I grew up in a house where weight wasn’t talked about. My mum was born with Spina Bifida and had so many restrictions on her physical ability as a child that she simply didn’t allow a pity party when it came to me and my brother’s physical appearance. My parents talked to us about the function of our bodies, not what they looked like. So luckily, that’s how I have always looked at my body. It does what I need in order to be able to live the life I want…I look after it and therefore I don’t think about the physical appearance of it.
When I became a parent I swore I would talk to my children the same way…and I do. I told them that ‘fat’ isn’t a word we use in our house – basically they think it’s a swear word now. Instead I told them if we want to describe something that is large we will say ‘swollen’. Please don’t ask me how I came up ‘swollen’ as the substitute word. It was obviously a weak parenting moment where I was caught off-guard and now it’s cemented in my five year old’s mind. Forever.
Then came the moment where I was really punished for my choice of words. The other day when my son was leaving the school yard he wanted to show me a new friend he met that day. He’s a new little preppy and meeting new boys is SUPER exciting to him. I couldn’t see who he was talking about so he said ‘mum, he’s the one with the swollen tummy.’ I gasped…out loud. He looked at me like he’d said the word ‘fuck’ a million times. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say…so I said ‘oh he looks nice honey.’
I feel like I just had an epic parenting fail. When I gathered myself later I told him we can describe people using other words like the colour of the shoes they are wearing or. Now he makes me look at ALL of his new friends shoes so I remember who is who.
I royally fucked this one up. I’m not sure I can fix this without him (or me) overthinking it so I think I’m going to leave it alone and just hope he doesn’t point and say ‘you know, the one with the swollen tummy’ again.
Your thoughts are always welcome! But let me down gently on this one. HA!