Dinner crisis averted. The kids came to the table hungry and eager to eat. I sat down with my spinach taco salad and was ready to enjoy a lovely meal, basking in my accomplishment.
“Mom, are you eating a salad again?” She said disappointed.
“Yes with all the same fixings as your quesadilla, just no tortilla.”
“Why? What’s wrong with a tortilla?”
I felt I had to hit a homerun with my answer. If I answered wrong, she’d have bad body image for the rest of her life. If I answered right, she would grow into a stable, fit, healthy woman. The pressure made me momentarily illogical.
How to answer your kid’s questions about the changes happening to their Mommy can be stressful. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
• Define health in honest, simple terms. Try one of these:
– “Being healthy is when your body is working correctly.”
– “Being healthy is when you are not sick or hurt.”
– “Being healthy feels good! You feel awake and like having fun!”
– “To be healthy you eat the food your body needs and exercise.”
– “Being healthy means not eating more than what your body needs.”
– “Mommy’s body needs different things to be healthy than your body does. Mommy’s body doesn’t need a tortilla tonight but it does need some yummy spinach. Want to try some?”
• Get crafty. Explain the food groups by drawing a food pyramid. Use the play food and sort it into food groups.
• Eat a Rainbow. Start a family challenge and see if each person can eat something of every color of the rainbow. I knew my six year old was getting it when she said, “I didn’t eat anything purple today!”
• Name that emotion. Kids might not like everything about your shift. Bring light to those feelings by naming them. “You seem to resent staying in the gym nursery tonight.” “You seem disappointed Mommy isn’t having ice cream with you.”
Learning about health is a process. It is not an event or a singular conversation you need to have. When you discuss your shift honestly and simply over time, your children ultimately feel comfortable and at ease about your health and their own.
Katherine Howell, M.S. is an education professional, turned Stay at Home Mom of four young children. Katherine shifted from being a woman who put herself on hold for her family, to one that now views motherhood as an opportunity to unleash your deepest potential. You can read more about how to be a smarter, stronger and healthier Mom at talesofamodernmom.com.