Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh MOTY...

I have shared before that my niece & nephew do not have the best mother. In fact, Mr. Potts and I call her MOTY - Mother Of The Year.

Something she said this past Saturday triggered a huge realization for me. While it wasn't entirely positive, it was eye opening.

MOTY, in front of my 5 year old niece, regularly talks about being fat & needing to lose weight. All the while sitting down to lunch and ordering a 12oz steak. Yes, for lunch!

My niece is a tiny thing. She'll be short and petite and beautiful. And hopefully well-adjusted, if I have any part in it.

She piped up after her mother commented on my weight loss and said that she needed to go on a diet - that she has to lose weight. My five year old niece said this & it broke my heart. What kind of influence are you on a child if they look at themselves at 5 years old and are dissatisfied?

I felt a kind of slow rage begin to burn inside me. I reassured her that she is perfect. Mr. Potts told her that she is beautiful & just right. Her mother didn't pipe up at all.

I've never once in front of her spoken about my quest to lose weight and become healthy. Five year olds, unless they actually are overweight & at risk for childhood obesity & diabetes should never be burdened with these thoughts. Encouraged to run & play outside? Definitely! Speaking to them about how unhappy you are & how you are fat & need to lose weight while turning around & ordering a steak & mashed potatoes for lunch? I don't think so.

My takeaway from this? Children, no matter how young, pick up on things you say & do. They watch what you do & listen to what you say.

My niece, she'll never hear anything like that from me. I only hope that I can be such a good influence as to counteract her MOTY's bad influence.

Pumpkin picking at the pumpkin catch this fall. Fat? Not on my life!


katie + bret said...

Don't you love getting to see how other people handle kids and learn "HECK NO" I won't do that!?

I am sure you will be a fantastic mother!

Molly Lou Gifts said...

She is so blessed and lucky to have you. You are such an amazing person and she will be so much happier, healthier, and excited for life because of you.

My heart just hurts for this little girl. She is just so darn cute...I love seeing all of the pictures that you have shown of her. Children should get the chance to be CHILDREN and all of the innocent glory that comes with childhood.

Brittany Ann said...


You are so right.

children, girls especially, develop their self image and self esteem from the women (mothers, close relatives, etc.) in their lives.

They will re-enact body issues shown and expressed to them by these women as children.

There's research to prove it.

And I know from personal experience myself.

I have a wonderful mother, but I have body issues because of how she handled/talked about food and her own body issues around me.

we have to be so careful with their young ears!

Lucy Marie said...

One time my friends 6 yo said something very similar, but thankfully, the comment gave my friend a wake up call and made her realize how she had been speaking in front of her. Since then she has actively made a choice NOT to talk about those issues in front of her daughter. You are so right, a child that young should not be worrying about those concerns and it is up to those women in their lives (mothers, aunts, grandmas) to ensure that they don't come up with unhealthy ideas about weight lose and fitness. I sure hope MOTY can see the damage she is causing. :(

MCW said...

It must be so hard to have to listen to MOTY would break my heart.
I used to babysit for a really rich family in the city and they were horrible parents. They dad nannys all the time and never spent tome with the child, he hardly ate (his parents never had dinner with him) and seeing a therapist at age 3! I eventually had to quit because I was on the verge of telling the screwy mother off!

The First-Year Wife said...

It's so sad when kids so young think that way. I have to admit, my mother was one of those people who DID talk about her weight and she's a thin woman. I can remember her complaining about her "flabby" thighs when we were kids and I think it DID affect us a little. I always felt like I needed to lose weight too. I'm completely with you though, I will NEVER talk about weight/dieting in front of my children.

Annie said...

that is really sad. your niece is an adorable little lady!!
you are going to be a wonderful mother some day!
i'm glad your niece has you, you are so positive and proud to be her auntie!! :)

Deelsu said...

I totally agree... monkey see..monkey do..

Ashley @ KiwisandCocktails said...

That is sad!!
My 6 year old niece has a MOTY and that is why she mainly lives with my mom. However, my niece was very over weight, and my mom has been teaching her healthy eating and the importance of exercise (but in a fun way). I hate it for her, because all of her friends at school are naturally thin and eat tons of junk food and my niece can't. It is all because her moty taught her wrong from the start!
I just hope my children get my husband's fast metabolism!!! My niece tells me how kids at school call her fat and tell her she has a “Santa belly” Breaks my heart!

Susannah said...

THe nerve! Is she involved in their lives on a regular basis? It seems like you get to do a lot of the fun stuff with them-she seems like an a hole. Sorry, not trying to be mean-but you seem more like thier mom!

Michelle said...

Look at that sweet face!! I love the punkin patch pic.

I've heard my daughter say, "I'm fat" once. Just once. One dirty look from me was all it took to nip that ridiculousness in the bud.

I am 99.9% certain she picked it up from TV...she watches Hannah Montana and other stuff like that portrays girls in, IMO, a very grown up way. Well, more grown up that I'd like my daughter to be when she gets that age.

Anonymous said...

This breaks my heart. My great-grandmother had anoerexia and bulimia, and while I saw she ate scant amount of food and witnessed her purging, she never tried to show anything in front of us, never commented on weight or weight loss, and even though she passed from complications of these diseases, I am thankful she never mentioned weight and unhappiness.

Little brown-eyed girl is SO lucky to have you and Mr. Potts as an aunt and uncle. SOO lucky. And you're right, she is beautiful and I hope she can see that. So beautiful!

zentmrs said...

Ugh - how frustrating for you! Kids do indeed see everything that we do and hear everything that we say. They want to be like us (for better or for worse) and it is our responsibility as parents to lead by example.

Thank heavens that your niece has you as a role model!

Wearing Mascara said...

Oh dear. This makes me so sad and it's so common with parents. I know that with your influence, your niece will become the best she can be.

Jenny DB said...

Sad stuff. Sounds like you are a strong positive influence she needs, and that will hopefully make all the difference in the world!!

@MCW I think I wouldnt have been able to contain myself from telling the mother off, and would've made sure to do it before quitting!!

Notes From the Grove said...

Your little niece is SO lucky to have you. People just let the craziest things fly out of their mouths in front of kids. Good for you for taking a stand.

Pink Pearls & Muddy Sneakers said...

I can't even imagine what I would have done if I were there. I hate that that woman is allowed to influence little precious impressionable people like your niece. As I have said before, thank God she has you. Please understand I am not trying to be disrespectful of MOTY - I just think you are RIGHT ON here.