Your Mom...

Somethin' for the Kiddies....

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Journey We Must All Take...

I have probably started and stopped this post in my head over 50 times. Since I have a daughter, I find that you almost have to go forward in your mind to the hell that is painful female adolescence. And then you just hope that it is as painless for your daughter as possible. will surely be painFUL, as they always are. And she will learn and grow and develop into the girl she is supposed to be in her wonderful life. What was most painful for me, Lucy?
It probably started in the 6th grade when I was in a friendship with two other girls. The other 2 were from public schools (transfered that year to my small, one hallway, parochial school). They were interesting and different than the other 29 kids I had been looking at for 6 years. We talked about things like when your period would start (mine had not, theirs had...intriguing...), who had kissed a boy (they both had...I was years away from that happening...more intrigue...), and what boy we wanted to "go with" (I thought that meant holding hands with Sidney Vanslyke during a film in religion class).
But then the girls would do mean things, like not include me in something, or not invite me to things. I used to cry and be sad and feel left out. And then they transfered again and we lost touch, but I always remembered they taught me about Teen Beat magazine and how to make out with a picture of Kirk Cameron.
And then there was 7th and 8th grade dances...and let me make note that these were held in the community room of our church with chaperones who would separate kids if they danced too close together. Well, sadly, I was not one of the cool kids being pulled apart. I was the sad one in the ladies bathroom, crying because it was 10:45 p.m. and my Dad was picking me up soon and no one had (yet again) asked me to dance because I was 5' 7" and taller than every boy in class.
High school was a turning point for me...while I was self-conscious, like every girl in school, I always felt pretty decent about myself. One thing that made all the difference for me: I was good at sports. And at my high school, if you were good at sports, you were pretty much in. I found my group of friends, I stayed away from the "crazy party crowd" and had fun eating at McDonalds and going to movies with the low key crowd. Oh pleeaassseee, Lucy, be into the low key crowd.
I could make people laugh and would use that to my advantage. I am sure people saw my sense of humor as possible high self-esteem. Maybe that's what it was...or maybe it was my defense mechanism if I felt self-conscious. I pretty much did the things I enjoyed and thought were fun, despite what was cool or uncool. I never thought I was a glamour queen, but felt good about my body in relation to playing sports, etc. Who needed a string bean to "box out" 6 foot girls under the rim, I ask you? My booty was put to good use!!
College was more of the same. Until Junior year, when I left the dorms, turned 21 years old and didn't know how to cook a single item. By Christmas, I had gained (literally) 40 pounds in one semester and couldn't squeeze into my size 14 jeans anymore. I remember the day and pulling the jeans up my thigh, even as I type this. I remember thinking, hmmm...I guess I have gained some weight. I better work on that. That was literally THE moment I became body conscious and started looking at myself as "a fat girl."
Looking back, I am so glad I had such great self-esteem growing up. I am so glad I didn't start to feel bad about myself until age 21. I'm not sure how I avoided it, but I can only wish that Lucy feels good about herself all those years. God knows you hear stories now about girls calling themselves "fat" at age 8 and asking their moms to put them on diets. It's sickening, really.
How'd I lose the weight, you ask? Left college, moved to Chicago. Had no money and no car. Walked everywhere and ate when I was hungry. Lost 60 lbs. in about a year. It took a while but it has stayed off for almost 11 years, and I lost more along the way.
Since losing the weight, I would say I definately have great self-esteem. My motto is: everything in moderation and if you always keep moving, you will look and feel great. This has remained true for me all these years.
So how will I help my kids with this situation? I will teach them how to cook, and we will eat healthy meals at our house. We will be active and I will show them, by example, how exercise can be a fun part of daily life. And of course, I will love it if they are into sports - because I really feel like it helps you in every way growing up (learning leadership, team-building, being healthy, self-esteem). AND - the most important of all - I will encourage them to do the things THEY are interested in and think are fun - not just what is "the cool thing to do."
So I'm not really sure if this post is about me or about what I want to do for my kids...just a story of my journey. A story I think Lucy, in particular, may find interesting someday. I hope her grown-up self is happy as a clam with herself and her life and has nothing but positive (or if not positive, at least funny) memories of that painful adolescent time that none of us would want to ever relive!


At 8:26 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

So glad to be raising strong, healthy, spunky daughters together! (We will definitely need a support group for the hellish teen years . . .)

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Megz said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.
If I were raising a daughter (or daugters), I'd want to be doing it just like you...or at least in a way that's quite similar. I admire so many of the things you do with Lucy...but sometimes it's the things you don't do, that I see so many moms of girls these days doing--often in order to feel "cool" themselves--that I admire most.
You are a strong momma, and know who you are.
You my bitch.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger amanda said...

I think it's so important to be a good example to your children by staying active and eating right. As well as having a good attitude about yourself and your body. Especially when you have girls.

It's good to hear another mom say positive things about herself and her lifestyle, rather than complain about being fat.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Photo

I'm a 39 year old stay-at-home mom. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. I have lived in the big city and in the mountains, but am happy to be back in the Midwest, raising the fam. I enjoy laughing, wine, bad karaoke, US Weekly, running, cemetaries, cheese sticks and short hair-dos. In my previous life, I was class-clown and a wanna-be comedian. In my professional life, I'm a journalism major with 10 years of marketing and PR experience. I dream of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live and working at Disney World as Snow White.

Powered by Blogger