My husband’s affair began after he received some really bad news from his Doctor. These things happen. I had the proof! Crumpled receipts from fancy restaurants and out of the way cafes; unanswered calls; and worst of all, excessive gym workouts after a long day at work.
At first I was angry, and I wanted to confront him, but I thought it might be better to see how far he would go. It was easy, and I can’t think of how long I played his game. I do know that it took every fiber of my being to not lash out and demand the truth. Instead, I forced something – I don’t know what it was – back inside of me…smoothed it out and kept on going. (more…)
I’ve always enjoyed eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis. Taking good care of the one and only body I’ve been entrusted with just feels good, and being able to run around and have fun with my family feels even better. During my first pregnancy, many moms warned me that my kids would never eat the healthy food that I keep in my house. Viennas, biscuits [cookies] and fish fingers would soon become our new household staples. “It’s all they’ll eat,” they said. I just shrugged, smiled, and refused to budge. How on earth have we come to believe that nutritious, delicious foods are somehow inferior to, or less tasty than, overly-processed, unhealthy products?
And since when are kids the dictators?
This is the second post of a two-part series. To read part I of this post, please click here
It was my fourth birthday party. Since we were moving to Brazil soon, it was also a farewell party, and a big one. It was the only big birthday party I have had in my entire life. I remember it was held at some sort of club, there were a lot of people and a hired caterer (something almost unthinkable for my mother!) And then there was the clown. And he wanted to paint my face.
I was completely and irrationally terrified as only a four-year-old can be. While most of the other children were loving it all, I wanted nothing to do with the clown and his face paint (and certainly not on my face!). My party was ruined. In fact, I hid in the kitchen the entire time.
I don’t know exactly who stayed with me in the kitchen, but I don’t think it was either of my parents – at least not all of the time. Of course they were probably running around organizing things and tending to the guests. What really comforted me at that moment was the food, more specifically the dozens of intricately decorated mini-ice cream cakes. I recall later telling someone that the good side of the party was that I had stayed close to the food the entire time.
Although I hadn’t thought of it in a while, this story is not something that had been forgotten or hidden in my mind, as it has been told and retold over the years by my mother. The interesting detail that came up now was that of the ice cream cakes. When I remembered the ice cream cakes I felt like I could eat a ceiling-high pile. I felt like I had been looking for them my entire life. It was such a visceral craving it felt like nothing else could fill up my void except for those ice cream cakes. Right now writing this I want those ice cream cakes so badly it almost hurts.
It is interesting because here in Brazil ice cream cakes are rare – I believe I have only seen them for sale once in the more than 30 years I have lived here. I don’t know why this particular detail only came up so strongly now, nor what has been triggering this strong need for comfort and protection, which originally was a need to be shielded from someone scary (the clown) who wanted to do something I did not want to do (paint my face).
I don’t know if this is related, but it is also funny because I was never a big fan of makeup. Also, once when I was six and went through a brief period of interest for makeup, I got a kit of child makeup and ate several of the flavored lipsticks that came with it!
Perhaps this story will bring about significant change in my relationship with food, perhaps not, but it does bring up several issues related to my relationship with my own children.
For instance, it has reminded me that no matter how I try, it is impossible to protect them from every traumatic incident or foresee the lasting effect of seemingly small events on their lives. On the other hand, it is also a strong reminder not to belittle the things that upset them – what might seem insignificant or minor to me may be a huge deal to them and I must give them the best emotional support we can at all times.
Please share your stories about your relationship with food. Do you interfere in your children’s relationship with food? Do you actively foster a healthy relationship with food in your home?
This is the continuation of an original post to World Moms Blog published by our writer in Brazil and mother of three, EcoZiva. You can read Part I here.
The image in this post is credited to Chris Martin. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I live in Kimberley, the diamond capital of South Africa. Kimberley is a smallish, dusty town that gets extremely hot in summer – living here sometimes requires a good sense of humour, ha! I was born and raised just a short distance from here – in Bloemfontein in Central South Africa.
What language(s) do you speak?
Our home language is Afrikaans, but I’m fluent in English as well. South Africa has 11 official languages, plus a number of unofficial ones, so I’m really far behind as far as that goes!
When did you first become a mother?
I was blessed with a beautiful, peaceful little girl at the beginning of 2012 at the age of 34. My son, a busy, happy little guy, was born 22 months later at the end of 2013. It’s been an overwhelming, busy and blessed two-and-a-half years – what an amazing adventure!
Is your work: stay-at-home mom, other work at home or do you work outside the home?
