this to me - I already know that I'm overweight, and I know that she loves me and doesn't like for me to be unhealthy and unhappy.

I know that my mom loves me unconditionally, and that is so very important.

When I approach the subject of healthy foods and healthy habits she will share her opinion and make recommendations. She will share healthy recipes with me, discuss healthy steps that she is taking in her life.

Hope this helps! My oldest child is 19. Though he is still at home and still dependent on my husband and I for a lot of things, I understand how difficult it can be to strike a balance between being supportive, providing insight based on your own experience, and being too involved.

P.S. Thanks so much for the encouraging comment!

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Honestly, my mom was not helpful. I could write a book on it. You are such a great mom to be concerned about this in such a loving and compassionate way.

Reno said...

I think you've said all you need to by your wonderful example of weight loss. Let them find their own way now.

Unknown said...

I agree with Reno entirely. And just love them *exactly* how they are.

Being beautiful isn't all about weight. I know plenty of skinny women who are arrogant unsmiling know-it-alls who look like someone should feed them a pound of M&Ms as happy pills.<<That's not beautiful at all. Graciousness, generosity, zeal for life, being fun, and warm-hearted smiles can make women beautiful no matter what size.

And, although this is rather hard for some of us to admit, even if we were perfectly skinny, most of us do not have the figure or face (or age!) to be supermodels. We just have to like ourselves how we are.

Did you serve time at Azcaban???

:-) Marion

Princess Dieter aka Mir said...

I think the only thing that you can reasonably do is offer an example and never enable. Never offer to buy them crap. Never cook crap for them. Never have tempting stuff around that isn't healthful (real food). Other than that, and a simple, "Sweetie, if you ever want to get on a weight loss program, let me help in any way I can, please, but beyond that, it's your body and life, and I won't nag you." Then never nag. Period.

I often suggest this to my eldest sister, whose children got morbidly obese, and one died from complications. Just cook healthy. Stop buying soda, cookies, etc. Only cook healthful meals. Only eat out at places with healthful options. AND SET THE EXAMPLE. That's it. Silent example....

They will tackle their obesity when they are ready. If they get illnesses, complications, etc, you are not to blame and had no complicity if you're not an enabler, like some moms are (baking cakes, cookies, ordering junk/fast food delivered or gotten drive thru crap).

Just love and set the visual/life energy/health example and pray they SEE that sermon clearly. :D

Marie said...

Leave them alone. They know they are fat.

Lauren said...

I prefer the term "big-boned", thank you very much. Sheesh.


Vickie said...

Good comments above - I was going to say the exact same thing about NOT enabling - don't buy it, don't go to poor food choice restaurants, don't have it in your house for others to consume (like at a holiday).

I go one step further and suggest to make your get togethers nonfood centered events. Even holidays.

I mean - go do an activity instead of having a meal.

I would almost make a game out of it (with yourself) to see how creative you can be in planning activities and shifting the focus (maybe you already do this) without drawing attention to what you are doing.

I also wondered what ages your kids were with your own food education. I can't remember how old they are nor how far along in your process you are.

My own kids are turning 22, 18, 14 and the girls barely remember my before years and barely remember the habits we all had in my before years. (I started in 2005, so you would think they would remember, but they don't really).

So I am just plain fortunate at my timing (whole families habits changed) or I could be writing this post.

I really feel for you.

Maren said...

I don't have any good ideas or comments, but I'm thinking that .. the fact you're even asking this questions means you're on the right path.

that TOPS lady said...

I think there's nothing in the world you can say or do that will help and anything you say or do could hurt. I'd just not talk about it with them and not make the weight an issue. For me, it has had to come from inside myself and external comments didn't help at all. good luck!

Anonymous said...

For me, I've had a hard enough time loving myself and accepting myself and my imperfections, stretch marks, weight and all, the last thing I need is hearing it from someone else. As a mom, but also a daughter who has been on the receiving end, I find that when people are supportive and loving, everything eventually falls into place.

With my mom, although she's never had a weight problem, she's been a train wreck in many other aspects of her life and I found her comments about my weight laughable, they pissed me off and the hypocrisy of it really made me want to eat and shoot her the bird all at the same time, which culminated into immense self hatred and a raging disease called bulimia.

You truly are a good mom and want everything beautiful for your family. You have smart, creative and beautiful daughters, regardless of their size. When they are ready, they'll be ready and you'll be there every step of the way, offering love and support!

bbubblyb said...

I think I'm with the TOPS lady about just not bringing it up. I think it's a touchy conversation for everyone involved. I know I struggle with my own daughter having a few extra lbs. I just try to lead by example, do anything she wants that's active and just be there for her. I know my daughter is only 10 though so much different than adult children. I know my mom pushed diets on me from like age 8 and by 15 I was 345 lbs so I sure know that route wasn't helpful. I feel for you Jane, just love them is the main thing.

Anonymous said...

What words would you have wanted to hear from your own mom back in the day?

Vickie said...

everyone who said to keep your mouth shut on the topic was right on. I would add - don't even think it - they will see it in your eyes.

All you can do is gracefully change your enabling (if you were even enabling, maybe you don't).

the rest will have to come from them IF they choose it. And they might never choose it.

I am sure this is especially scary for you as you see what has happened with your own extended family (your brother for example).

As I said, I really feel for you on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Well, what is done cannot be undone. You can only go forward by not making the weight of anyone an issue. Fat, thin and everything in between you focus on what you love - I solidly believe that it is not their appearance that makes you love them.

They are adults - What they feel and how they act or what they do - it is up to them. You simply love them regardless.

RedPanda said...

Honestly, my mom was not helpful. I could write a book on it. You are such a great mom to be concerned about this in such a loving and compassionate way.

What Diane said.

Jane Cartelli said...

Rather than respond to all the meaningful and thoughtful comments here I have written a new post with all my responses that will publish at 2pm on 10/24/11. It is titled The Mommy Answers.