Envy, body image, and shame

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My college freshman daughter hasn’t gained the “freshman 15” people joke about this year. As a matter of fact, she has LOST about 15 lbs.

I am happy for her, since she wasn’t really trying or stressing to do it. It just happened. Isn’t that nice for her? She was sensitive about the size of her chest, and losing a few pounds reduced her chest by a full cup size.

She wasn’t overweight. She wasn’t unhappy with herself. She has always had a confidence I admire. That said, I can see her confidence boosted even further with this weight loss.

When my dad died, I put on some weight. I am STRUGGLING, trying to get my ideal body back. It happened so fast, and I feel miserable and ashamed that I let it get out of hand.

I was a comfortable size 4-6. I am now an 8-10. I put on about 20 lbs, with the first 15 happening in 4 weeks. It is nearly 2 yrs later, and I have lost 10…ONLY 10!!!

My daughter and I are the same height. Yet, we wear our weight so differently. My body is shaped like a pear…I have larger hips and thighs. She has a body that is more evenly proportioned, with a large chest.

She always looks great. I…do not.

I am jealous of her. I admit it. We are currently only 5 lbs different in weight, and she looks great! Meanwhile, I still look chunky.

She has never worried about her body. I always talked to her as she grew up about weight not being important, as long as you are healthy.

I am a hypocrite. I obsess over my weight. As a teen, I struggled with an eating disorder. I have never felt I liked myself or my body.

Thankfully, I didn’t pass this to her. I succeeded in helping her be comfortable in her own skin in ways I have never been. I envy her…oh, do I envy her.

I still strugglr to keep my insecurities from influencing how she sees herself. It is hard.

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Childhood anxiety

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My youngest is full of anxiety. He worries about EVERYTHING.

Lately, getting him off to school has been a real challenge. After winter break, and then some illness, he hadn’t gotten back into routine.

He begins his worrying at night, at bedtime. He cries, insists he hates school. In the morning, more tears.

I feel like an awful mom sending him to school. I am trying everything I can to help him with his anxiety.

My latest attempt at a solution seems to be helping…love notes.

I give him a note each day to put in his pocket. Some sort of simple encouragement…”I love you, have a fun day” etc. He feels more secure if he has a note.

His anxiety encompasses so many aspects of his day. He worries about snack because he is the only kid who prefers white milk to chocolate milk, therefore he must be weird. He worries about arriving at school and being late (he hasn’t been late…but he fears it). He worries he won’t have a friend to play with at recess. He worries the teacher will be angry if he makes any mistakes (she is a nice, patient teacher). He is just full of worry and anxiety.

He is my mini. Oh, how I love him.

I wish I could calm his fears. As a mom with anxiety, I know his feelings are very real. And I just love this little boy so much, and wish I could ease the anxiety.

For now, love notes. Lots of love notes.

Dear sick child,

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Dear sick child,

Please, for the love of God, stay in your bed. Stop opening the door, shuffling your feet down the hall, and touching the walls. Your hands are full of your sick germs, and you are spreading them everywhere.

Please stop coming out to say you “feel better.” You just threw up an hour ago…you are not better. You may not eat pizza right now. You will not run around and play. You will relax, with a bucket nearby, just in case.

I know being sick is “boring.” I know the forced quarantine feels unfair. But I really don’t want a house full of vomit. Therefore, let’s try to keep these germs isolated.

I try to make it easy on you. You have numerous books to read. You can watch DVD’s on the portable player. Nap…for the love of God…take a nap. Someday, you will just want a damn nap, and wonder why you didn’t take them while you had the chance.

I will bring you water, and bland food, and check on you. I promise. But please…stop coming out, touching everything, and coughing uncovered into the air.

Sincerely,

Your mom, who is tired of the cycle of sickness plaguing the house, and desperately needs everyone healthy again….

RAD times

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So, if you read my earlier post, you will understand this one…

After the strange affection in the school hallway, my son came home to repeatedly turn his back to me when I spoke, and even walked oit of the room as I tried talking to him. He wasn’t in trouble (at that time…lol), and I wasn’t scolding or yelling at him.

Later, as we sit eating together, he turns to his sister and says he wished she still lived here (she is home on break from college). He then stares at me with a smile and says, “yeah, cuz you would be a good mom.”

W.t.f.

Classic RAD reaction

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My 8 yr old has Reactive Attachment Disorder. At school, he is a different person than he is at home.

