Thursday, December 6, 2012

Image and Food Issues: Even Mom's Have Them

I recently was involved in a conversation that focused on body issues, the media and food. This subject is a trigger for me, which I didn't realize how deeply it effected me until too late. First I'm going to address the media and body issues subject. My thoughts may not be well received. How the media and advertisers approach young girl, well all is wrong, but as I see it, they are marketing to a certain group of children with certain types of parents. They are not marketing to my children, and those of many of my friends. Why? Because we hold higher ideals and standards. We make conscious decisions in every aspect of our children's lives- what they watch, what they play with and what we buy for them. We are not their target market. Their target market are those children with parents in the main stream. TV is a staple, toys are bought and disposed of on a whim, as a bribe, without a thought to what it is their are buying. And these parents, in my experience (because I was one of them in the beginning of my parenting journey) aren't really into changing their ways, and don't really care as long as their kids are happily playing. Marketers know what sells because they test their products and their ads first, on their target market. And they are getting their targets somehow, that somehow is with parent permission. These parents are allowing their children to be the guinea pigs for all children. Marketers are doing their job. Is it right? No but I feel its more on those parents that allow their children to be test subjects than on those doing their job. If parents refused to participate then there would be no market to test. This may seem like a crass way of seeing it but I'm honestly tired of the blame being shifted from where it really lies- on the parents. Parents are the gate keepers and if more choose a different path than things would change faster. All we can really do is educate and raise our children in how we feel is the "right" way. But this is not actually the topic of the conversation that is triggering for me.

Body and food issues. Many adults can move past their insecurities as they age. Becoming more comfortable with themselves. I have not.

Its not that I think myself ugly, but I do not like the way my body looks. I've tried the "be proud of your body- think of the wonderful things it has done" (meaning grow, give birth and nurse 8 babies) frame of mind. But really that only can go so far, when I then see reality that I am overweight and out of shape. And I don't have the determination nor the self-discipline to do anything about it. On top of all of that, is the confusion I have over FOOD.

This is really a hold up- FOOD. What to eat (organic), what not to eat (GMOs), high (healthy) fat, low calorie, low (all) fat, dairy-free, gluten free, GAPS, Paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, protein shakes, diet shakes, the list goes on and on. There's too many "choices". And then on top of all that it's not just about what I'm eating, it's about 7 others too. Making the right food choices is a huge responsibility. Everything you feed your children will shape their lives forever. From their own health as a child, to the choices they'll make. And not everything is available to us.

I live in a place where you can't find one loaf of gluten free bread, or flour of an alternative nature. Buying organic, or even just fresh fruits and veggies is not in our $700/month food budget (yup- $700 for 8 people). We suck at gardening. (Excuse my language.) And so the guilt (for me) reins supreme. I know I'm not doing it right. And I know I need someone to make me a list of meals and food for a good three weeks to get things changing.

So why does this trigger me? Because I feel helpless and powerless in this part of my life. Because I want things to change sooo badly but just can't seem to- whether that's because I'm stuck in a rut, or because I'm too lazy, unmotivated to try. But this all affects how I feel about myself and my own image. And then I seek comfort foods. I would never be able to be bulimic or anorexic, I don't have the self-discipline for it. I'd get hungry and eat, and purging, yeah no, I can't make myself vomit. Would I say I have a problem with over eating? No I eat small portion sizes. I hate over eating and the feeling I get afterwards. But I do consul myself with "treats" or "bed time snacks"- usually unhealthy, high carb foods.

It triggers me because this is the biggest place in my life where I can't find the answers because there are too many. Maybe we eat alright, I know we try. Maybe the thing we, I, need is more exercise. Again that's a self-discipline issue. And a time issue. Exercise takes time in the day. (And yes you may say but even just 10 mins would be good!) Extra time is something I never have- even just 10 mins. Do you know what 4 kids can do in just 5? Well think about that and then double it. Not something I have to give. 10 minutes for a slacker workout for 30 minutes of clean up and damage control. And that's if I'd get a straight 10 mins. So do it when your husband is available to help?! Yup you can bet I have an excuse for way this doesn't happen.

So as you can see, probably by the tone of this post, it's a triggering subject. One I've been battling for years- probably since I was a teen. I admit to being unmotivated and overwhelmed and lacking self-discipline. Those are my biggest flaws in life, my biggest hurdles. And unfortunately I'm not sure how to overcome them by myself, or if I can. And I know I'm passing this all onto my children. So in kicks the mama guilt.

Confessions of a mama.

Now on to a happier, lighter blog.

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