Fat Mom

I knew I was getting really fat when I couldn’t fit in the desk at school. This was last January. I asked my professor to switch classrooms. He did. We were reassigned to a lecture hall. It probably seats 500. There were six of us. I still couldn’t fit. I managed to sit sideways all semester, on one butt cheek. I would sit all the way on the left of the auditorium, perched to the right, so my body language read, “oh, do tell me more about statistics!” In reality, my body was screaming at me, “You don’t fit. You are enormous and you must be stupid to be this fat.”

Last night at graduation my gown wouldn’t zip closed. I had grownups asking me if they could walk all the way back to their cars to get safety pins. What good are Masters’ sleeves if you can’t close the robe? How can I focus on 200 students’ successes when I am desperately trying to hide my one failure.

I only bring up my fatness because it has become very real, and I do not feel like a good mother.

You know this meme? I used to laugh about it all the time. But it is not funny, now. I really thought I was fat when I was younger, and now I know I was absolutely taught to be ashamed of my body. I can remember my mom asking me to go on a diet with her. I was 12, the same age as my eldest daughter. My mom wasn’t fat, and neither was I. I honestly think she just wanted someone to do the diet with; we were not fat. It was the late 80s. I think it was something to do.

The first time I thought I was fat was the spring of 9th grade. I had finished playing a season of soccer where I started and played every minute of every game. The team had an end of the year party at someone’s pool. Most girls wore two pieces, I wore a one piece, and a few girls wore t-shirts over their swimsuits. One of the girls was reading Cosmo aloud and said, “It says that the average American woman is 5,4″ and weighs 140 pounds.” Everyone started laughing about how much 140 pounds was. They started shouting out their weights. 118. 109. 112. 123- but I have boobs! I shouted out 127 because I, too had boobs. I weighed 150 pounds. I felt like a criminal, and I started subtracting at least 20 pounds from my real weight, just because…. Every time after that, I felt empowered stating my weight aloud. Eff the haters! I’m healthy! I’m more than a number! I’m… lying and disproving the idea that a number can’t define me.

I can tell you how much I weighed at every milestone in my life. First time in love? 160. Losing my virginity? 170. Getting married? 191. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter? 212. Teacher of the year in my school district? 240. Pregnant with my second daughter? 260. And now? Jesus. 308.

Did I mention that my wife was a personal trainer and we used to own a health club? Yeah, so there’s that.

I’m now going to try to put into words how I feel as a fat mom: Stupid. Oh. I guess that wasn’t hard. I am stuck feeling like my daughters must understand how brilliant they are; they are both miracles from God. I want them to delight in their bodies’ abilities to run and learn and play instruments! I want them to feel beautiful and confident no matter what. I guard what they watch, read, listen to, and we have “talks” about everything that may eat away at that purity and beautiful confidence. But I doubt how effective my “talk” will be if I am not walking the walk. I feel like a fraud.

Up until recently, I have felt like a pretty good role model. I sort of don an “Eff the haters” attitude, and I take pride that I can move my own sofa. I ran a 5K last year (slowly) with my daughter. I weighed 286. It’s telling that I have zero recollection of my finish time, but I know my weight. I have always worked out off and on, more off than on. I know calories, Weight Watcher Points, and glycemic indexes for hundreds of foods. I am pretty sure I can design a workout program fit for celebrities of all shapes and sizes. I’ve used a FitBit, RunKeeper, Couch to 5K, Spark People, Fitness Blender, Daily Burn, and I bought P90X. I’ve joined gyms and taken Zumba classes. Also, Tae Bo. This has been going on for 3 decades. I know every app, program, diet and plan works. I just don’t do any long enough or regularly enough. I can’t seem to muster the will to begin and stick with a real lifestyle shift.

