Blinded By The Love

Rather than point the finger and blame parents for being the biggest evil-doers in the fight on childhood obesity, I’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt.

It’s always best to be open-minded, right? Sometimes it’s hard… REALLY hard. But the truth is that there is almost always a flip-side to that accusatory inner monologue that’s going on in your head.

So rather than sitting back in our lofty chairs of self-righteous and smug judgeyness, I say let’s stop and ponder for a second, the possible reasons why parents would let their children get fat.

Here’s a few that I came up with:

1. There’s just not enough time in the day

Honestly, I often wonder how parents do it… probably one of the reasons I haven’t yet elected myself fit enough to create a mini-human, much less parent one. Oh the humanity! I have 2 dogs (Daisy Dukes and Jimi Hendrix… two Boston Terriers) and I am almost always wishing they would find ways to pee in the toilet because I resent having to take them downstairs (I live in an apartment) to relieve themselves. Let’s not even discuss how the resentment grows when I have to wake up early (what???) to do that before work. The point is, it sucks.

So then I take that little teeny-tiny responsibility and multiply it by a gajillion and imagine that it might be somewhere in the vicinity of the hecticness a working parent of three must feel like getting their kids off to school before going to work. And that’s not even taking into account the after-school activities that need carpooling, the doctor’s appointments that need coordinating, the groceries that need shopping, and the dinner/tomorrows lunches that need making.

See? I’m exhausted after just writing it…

2. Non-healthy food is easier (& often cheaper)

Let’s play a little game of Choose Your Menu.

Menu One

Breakfast: Toastable frozen pastry
Lunch: School cafeteria burger & fries
Dinner: Frozen cheese & pepperoni pizza

Menu Two

Breakfast: Fresh fruit & oatmeal
Lunch: Whole-wheat turkey sandwich & yogurt
Dinner: Chicken breast, baked potato & steamed veggies

I’m not going to add up calories because there are all kinds of variables that could change the total, and more than that… I’m not a dietitian. I’m also not going to add up the cost because again, that will vary depending on where you live, and more than that… numbers hurt my brain. But maybe you could tell me where Menu One really beats Menu Two.

HINT: Think tic-toc-tic-toc… That’s right, that’s the sound of your day ticking away bringing you back to reason #1.

3. Love is blind

I think there’s this phenomenon that occurs when you agree to parent a mini-human, regardless if you were involved in it’s creation or not. Parents have this ability to look at their children and see perfection. See? They are blinded by the love.

The perfect example I have of this from my own experience is that I happen to know for a fact that I was less than attractive growing up – and this is putting it mildly. I was genetically gifted with a lazy-eye and – it would seem – more teeth than were meant for my mouth. Add to that, a nice generous dose of frizzy red hair and you’ve got the makings of a super-model, right? Ya… right.

lazy-eyed me

Here's a pic of me with the lazy eye, head-gear was still in my future...

So to recap, frizzy red hair, head gear & lazy eye. I remember getting made fun of all the time at school, coming home crying because none of the boys liked me and I got made fun of a lot. And what would my mom tell me?

“But honey, you’re beautiful!”

We laugh about this to this day, but my mom has never stopped insisting that she truly believed that. To the point that I now believe that she believed it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that whether head-geared and lazy eyed or several pounds overweight, I truly believe it can be hard for parents to see their children in the harsh light of reality. Now don’t get me wrong, when I would come home crying having my mom tell me I was beautiful made me feel better, which probably has something to do with why parents are programmed to this love-blindness.

But regardless of that, I’d like to just suggest that maybe this “love is blind” approach is not all it’s cracked up to be. There has to be a point where parents force themselves to truly see their children for who and what they are, especially when not doing so is life-threatening. Thankfully, to my knowledge nobody’s lifespan is shortened directly by a lazy eye and head-gear; however, the same cannot be said for childhood obesity.

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5 thoughts on “Blinded By The Love

  1. oy vey… I’m not even fit to have created a child! lol thank god i have a chef to help with the meals cause my god I can’t cook! well.. fish.. but what two year old likes salmon?.. jeez even eating healthy while pregnant is difficult cause when you’re hungry. You are F***ing starving. and sometimes prep work is out of the question you grab whatever you see and fling it down your gullet to the little person within. Although I hope I can feed her well. I’ll love her even if she is large but man how do you know when to let their weight slide.. or actually talk to a doctor.. especially when they’re young with all this pressure to look a certain way and with eating disorders out there… you want to be the ones they can count on not feel like they’re judged by…

    oy.. parenting.. thank god all she’ll want for the first year is boob.

    • Thanks for your comment, Christine. I hear you on it all!! I have no idea where the line between eating disorder & childhood obesity lives and I totally agree that parents should be a source of constant support. I guess all I’m doing is just asking the questions because I sure don’t have the answers. My best advice would probably be to keep askings these questions to parents that you admire and then, make the decision you feel best about when the time comes.

      Lucky for you, you have a while before you need to think about this.

      : )

  2. Having experienced a child who would eat nothing and a child who would eat almost anything, it is often the child that can “manipulate” the parent with their eating habits – they use this weapon to full advantage, but with patience and persuasion and not getting into a “state” about it, it can be overcome! (Wish I’d known that at the time!! Hindsight etc …..)

    If a loophole exists for a child to manipulate their parents using food, it will be used! However, it may be a health matter that is causing the “eating disorder” and in my case, with one child, it was tonsillitis – constantly for four and a half years! Obviously feeling unwell and nothing tasting good was not an incentive to eat at all!! Once the offending tonsills were removed, hey presto! Now 6’2″ and VERY healthy with it!

    However, you also have to have the right foods in stock and just put them out and do not succumb to sweeties, sweet and fizzy drinks and “bad” food! It is good for the parents too! Children may not like everything you produce, but if you give in to filling them up with the wrong stuff, you will be making a rod for yours and your children’s backs. I shudder at the contents of some of the trolleys in the supermarket – surely, I think, they MUST know that that stuff is rubbish??!!.

    We are bombarded by ads for all this “healthy eating” but really it’s to get us to spend money on so-called “healthy” things we really do not need! The healthy ingredients are out there, not expensive and just need a little inspiration/time to put them together to feed ourselves and our children with. It is NOT expensive to eat healthily! It may be expensive to eat healthily without a little effort, but otherwise, just imagine you are a nutritionist and use your head!! Fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits, crisps etc are NOT necessary – we survived without them! Both my children eat healthily and are now VERY interested in what they eat, as well as watching their wallets! They know what is “wicked” and treats are not excluded, they are just limited (mostly!).

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