As far as I can recall, I have never lied to my children.
Sure, there’s probably been a “we’re all out of ice cream” or a “the park’s closing” here and there, but generally, I give it to them straight.
Like all bombs, this one was unexpected. In the middle of my getting dinner on the table, my eight-year old daughter lobs this one into the air:
“Mom, how much do you weigh?”
Serving dishes in both hands, without skipping a beat, I throw out a number; it’s a good twenty pounds less than the actual, somewhat rapidly ascending number of late.
“Wow, I think Miss H at school weighs more than that,” she responds, impressed.
Miss H, a gorgeous long-limbed nineteen year old, likely weighs what my left thigh weighs.
“Hmmm,” I answer cheerily, “Well, not everyone can be as fit as your mom.”
I do not, under any circumstances, meet the eyes of my husband during this exchange. I don’t have to. We both know that my daughter has a brain for numbers and whatever number I had thrown out would’ve likely been shared with half the second grade by recess the next morning; I certainly wasn’t going to endure our next field trip lunch being stared down by eight-year olds nodding knowingly while I wolfed down my fruit roll-up.
Really, I do my best to not discuss weight or dieting in front of my kids; we just focus on eating balanced meals and getting plenty of exercise. I don’t vilify any foods. Too much of anything can hurt, I purport; moderation is key.
Of course, I don’t always take my own advice. I’ve gotten, as I approach my forty-second birthday, decidedly fluffy.
I will not make that my daughter’s problem, however. I want her to be free to eat well and without hang-ups about her waistline. I want her to stay in the place she is, for as long as she can: loving her body and thinking it is beautiful and perfect in every way – seeing food as nutrition and delight, seeing exercise as sport, as a fun part of life.
As I prepare to hit the cardio and the yoga a bit harder, to limit the sweets and the sitting, I will keep the motivation for that private. I will let her find her own balance – and her own ways to keep it – without suffering the weight of my journey. I will do all of this, even if it means telling a little – OK, a medium sized – lie.