A few weeks ago I had heard those awful words that you never ever want to hear from your daughter's mouth:
"I look fat in this."
I handled it like any experienced parent with a professional mental health background would.
I freaked the fuck out.
There's really only so much you can prepare for as a parent, and no matter how many times you tell yourself "I will remain calm and address the issue with a level head and an understanding spirit" when you actually hear those words, particularly on little sleep and hormones, well, you just forget your stupid parenting mantra and start screaming ridiculous things like "Do you even know what that means? Where did you hear that? I don't ever want to hear you say that EVER again!"
Quite possibly the worst thing you could say to your kid as a parent.
Yay me! I win at parenting!
After I calmed down and sought the assistance of my sane, and highly-trained BFF, I was able to determine that she was, in fact, grabbing for a word to describe her frustration with her shirt not tucking in all the way.
But alas, it was a good teaching moment. For both of us.
While I never talk about feeling "fat" or complain about my own weight (I don't even own a scale), I still hate that it's in my head, a constant dialogue that started back when I left for college and has been with me ever since.
Growing up, I was extremely skinny (like my daughter) and didn't really gain weight until after I stopped dancing 4-5 hours a day and realized that I couldn't eat like I was when I was burning that many calories, which happened during my freshman year of college.
So I got the freshman 30 (instead of 15) and without the knowledge or resources on how to lose weight and eat well, since I never really had to do it before, I decided I just wouldn't eat at all.
And I lost all the weight fast.
From then on, I lived in a state of regular exercise and closely monitored eating, through various diets like veganism and macrobioticism, resorting to drastic calorie cutting when my pants started to get too tight.
The last time I did that was before I met my husband.
Gaining weight for pregnancy never bothered me, but the challenge of taking it off, particularly after Margot (and now Bridget), has been a thorn on my side.
Or a love handle.
And so, for the last two and a half years, I've worked out almost daily and focused on my diet, mostly relying on common sense and good practices (mostly water, no eating after a certain hour) to help get me back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
But lately, I've felt burned out, unable to even bring myself to work-out, grabbing what I want, when I want it, which puts a damper on losing that last 5-10 lbs of baby weight.
In a way, I'd resigned myself to just being 5-10 lbs bigger because well, I'm busy, and who am I really trying to impress anyway?
How are losing those 5-10lbs going to make my life better?
And for the first time in my life, I wasn't thinking about diet and exercise.
Well, sort of.
But just last week, Meagan introduced me to a post by Tsh at Simple Mom about how perfection can really get in the way of "good enough" which is exactly what my brain does to me.
Since I can't do it all, I just won't do anything.
How many of us have that motto with at least one or many things in our lives?
And with that, I decided I can do 20 minutes a day of exercise. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I can just drink water and coffee. And not eat after 8pm.
If I lose the weight, then awesome. If I don't, that will be okay too.
I know I'll be "me" at any size. Now I just need to adjust exactly what that size looks like in my head, change the conversation once and for all, and give myself a big fucking break.
We all need to. Not just for us. But for our daughters.