I’m in the very privileged position to work from home as an ecologist. I feel extremely blessed to be able to be here for my kids all day (we have a nanny who looks after them while I work) and be able to do a job that I love.
Why do you blog/write?
Writing is my passion – I love, love, love it! Combining writing with my other passions, namely my kids, running and healthy living, is pure bliss.
How would you say that you are different from other mothers?
I’m quite a health nut! At the age of two-and-a-half my daughter has never seen or tasted something like a soda and very rarely eats junk food – we just don’t keep it in our house. She and her brother both love fruits and veggies – perhaps because it’s all they know? I also love running with both kids in our double jogging stroller – it’s one of our favourite things to do!
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
There are so many! Keeping them safe in a country known for its high crime rate; teaching them to value and accept themselves in a society where pressure is immense to be and look a certain way; teaching them to respect others in a world where respect for others is on the decline; teaching them to be active and take care of their bodies in a world where technology makes everything so easy… The list goes on and on. Only by grace!
How did you find World Moms Blog?
I love reading about other mothers’ experiences on this crazy adventure called motherhood. An online search led me to World Moms Blogs, where I’ve found so many inspirational stories about moms from all over the globe – I love it!
This is an original, interview post for World Moms Blog from our new writer in South Africa and mum of 2, Karien Potgieter. You can read more about Karien’s running adventures through life at her personal blog: Running the Race
Motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. Raising children makes life full. I am raising my children in India and I feel that the environment in India helps a lot in inculcating a strong set of values.
I read a lot about the many ways children are raised in various parts of the vast Indian subcontinent. Here are some of the enriching reasons I find raising a child in India so wonderful:
1. Family Help: India is a country where the joint family system is prevalent. Children grow up having a lot of fun surrounded by generations of Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins. This helps the child in her personal growth and instills great concepts like teamwork and adjusting to different kinds of people, with different mindsets. It also helps a child understand how to receive and give unconditional love.
Sadly, the joint family is breaking up nowadays and giving way to nuclear families. The nuclear family comprises of just the husband, wife and children. Sometimes, the husband’s parents come to stay. This helps build a strong bond between the children and the grand parents, which should be encouraged. The child will learn to respect traditional values which are an integral part of the Indian social fabric.
2. Learning to Respect Your Elders: Indian children are taught to respect their elders and extended family at a young age. Being around so many family members, children learn to show respect and love to one and all when they grow up. Some communities in India make it compulsory for the young people to touch the feet of the elders as the mark of reverence.
This custom is rarely found in any other culture across the world. This custom is instilled in the child’s mind from a very young age and it becomes second nature. This custom hasn’t changed even after western ideas and practices stealthily crept into India.
3. Kids Are Taught How to Save: Children in India are taught to save and not spend unnecessarily. Due to the conservative economy, Indian children learn at a very young age to prioritise their expenses. They learn to buy things which will give them value for money.
Nowadays many banks offer the option to open minor accounts for very small children. Instead of having children save their pocket money in piggy banks, they can save it in real banks. This teaches the child banking procedures at a very early age. Children can even maintain a separate copy for calculating the total expenditure. This will teach the child that it is not good to waste money.
4. Family Values: Children are inculcated with strong family values as they grow up among numerous family members. These family values help develop strong moral fiber. In the long run, they help in creating a strong personality which helps in their growth.
5. Character Development: Character defines how the child leads a holistic life. Parents in India work hard on character building for their child. Since all parents’ desire that their child grows up to become an honest and good human being.
6. Spiritual Discipline: Indian children are raised with enormous spiritual discipline. India is the land for spiritual growth and developing the spiritual qualities in a child helps him/her grow up to be a better individual. Children are taught about the importance of religion and customs. They are also taught to respect other religions as well, since the common idea of all religion is to achieve peace, moral strength and happiness.
7. Freedom When They Play: There is no requirement for an organized play time. A child will always find a group of children playing outside his house. So they can always find fun. They can step out any moment and experience a joyous playtime. Open spaces or children’s parks are still there and are not encroached by developmental activities and high rises.
8. Sharing and Caring: There is a lot of sibling bonding in Indian families. Parents teach children tolerance towards each other, love and patience. By sharing and caring for each other, this turns them into well-adjusted human beings.
9. Celebrating Traditions: India has one of the richest cultures which dates back more than 5000 years. So India is a land of festival and colors, cliché as it may sound, it is true. These celebrations are elaborate. All the kids are involved in the celebration of the festivals with the other children in the community. The children celebrate the festivals with their families and extended families.
10. Healthy Eating Habits: Emphasis is laid on eating healthy food. Children are allowed to eat junk food once in a while, but mothers cook at home. They are happy to feed the children with home cooked food. This makes the child health conscious. Mothers teach their children to choose healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. This also increases their knowledge about what is good for them.
