Last week my daughter and I had the talk. Not THE talk but the other talk, about developing a healthy lifestyle. This is the worst subject in the world to me to have to discuss with my daughter. I just wrote about society pushing the perfect body image onto us; so the last thing in the world I want to do is to force feed that same perfection idea into a 13 year old girl’s head. But this is what I do believe, this balanced plan of living is so much easier to attain and maintain if it is taught to us from a young age. I care about my child’s future in all kinds of ways, just as any parent does. Are they happy, content, healthy, active, learning, ambitious, and all of that good stuff that we wish for our children? These are all the questions running through my head when I am gearing up to have this discussion with my daughter.
So I started off by asking her, “are you happy?” Her face dropped and she lowered her head and I knew I had something besides the answer; I had a responsibility as her mother to face head on what she was going through instead of sugar coating it or offering to take her shopping. So we talked. I discussed my concerns and she discussed the feelings she was going through growing up, being in Junior High, and coming to recognize just how skin deep the world can feel sometimes. Together, we made some decisions. Decisions that required action and then we took that action.
Yesterday, we went to a boxing class together for the first time. Truth be told, she went begrudgingly and with a little bit of an attitude. I thought, “oh no...she is gonna hate this and me.” Class started and about fifteen minutes into it I looked over at her, and realized that her face was intent, determined, and she wore the tiniest hint of a smile. Thirty minutes after that, I had lost all motivation and with sweat dripping down my forehead, I told her, “hey if you can’t finish, just let me know and we can leave.” She looked at me, sweat dripping down her forehead and told me, “no, this is awesome!” It had been forever since I saw or heard my kid tell me anything was awesome. I also felt this sense of belonging with my daughter that I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
"I get so caught up in my own attempt to keep myself motivated, I forget that a healthy lifestyle is a Family Affair."
Quick food is such a tempting answer when feeding my kids but the effects are the same as it is for me. My children are the future and their health is dependant on me at this stage of their life. If I teach them now, if they practice what they learn for the upcoming years, then the odds are with them that they will be able to live this balanced, healthy lifestyle. My daughter’s look of empowerment when she was hitting the crap out of that bag was proof enough for me. She is eating better, exercising, having fun, and participating in life. I am there to remind her that this will never be done perfect and it doesn’t have to be done perfect. Only a week later since THE talk and she is happier, and in return so am I.