Guilt tripping

It was politely suggested during a pow-wow with the youngest’s teacher that she might be juggling too many after-school activities.

Guilty as charged.

The youngest is a pocket dynamo. Her average week looks like this: saxophone lessons, gymnastics, swimming lessons, netball training (in season, with game on Saturday), and two separate skipping sessions (double dutch and speed).

All activities have been self initiated rather than any stage-mum tendencies on my part.

And there is NO WAY she wants to give any of them up for homework. Well, maybe the swimming lessons, at a pinch.

pool1

Selfishly, I don’t want her to give up the swimming lessons. They’ve become part of our weekly girly bonding time. We splash around together, they have their lessons while I shower, then I natter with another school mum (who was unfamiliar with my back story until I gave her the top-line highlights this week – I’ve got it down to a five-minute bombshell – she was polite enough to admire my positive outlook rather than running away screaming TMI, TMI at the top of her voice), then I get the kids some fish and chips before they go for another dip.

pool2

I feel guilty about the fish and chips – all that fat and not a speck of green – but I figure they’re getting a good two-hour workout in the pool, so a little junk can’t hurt.

It’s a sensitive subject, however, because I once wrote a blog called  Am I a bad mother? It was about the fallout from a blog called “I’m glad my kids aren’t fat.” I wrote the latter after visiting a public swimming pool, where I was disturbed by all the morbidly obese kids and the mountains of junk food their parents were stuffing into them.

(Says the weekly fish and chips at the pool mum.)

The latter was republished on Mamamia, which exposed me to a whole hell storm of abuse.

It even inspired a blog by Kate Gordon, called I want my girl to be joyful, not “thin.”

Kate and I have since become friends and she’s been absolutely gorgeous to me during my separation from Husband, but it was a pretty rocky way to start our relationship.

Some highlights …

“The article has already generated nearly a hundred comments on Mamamia.com.au, some agreeing with the author’s stance, others vehemently arguing that her preoccupation with her children being “thin” is, in fact, a much more damaging example to set them than her self-confessed few extra kilograms …

“My girl will eat vegetables aplenty, and lean meat (no, despite my own choices, I will not raise her vegetarian), and grains and eggs and cheese and all the good things but she will occasionally eat pizza too. And fish and chips and sausage rolls and jelly slices and gosh-darn fairy bread because I remember eating all those things as a kid with such joy.

“My girl will experience joy.

“Because, unlike what the author of this article contends, food doesn’t always have to be just about sustenance. It can be about fun, too …

“I’m working on it so, when she’s older, she never feels like the children of this author will feel when they read this article – that what they weigh is more important to their mother than the joy they feel.”

As I pointed out at the time, Housegoeshome regulars know I’m not a) preoccupied with my children being thin, b) intent on treating food as sustenance instead of fun, and c) making my children feel that what they weigh is more important to me than the joy they feel.

And the thought I might be a), b), c) or d) all of the above, horrifies me. (Kate was equally horrified once she got to know me and HouseGoesHome better … that’s the mixed blessing of an out-of-context blog being shared.)

I will miss our pool arvos should those lessons go by the wayside. Because I want my girls to experience joy. And it’s not about the food we eat or the exercise we get, it’s about the laughter and warmth when we’re having fun together.

Song of the day: Belinda Carlisle “Heaven is a place on earth”

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4 thoughts on “Guilt tripping

  1. I think there’s a difference with wanting your kids to be a healthy weight (which you want) and wanting them to be thin. It’s irresponsible to feed your kids a steady diet of over processed fat and sugar. A treat a few times a week is fine. I remember going to an early morning basketball game with my kids and watching an entire family chowing down on chicken chips and gravy at 8:00 am. My complaint was that the ‘sport and fitness’ complex was even selling that type of food at that hour. There are always people ready to criticise anything anyone says on the Net.

    • Ah Kate, I am so sorry to have even mentioned it again. I regretted it the moment I pressed send. Please don’t worry – it definitely doesn’t need to be one of your greatest regrets. Freedom of speech is what makes the world go round.

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