“I don’t want to wear shorts to school, my legs look fat and ugly.”
“I’m not going to finish my sandwich, I don’t want to get fat.”
There are a ton of things about parenting my kids that scare me half to death. If it’s possible to worry about it, then I will. But few things strike honest-to-God fear in my heart – most worries I can dismiss as unlikely to very unlikely and not those fears keep me up at night.
But the thought of my either of my kids developing an eating disorders?
That fear paralyzes me.
I remember when Scorch was little – around 5- he didn’t want to wear a big puffy jacket because it made him look fat. Bean didn’t want to wear anything that showed her legs when school started this year because they looked “fat and ugly.” Scorch joked today about not wanting to finish in lunch because he doesn’t want to get fat.
Statements like that make me panic.
The Hubs and I work out daily (well…5-6 days a week). We try to make healthy food choices, but we don’t deny ourselves much (hence, the working out). We talk about being healthy and strong and the words “diet” and “fat” don’t ever, ever cross our mouths. We don’t body shame anyone and, even when it’s just the two of us, never remark on people’s physical health. We talk to the kids about how we look how God wants us to and how it’s up to us to keep our bodies strong and healthy. I have a belly (thanks PCOS!) and the kids notice that and ask why. So we talk about how my body performed miracles and kept them safe for 9 months and now, this is how it is and how grateful I am that I can run, lift weights and hike with them.
Yet, they still make comments about being fat or their physical appearance.
When they do I want to shake them silly. They are both tiny, skinny kids without a spare ounce on them. Do I tell them that? Do I tell him how awesome their bodies are? Do we list all the great things their bodies can do no matter what they think they look like? I do all of those things while shrieking on the inside, wondering why in the hell my 9 and 7 year old are thinking like this.
I don’t know who to blame- kids at school? TV? radio? friends? Do I need to call a therapist? Will saying all the right things sink in? Do I need to model better behavior? I really don’t have a clue.
So today, I sit here and I fret. I worry and I wrestle with my thoughts and pray that is one worry that never turns into reality.