I am an emotional eater.
Give me any stressful situation and I will have us at a drive thru taco truck for nachos in less than 2 minutes. I’m going to get a little dark here, but stay with me, we can make it through. When I look back on any traumatic event in my life, nachos were there for me. Grandpa put on hospice? Nachos. Dad ran away and our childhood home is in foreclosure? Nachos. Terrible breakup with your boyfriend of 4 years? Nachos. Overwhelmed with a colicky 4 month old who won’t stop screaming no matter what and hasn’t slept in 3 days? You’ve got it, Nachos had my back. It can be fun to joke about, but food being a source of comfort seems to be as natural as anything else on earth, I mean, why else would something from the earth cause such a emotional reaction in our soul? The problem is when it becomes your main source of comfort, which, when life gets overwhelming and your cups aren’t filled, we hit one source of comfort in an unhealthy level. When you don’t have kids, your faults seem more like spicy little quirks you may have, they make you a little prickly sometimes, but overall they’re not going to hurt anyone. And then you have children.
I’ll admit, we’ve been having some rough days over here at our house the last few months. And, tonight was definitely informative for me. My almost 3 year old had an overstimulated meltdown because she couldn’t temperature regulate, so she lost it with everyone, including kicking me in the chest while we were laying around hanging out on the living room floor. This wasn’t a tap, it was a strong roundhouse kick with follow through. It definitely knocked the wind out of me. My husband gently swooped her up and informed her that she had hurt me and if she had noticed. At that point, you could just see the fear and shame filling in her eyes, at that point, no disciplining is going to occur, it would just be punishment. We changed the scene and I broached the topic later. She brought me a bag of chocolate chips and told me we would feel better. Now, at this point I should probably admit that she mimics behavior to a spooky degree. This kid is always watching, always listening, and always replicating. I asked her if she wanted a couple and she said she did, so I gave her a couple. Then I wrapped up the bag and put it in the freezer. At that point, I realized, I need to make dramatic change in how I handle stress to model self care for my toddler. No more sneaking chocolate chips when it’s been a tough morning/day/bedtime routine/week.
This is of course applicable for parents of all genders, but as a mother raised in the generation of social media blooming with MySpace, watching Facebook become a thing, and Instagram models come out of literally nowhere, I’m keenly aware that my daughters will have more than just TeenBop and Seventeen magazine telling them how to dress, how to look, and how to be. It’s their peers. Which is insanely more potent, and in turn, dangerous.
Everyday We Have a Chance to Model Better Behavior
To me, one of the most genuinely interesting aspects to being a parent is that we want to raise children who don’t have to recover from their childhood, yet in order to do that we have to face our own demons, dismantle all of our own personal triggers, and treat our children as partners in showing them what it’s like to change your own behaviors, not be perfect, but always be perfect in love for them.
So, knowing this, tonight we made a cup of sweet orange tea with some honey and cream, sat on the couch in our pajamas, and watched an episode of WellieWishers. Connection over Nachos. Nourishment over Nachos. New traditions over Nachos.