Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

header photo

On Being a Fat Accepting Mom

July 25, 2010

The Fatosphere's been around for a while and its got its share of parents out there; Family Feeding Dynamics is becoming one of my favorite blogs, Well Rounded Mama was a hit with me from the start and I know there are others who write who are also parents.  It's not easy to find time to blog amidst breakfasts, lunches, dinners, hugs, pretending, stories, time-outs, walks, visits to the parks, drives to daycare, and bedtime.  My writing has been a lot less than I initially intended and I'm grateful anyone's still reading. 

Being a fat-accepting mom is harder still.  It's hard to shut off that voice that says 'Can't you eat just one more bite of supper?  Just try."  or "No, you can't have candy for breakfast.  Candy isnt' a breakfast food."  This from the woman who, in her teens, regularly had leftover pizza and cookies.  It's difficult to balance Being A Parent (TM) with allowing my son to eat what he wants when he wants it, until he says he's full.  There's a lot of "Well, chicken is a...chicken has more energy for you, so please eat your chicken for dinner instead of chips."  That pause there is me trying not to say "Chicken is a good food. Chips are bad."  I've been trying to say "X food has more energy for you than Y, that's why you can't have it for breakfast." or whatever.  My usual arguement against candy is "Your teeth will hurt if you eat too much."   However, sometimes I fail.  Just now I made my son eat the rest of his apple to get a small handful of Ringolos (a kind of circle/ring chip).  What if he didn't WANT the apple?  He'd had about half already.  But he did and now he's very happily munching on the 'junk'.  He's been asking almost non-stop for treats lately, which I think is because of his daycare.  His usual afternoon snack was a freezie or icecream and he came home fairly often with a lollipop.  Daycare is over now and he'll be home with us until he starts school in the fall.  (Oh I cannot tell you how much I'm NOT looking forward to that.)

Being a mom who is into FA and HAES is interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking.  I read stories from the U.K and the States about parents who have child services called on them because their kids are fat, parents who are doing their best (in most cases, I'd like to think) to just raise their kids.  Genetics plays an important role in fatness, but CPS doesn't seem to care about that.  Nor do they care that you can be fat and healthy, or that BMI was never designed to be a measure of health and wellness, ESPECIALLY for children, who are growing so rapidly that their BMI would be in constant flux.  These parents will try to put their kids on diets  in order to not have their family broken up;  they're HURTING their children thanks to CPS, which is obviously ass-backwards.  My son is in the 98% for height and weight for a kid his age.  According to his BMI, he's morbidly obese or some stupid thing.  To my eyes, and everyone else, he's just REALLY tall and well built for his age. I've had people ask me what grade he's going into this fall and when I reply he's just starting kindergarten there's a shocked pause, then inevitably: Oh! What a big boy you have!  I imagine it would be a different kind of 'oh' if I had a daughter who was Amazonian.  If someone tried to tell me I need to put my kid on a diet I'd have a hard time not slapping them silly. 

It's none of the teacher's/govt's/anyone's business but MINE what my kid's health is like, and the same goes for every other parent.  Unfortunately, most parents out there aren't into FA/HAES, so they don't have any defense against CPS or teachers who tell them that because their kid is fat they're doomed to a lifetime of unhappiness and ill-health.  Isn't that what we hear all the time, for people of all ages?  Fat is bad; it's going to kill you early.  It makes you ugly.  You wont get a job looking like THAT.  You'll never find True Love (TM) if you don't lose 50lbs!  Parents who believe those messages are toxic to their fat kids.  Parents who want to and are trying to love their fat kids just how they are have a damn hard time doing so. 

Mom and Dad of the Fat Kid: You're doing alright.  You're not alone.  Your child is not going to drop dead because of their fat.  Encourage them to listen to what their bodies are saying when it comes to food and hunger, and take the tumultuous ride through puberty and all those changes with them, hand in hand.  Food is not a positive substitute for an understanding ear during hard times but damn, sometimes chocolate CAN solve everything.  Talk about bodies and sizes together, about the family history of big folk and how it was a positive thing, it still IS a positive thing.  Have some fat art in the house (Rubens is a good start) and be honest about how you feel about your own body.  It's not an easy road but ultimately it is the one that's 'best', if I can dare to say such a thing. To love, honour and cherish the body you have and the person you are is the best thing you can ever teach your child.

Go Back

Comments for this post have been disabled.