He loves his teachers. Loves. He forms inappropriate relationships with them, thinking they also love him. He can’t form proper loving relationships with me, as his mom. But he instead connects to those he knows are temporary, non-threatening in his mind because of the boundaries. Me, as a mom, feels scary to him. His previous mom didn’t properly care for him. This neglect transfers to me…and he cannot trust me.

Today, as I walked the hall of school dropping off my youngest son, I saw my 8 yo. He gave me a huge hug (he only behaves like that at school…at home he almost never hugs me). Then, he began to cry. He was feeling emotional because it was the last day a teacher assistant would be in class.

Seriously, this is classic. He has formed such an attachment to this temporary person in his life, that he is devastated today. Yet, if I died tomorrow, he would not care.

Being a RAD mom is hard.

All these figures are weird…

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My kids received a few playsets for the holidays. One in particular prompted a discussion I didn’t anticipate.

All the figures were labeled “weird” by my youngest. Why? They were all brown.

I explained he is also brown, as is his brother (he is biracial, his brother is Mexican).

We live in a small town, and there is little diversity. At school, most depictions of people are “peach” in color.

I explained that brown isn’t weird. I explained people come in lots of different colors. My youngest is actually more tan than brown…so we talked about how colors have light and darker shades.

We talked about how no skin color is weird. Different does not mean weird.

I was happy to see he drew himself in a picture with a brown crayon the next day, instead of the peach.

Birthfamily visitors, with no interest

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My youngest son has an ooen adoption. We visit and keep in contact with his grandparents and birth mom.

I am surprised when I hear that out-of-state family has come and gone from the area with no request to see or visit with our son.

His adoption is known. We met many extended family on 2 occasions prior to legal adoption.

I sometimes wonder if the situation is not told accurately. Do these family members have a different understanding of the circumstances? I wonder how our family is represented in conversations. I wonder if truth is exaggerated or distorted somehow.

I know I would want to have everyone I know meet this sweet little boy. So I have a hard time understanding why we aren’t aware of the relatives in the area until after they leave.

Oh well. I can’t worry about it and try to please everyone.

When his birthmom schedules a playdate…wtf

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Recently, my youngest son had a school event that was attended by his grandparents and birthmom. My husband and I were also there.

We all sat together, waiting for things to start. His birthmom was seated down the row from me, between her parents. She became engaged in conversation with a woman sitting in front of her. I hear them talking about how the kids were in the same grade. Then, I watched as they exchanged phone numbers so they could schedule a playdate. I was shocked. And I couldn’t understand why her parents weren’t stepping in to explain that our little guy would need playdates scheduled with us…his parents.

His birthmom has a mental illness, and cannot parent or be alone with my son. I have compassion for her situation, and try to develop a relationship with healthy boundaries between them.

In this case, I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, she can’t set up a playdate if this woman calls. I am confused as to why she (and her parents) would have pretended they could.

It was so awkward that I just said nothing.

The hard moments of ooen adoption…it can be hard to figure out. But I do believe it is worth the tough moments.

Moist

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I guess a lot of people think the word “moist” is gross. It doesn’t bother me at all. I can say it over and over, and it is fine.

There are other words I find to be much worse. “Vape” or “vaping.” I admit my face contorted and I felt gross just typing those words. Also “e-juice” makes me cringe.

To be fair, I also don’t like the word “cigarette.” I was a smoker at one time, almost 20 years ago. I was young, and am glad I quit before it was too hard.

I also don’t really like the word “manure.” Just say poop or shit. Haha.

I am not sure why I wrote all of this. It was just on my mind I guess.

Gender double standard

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I was in my youngest kiddos classroom the other day, and I came to the realization that as much as I try to fight media standards, they influence me. The gender double standard regarding weight really stood out.

There is a chubby girl in his class. Immediately, I feel sympathy for how hard things must be for her. I feel she is at a disadvantage because she is chubby. And then, I feel shocked at myself for this immediate response. Why do I feel this way? Who cares if she is chubby? Why do I think this? Damn media.

Then I see the chubby boy. My reaction is much different. I think he is very cute, with his big cheeks. He is also funny, and smiles a lot. My immediate response is that he is a fun kid. No feelings of sympathy, no sadness for him like I had for the little girl.

Why??

Because in society, weight is a much bigger issue for girls. It just is. And that sucks, and it is unfair. Girls have so much value placed on their appearance. And I am part if the problem, sadly. I am using these horrible standards. Even though I don’t want to. It is automatic. We have been brought up with these ideas.

My heart broke a bit when I realized how flawed my thinking was. I feel ashamed that I take part in these double standards and judgemental thoughts.

At least I recognize it, and hope to change it. For myself, and for my kids.