Ugh. No one told me that I would have to wade through my biggest, crappiest issues to be a good mom. Why is being a mama so hard? Seriously. I am deep in the crud here. I have 40 years of very large baggage (saddle bags? Ha ha!). I suppose admitting I have a problem is the first step. Maybe the parenting role model part comes in the persistence? I’m pretty sure the Mamma Tech community of “technology and parenting” will provide real, practical ideas or thoughts to get me going and keep me going. I’m smart. I value technology’s usefulness. I believe parenting is the greatest (hardest, most exhausting and hilariously frustrating) prayer God answered in my life. I’m confident you feel the same way. Help me, y’all.

Helpful Autism Awareness Resources

A few months ago I was in line at the grocery store. I stood behind a woman with three children, two boys and a girl. They looked to be between the ages of 8 and 12. One of her sons was having a full-out meltdown. He did not want to walk. He did not want to get in the cart. He did not want to hold Mom’s hand. He just wanted to sit and rock in the aisle. He wanted to look at the little toys for sale on the rack. I was desperate to show this mom support, but I did nothing more than smile at her, and her children.

Read more

Spring into Spring with New Garden Tech

Spring is upon us. Despite snow in March, I know the seasons are changing because my mailbox is chock full of gardening catalogs. For me this means dreaming and planning my gardens. Yes. Plural. In my yard I have a Zen garden, a vegetable garden, a cutting flower garden, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, a purple flowers only garden, and various other little spaces without a formal name, like the dark pit along the east side of the house where nothing grows except thorny blackberries.
I love gardening. I enjoy hiding in plain sight, tending to what my wife calls “dillydandums and whosiwhatsits.” I read books, search catalogs, chat with nearby growers, and wander around garden supply sites with lust in my heart. New garden technology makes me giddy. Here are a few of my favorite gardening techy tools (and links if available).

Read more

Does Makeup Make Up Me?

A weird thing happens when I am at work. I am a librarian at an urban high school. I have 11 individual, twelfth-grade, ladies that are my assistants each day. Here’s the weird part. Every single girl watches makeup tutorials in their spare time. They also speak about makeup like … I have no words to describe it… like it is a real part of who they are, and it is also what they have in common with other people.

They vary in myriad ways… as all of us do. But not when it comes to makeup tutorials or how they view wearing makeup. I noticed these commonalities, and because all parts of everything they do surrounding makeup is so foreign to how I view makeup, I started asking questions. Maybe this was generational? I asked all my assistants, my twelve year old daughter, and some coworkers how they learned to put on makeup, and what they think wearing makeup (or not wearing makeup) means.

Read more

Fighting Against Bullying

My daughter was the victim of girl-on-girl meanness just before Christmas. For an unknown reason, her little clique of girlfriends stopped talking to her, for four long days. She didn’t tell me until their last day of the silence. She kept asking them if she had done something wrong. The girls would shrug and walk away. Then, it was over just as quickly as it started.

Read more

Holiday Gift Ideas for Techy Teens

The holiday season is upon us, and if you are like me, you are perplexed by what to buy the weirdo, almost human beings (teenagers) in your life. I am not one to hand anyone a wad of cash, or even a few gift cards; I love watching the strange humans (teenagers) respond with glee as they tear into a gift. Choosing the right squeal-inducing present has become more and more challenging. Here is my list of gifts to give the alien inhabiting your loved one; each image is a link to Amazon.com, so you can purchase with ease! Read more

Gaming: It’s Not Just Family Fun Anymore

The other day I embarrassed myself in front of my friend Katy.  We were reminiscing about Christmases from our childhood and family traditions.  Katy’s family always puts together a puzzle. She smiled as she told me that they all just take turns sneaking into the room to put a few pieces together, so each person is pleasantly surprised to find it more and more completed.

Read more

Domestic Violence: Technology is Helping and Hurting

Recently, my community was rocked by a horrible incident of domestic violence.  One of my students went home to find that her step-father shot and killed her mother, and then he shot and killed himself. The news was and is absolutely catastrophic. The local news interviewed neighbors, and they spoke of well-known discord in the family.

Read more