When I was 13, I was less than pleasant to be around. Wait, let me modify that. I was a dream in school, an angel to teachers, opened doors for strangers, full of laughter around my friends, saved little ants from certain death by picking them up off the sidewalk and moving them onto the grass … but was a horrible, hormonal, angst-filled monster to my mom. This was a woman who essentially lived her life for me and yet I’d ask her to drop me off three blocks from the mall so no one saw me with her. Or, when she asked me, “What can I make for you for dinner -chicken or pasta?” I'd answer with a dramatic, screechy “Why do you need to know everything about my life?!” Door slam, end scene.
In high school, I was part of a very popular clique of girls – Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, and Jessica. And me. They were all tiny. I was not. They all had thin moms who wore stylish matching tie-dyed tops and leggings decorated with silver puffy paint and had long, permed hair and painted their faces with makeup. My mom didn't. I'll never forget getting in a fight with her and screaming from my twin bed something to the effect of, “Why can’t you look like Jennifer’s mom?!” I was just trying to make her feel bad - about what, I don't know - and it worked: I remember the look of hurt on her face.
Looking back, as we head towards Mother's Day weekend, I am so unbelievably thankful that my mom wasn't like the other moms. First of all, she never, ever, ever made a comment about my weight or body other than telling me I was beautiful. Not when I weighed more than the other girls. Not when I couldn't fit into the popular Guess ankle-zip jeans. Not when I embarked on a crazy “only lettuce” or “only bacon” diet. Not when I would lock myself in the spare bedroom and jump around like a crazy person to my Denise Austin workout videos. Not when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, started taking my medication, and shot up a foot while the number on the scale stayed the same.
Also, when I hugged my mom, she was warm and cuddly. I didn't feel a hard, bony body, like some of my friends may have when they hugged their skinny mothers. My mom wasn’t worried about me messing up her hair. She didn't drag me to any kind of workout class that I didn't want to go to or stick a scale in my bathroom (I did that to myself.)
I started thinking about this when Dara Chadwick recently interviewed me for her superlative blog, You'd Be So Pretty If..., and it inspired me to devote this week’s blogs to all things MOM. Over the next few days, I'll be featuring guest blogs from some of your favorite writers, book reviews and more to the impact our moms have had on our body image and attitude towards dieting and food, and the lessons we hope to pass down to our own daughters.
To begin, jump on over here for a personalized video message courtesy of Carla from MizFitonline.com, who is on a mission to help her young daughter “live her life as comfortable in her own skin as possible.”
Stay tuned - much, much more to come!