I’ve been doing a lot of reading and cooking lately.
The books, articles, and blog posts I’ve been reading have focused on raising independent adults and feeding a healthy family.
Here’s what I’ve been learning…
Apparently, it’s never too early to teach kids life skills
I’m reading How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. by Julie Lythcott-Haims*
Despite being less than halfway through, I’m amazed at the things that parents do in the name of helping their kids succeed. I can’t fault the logic behind the desire to do whatever it takes because the world is only going to get more unpredictable…with artificial intelligence, global warming, globalization, etc. And there’s no telling the kind of competitive landscape that our kids would grow into.
So far, I’ve learned that doing whatever it takes, even going as far as clearing any and all obstacles out of a child’s way, does more harm than good. Doing this deprives our kids of the very life skills that will help them be successful.
The book is broken up into four parts:
- What we’re doing now
- Why we must stop overparenting
- Another way
- Daring to parent differently
*H/T to this New York Times Article How Parents are Robbing their Kids of Adulthood for introducing me to this book.
How the book is changing how I do things
I’m still in Part 2, but this has been such a wealth of insights…the biggest takeaway is that the habits that result in overparenting start early and it boils down to doing things that our kids are capable of doing because we don’t want them:
- to make mistakes,
- waste time on “trivial matters” when they could be doing school work,
- and jeopardize their chances of getting into elite schools and becoming “successful.”
It turns out that doing things for them, even when we mean well, sends our kids the message that they aren’t capable and they come to rely on us well into adulthood.
Some of the case studies in the book drive home the dangers of doing this e.g. adults needing their parents to intervene in work situations or not knowing how to ask a stranger for help!
Here’s one thing I’m already doing differently thanks to this book: I’m letting them do some things for themselves. There’s no denying that this takes a lot of time. For example, getting out of the driveway in the morning would go so much faster if I clipped my son into his car seat. But strapping himself in is something he can do. Thanks to How to Raise an Adult, I’ve started forcing myself to sit (somewhat) patiently while:
- he finds all the straps,
- clips in,
- and then I inspect before driving off.
It’s a small action, but how you do anything is how you do everything eh?
Questioning the status quo
Getting older and having a second child has changed my body in ways that I didn’t expect. First, the snap back after baby #2 wasn’t as quick…or should I say isn’t as quick. And the fact that it’s taken longer this time around has invited me to ask some questions:
- While the conversation around losing weight is usually “centered” around health, there’s no denying that there’s an element of not wanting things to change. Why is our culture so uncomfortable with people changing as they grow and age? I find this especially prevalent around cultural expectations for women’s bodies. When a woman doesn’t lose the baby weight, she’s “let herself go?” But when a man gains weight with age “he has a dad bod” even when he doesn’t have a kid. This brings me to a follow up why is the dad bod celebrated while the mom bod isn’t?
- The second question that has come up for me is can you love your body and still want to change it?
Finding the answers I’m looking for has lead to all kinds of places
This second question led me to this great article called The Complicated Reality of Weight Loss in the Body-Positive Movement by Ashley Abramson on Brit + Co.
The question she was addressing in the article boiled down to:
But what if loving my body means changing it? Can I simultaneously make an effort to lose weight for my own physical and mental health, and love my body for what it is?by Ashley Abramson
One of the answers she got:
Focus on loving your body first, and you will nourish it with a lifestyle that promotes lifelong health — which, if your body wants it to, might include weight loss.by Connie Sobczak, the executive director of The Body Positive via Brit + Co
Exploring these questions for myself has lead me to change the way I approach self-care. It turns out that the things it takes to lose weight (eating healthy and mostly whole foods, exercising consistently, getting enough sleep) are the same things required to take care of myself.
So instead of focusing on the outcome (weight loss), I’ve been focusing on the actions and I’ve been happier for it.
The books I’ve been reading in my quest to answer this question for myself have also helped me understand more about the things that I have control over and the things that I don’t.
Here are two books that I’ve read in case you’re interested:
- Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon
- Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook by Ellyn Satter M.S., R.D., L.C.S.W, B.C.D.
Have you ever asked yourself the question “can you love your body and still want to change it?” What answers did you come up with for yourself?
I’ve been doing a lot of internet cooking lately i.e. I do google searches for recipes based on ingredients that I have on hand.
For example, a search for Green Beans and Jalapeno yielded this Bacon, Jalapeno & Garlic Green Beans recipe from Fit Men Cook and it’s going to be on the menu for breakfast tomorrow.
I’ll be serving it with some fresh baked rolls…I’m hoping it tastes good. But can you really go wrong with Bacon?