When my daughter found out I was giving up sugar, she decided she wanted to do it too. She is 9 and that worries me.
I am scared about whether I am sending her down the same path I went down – making food the centre of her universe and setting her up for a lifetime of blocked and unexpressed feelings.
As a child taken into care at age 5 and adopted at age 7, she already has a lot of feelings to work through – and the big ones haven’t surfaced yet. I worry that she is doing this with me in her efforts to belong. I fear that perhaps I am not doing enough for her to experience that feeling without the need to do the things I do. But I am also mindful that she is not me and I am not her so it is wrong for me to project all of my ‘stuff’ onto her. She says she wants to do it because it will keep her teeth healthy. If there is more to it than that, she either doesn’t know or isn’t saying.
Regardless, the way I see it now is that my role is to bring her on this journey with me in such a way that something good comes out of it and this morning I realised how to do that.
It’s the message behind the efforts.
Every other time I cut alcohol or sugar I did it in an effort to feel good about myself. I did it so that I would love myself and every time I failed, I loved myself a little less. By early adulthood there was almost no love left.
This time, I am doing it because I love myself. I deserve to have a wonderful life with my amazing children and gorgeous husband. Alcohol and my unhealthy relationship with food take some of that from me and I love myself enough to claim it back.
I don’t yet know how to convey this to Mini in age appropriate ways but I know that if she is to do this with me, the story we create together must be one of love, self-respect and self-care.