Wednesday, November 14, 2012
This morning, my little man, at 5 years old, wanted to get up early and go to the school Turkey Trot and run a mile. I was thrilled by this, and of course, we went! What I didn't realize is that he thought there was going to be a prize at the end. And there was... there was a raffle. And of course, he didn't win the raffle. I tried the old "we are all winners! We ran the race!" Arms crossed, and the big lip came out. "I tried to explain this, Joshua. Not everyone is going to win a prize" Tears tremble on the lashes. "Tonight is Wednesday. Wednesday is the night Mommy makes dessert, at least there's that today." and then in my head I have my "AWWW.... CRAP!" moment. The moment that I realize I am perpetuating the curse of emotional food dependency.
I did not want to be this kind of parent. Yet, it appears that I AM that kind of parent. I was raised this way... and it lead to obesity that I have been fighting against my whole adult life. I swore I wouldn't raise my kids that way. Yet, here I am... offering treats when tears fill their eyes.
I recognize it now at least. Hopefully, I haven't done too much damage... because, honestly... I don't think I've been doing it all his life. Probably just the last few months as his life has become more and more challenging. With learning to live with a little sister, going to school, having to do homework, life for the little guy is a heck of a lot harder than it was even 6 months ago. And I suspect that is when I started doing this.
I can change. I can work at meeting his emotional needs in non food ways. I can meet his needs with hugs and kisses. I can teach him that disappointment is natural and it is okay to feel sad about not winning a prize. I can let him know that we can do special things that don't involve food.
After all... the prize he wanted to win was a movie ticket. I SHOULD have said, "You don't need to win a raffle to go to the movies. We can do that anyway." If he expresses continued disappointment tonight, that IS what I am going to say.
It's time for a change. It's time I stop rewarding us with food. (Honestly, rewarding with food is probably a huge part of the reason I was plateaued for ages. Then after I had a good scale victory, I promptly gained it back, because i rewarded my hard work with food.) It's time to stop perpetuating the curse.
Time to change.