I’ve been away awhile. Wrestling, the holidays, my youngest son’s birthday and family issues swallowed me whole. I haven’t even seen my best friend who lives five minutes away in so long that I don’t remember when we hung out last.
ALAS! I have emerged from this mess and am writing again!
While 2013 is still hanging on for dear life, it is also still working its horrible mojo on my family, most especially my Jimmy. I just got done ferrying my oldest son back from his wrestling practice and the negativity spewing from his mouth broke my heart. He has convinced himself that he is a terrible athlete.
“Mom, I’m not good at running. I can’t catch a ball. When I play football I can’t run and catch at the same time. I’m just not good at it.” When I countered with some positivity, all I got in response was a shake of his head and the retort, “You don’t understand.”
I know that as a parent of a teenager I’ve entered the land where all education I’ve had previous to this day counts for squat. I know nothing. I live in the land where all comments from me are rendered void simply because they were generated in my head and had the unfortunate luck of spilling from my own lips. I know. This is the plight of every mother of teenage children, but it’s so much more.
First, it simply isn’t true. We’ve enrolled our sons in sports for years, not because we have any dreams of them being multimillion dollar athletes. We did it more to give these balls of energy an outlet other than making me bald. Jimmy began flag football years ago when he was four. In the beginning, he just ran from one end of the field to the other for about 45 minutes, making him blessedly tired. Win in the parent column as far as I’m concerned. A few years back he played flag football again and showed some potential. His coaches even said, “James is our secret weapon. The other kids pay no attention to him because he doesn’t look like an athlete, but he’s exactly where he needs to be.” Was he saying my kid was the next Jerome Bettis? No, just that he got the job done. He wasn’t supposed to be the guy running the ball to the end zone and basking in the glory. He was supposed to be the guy stopping the other team from doing that. Always being the biggest kid in his age group (at 13 he’s a half an inch from 6 feet tall and nearly 200 pounds), I called him Man Mountain. During one play his opponent was running toward him, and like a scene from a comedy, the kid ran head first into Jimmy and bounced off of him and landed flat on his back. Jimmy didn’t even move. Just watched the kid fall. He was supposed to be the mountain and he did just that.
Last Saturday, he had a wrestling tournament. Jimmy opposed a kid who was, admittedly, a dirty fighter, and the ref truly should have disqualified his opponent for just that reason. The match was close and Jimmy lost by one point. ONE POINT. I tried to explain to him that other kids on his team literally got their proverbial butts handed to them, losing by sometimes more than 9 points. It didn’t matter to him that it was a match well fought and a squeaker of a win. All that mattered was the loss. All that mattered was that his opponent won dirty. When I said that it was a close match and that he did a good job, he threw his inhaler and nearly hit someone. I was embarrassed, angry, sad and overwhelmed. All I could say was, “YOU can’t control your opponent. YOU can’t control your ref. You CAN control YOU. And THIS is not control.” After apologizing profusely for what he did, I thought that he didn’t get that temper from me. I am not responsible for that reaction.
However, I am. I’m guilty as charged.
Negative talk. I’ve taught this kid that he must be nice to everyone but himself, not by my words to him but about me.
When I make a quilt, I point out every crooked stitch, every mismatched seam, and every chopped off point. When I cook, I make a list of all the things I should have done better. When I write, I edit at least a hundred times and would edit a hundred more if Jim didn’t take them from me, literally hiding them so I can’t. When someone needs me, I point out every way I failed them and how I could have been a better friend. I’ve given my kid a crash course in How To Be Unkind To Yourself, and sadly, he’s passing with flying colors.
What does all this parenting talk have to do with weight loss?
Negative talk hinders weight loss.
How many times have we tried something on and said one of these phrases?
This makes me look so fat.
My butt looks huge in this!
Ugh, I look horrible.
I look like a sausage squeezed into this thing!
Whoa! Too much cleavage!
Whoa! Too much belly!
God, my legs are fat!
Maybe not those exact words, but you get the idea. Every last one of us does it. We negative talk ourselves right into the warm blanket called low self-esteem, making it easier and okay to lose the fight because, let’s face it, we suck, right?
We need to be kinder to ourselves.
We need to know that we can do it.
We need to know that weight fluctuates, but hard work pays off.
We are beautiful.
We are good at so many things.
Let’s make one of those things that we’re good at be treating ourselves better in 2014. Every day start off by standing in front of the mirror and saying something positive to your reflection. If you can’t do it, have your significant other stand next to you and say it to your reflection. Look into your own eyes when he/she says it, and carry that like a mantra in your head throughout the day.
Be proactive. Love yourself.
I’m headed to the mirror right now with my son. I’m going to tell him something every single day. Maybe he’ll listen and maybe he won’t, but if his head works anything like mine, his mother’s voice will pipe up from time to time. Unlike mine, his mom will be saying positive things, lifting him up.
Lift yourself up, and watch closely. Good things are bound to happen.