The above stated facts hold true for a small portion of the Indian population, as the phrase goes ‘the privileged few’. Economically, India has progressed considerably in the last 60 years. The bigger picture, however, is quite different: a farmer hangs himself from a tree because he cannot provide for his family; a child is shunned from temples and public places due to his lower caste label; the rampant poverty in villages and lack of health amenities lead to reduced life expectancy; more children are seen carrying bricks and working in factories than in classrooms. These are children who don’t have access to formal education at all.
But for increasingly more kids, growing up in India is a blissful experience which helps them develop into amazing individuals. The calmness of spirit and the enriching environment in India is what gives these children an opportunity to explore life and themselves. The liveliness of the child is based on the amazing cultural forum that the Indian child inherits.
In contrast, malnourished children peddle the streets and somehow make a living. They are deprived of things that my child claims as basic rights. We have small children selling chai when they should be drinking a warm glass of milk instead. Yet from children like these, a leader has emerged – Narendra Modi. The contradictions and ironies of my country keep me enthralled. I trudge forward in earnest hope that my child will triumph in all spheres of her life.
Also, the technological development and fast paced life have made us so busy that we are finding less and less time for each other but still Indians never forget to smile at one another. Children brought up in India will never lose heart, since they have learned to struggle and attain victory in all fields of life. But to make that happen, we need to remember the wisdom Dr. Seuss imparted:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — The Lorax
The image used in this post is credited to Ryan Ready. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
This is a first-time, guest post from Aradhana, a mother in India. Aradhana also is a passionate writer, who focuses on topics like yoga, wellness, health and lifestyle. She has contributed posts to Natural News, Wiki How, MomJunction, and Elephant Journal. Through her writings, she hopes to motivate people to develop healthy habits and adopt natural ways of living to achieve sound health.
I have been an emotional eater for over two decades and over the past six years or so – when I became fully aware of the matter – I have approached it from multiple angles and using all sorts of techniques. I have worked on issues related to my father’s death when I was a teenager, my relationship with my mother and childhood issues of all sorts. I have undergone several different types of therapy, from the more traditional ones to art therapy, Gestalt therapy, family constellations and energy psychology. I have used EFT, NLP, reiki, homeopathy, ThetaHealing and many other alternative treatments.
The positive side has been that I have learned a lot throughout this process. Trying to create a healthier relationship with food has undoubtedly been what has most helped me stay on my personal/spiritual growth path over the past few years.
Emotional eating is a complex issue that can have multiple causes. These causes generally carry specific purposes which might still “serve” the emotional eater in certain ways, such as eating for a sense of comfort or protection or even to “numb” oneself of difficult feelings. Thus, they can be complicated to release unless the person becomes aware of the underlying events that gave food such emotional significance and are able to let go of that.
For instance, it might be that, as a child, someone gave the person something sweet every time he/she was upset, so the person developed the habit of eating sweets every time negative emotions come up. Letting go of that habit would then involve things like: becoming aware of the pattern and how it began, finding ways to heal the inner child that is used to being given sweets instead of the true attention or emotional support they need when negative emotions come up, and realizing that there are now adult ways of dealing with negative emotions.
Additionally, I believe we can only stop emotional eating when we truly want to. It is not like one consciously wants to continue having an unhealthy relationship with food (although one could, as surrender can also be a good tool!) but it can take time to become aware, deal with and let go of the multiple unconscious blocks around the pattern.
In my case, for example, I recognize that I have frequently side stepped certain issues and have not gone as deep as I could in certain treatments. On the other side, respecting our pace and giving ourselves the time to deal with the often painful issues – as opposed to judging ourselves and making ourselves wrong for “failed” attempts – is essential.
In my case, after three years of great improvement, my second pregnancy (which ended up in a miscarriage), followed by the pregnancies and births of my two youngest children, brought my emotional eating back to square one.
It was no surprise to me that pregnancy would once again bring up issues that would be difficult for me to deal with, but I expected that things would get better after the babies were born and began to get older. However, even though my youngest is now 16 months old things have worsened terribly and over the past few weeks I have gained more than 5 kg (11 lbs).
I have still not figured out what is triggering this new fallback, yet while using a combination of the techniques I have learned over the years, a story I hadn’t thought of for many years came to mind. I will tell that story in the next part of this post.
TO BE CONTINUED…
And you? Please share your stories about your relationship with food. Do you interfere in your children’s relationship with food?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in Brazil, Ecoziva.
The image used in this post holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.