By DENENE MILLNER
Okay, yeah—I’m sensitive about weight and body issues, particularly when it comes to my girls. I lay blame squarely at the feet of my childhood best friend’s mom. I’ll call her Evilene. Because Evilene was evil. Particularly when she stopped everything she was doing to look at my adolescent body with all its curve and thick and awkward and proclaim, “Humph—you sure are getting fat.” The first time she said it, I wanted to die. The second time, I started thinking maybe she was right. Each subsequent time after that, I’d figure out more ways to hate my body and secret it under mounds of sweaters and baggy pants and other stuff that would hide my hips and butt and thick legs from her scrutiny. And I’d tuck myself into the basement of my childhood home and exercise like a lunatic.
The good thing is that I was exercising. The bad thing, of course, is that I was doing it for all the wrong reasons—had, at age 13, internalized this grown woman’s criticism and processed it in a way that made me hate me for years to come. That I didn’t develop an eating disorder is a small miracle.
Now, finally, I love me just the way I am. But I’m a woman and a mother. And like Erykah Badu so poetically put it in her song, Tyrone, I’m sensitive about my shit. And the second someone says something sideways to my girls about their weight or their hair or their skin color or whatever, I go all the way in. Hard. (Nope, I guarantee you not even Sarah Palin can do “Mama Bear” like I do “Mama Bear.”)
Which explains the what-the-crap conniption I had when Nick recounted a conversation he’d had with Mari’s coach, who, earlier this season, pronounced my 11-year-old needed to get “more fit.” In front of her. Took me right back to my days standing in Evilene’s kitchen, getting the “you need to lose some weight, don’t you think?” talks.
“So,” I said to Nick, fire in my eyes, hands on my hips, spittle on my lips, “after you flattened coach and he got back up off the ground, did he at least apologize to Mari?”...
It didn’t matter what Nick was saying. I swear, all I could channel was these two grown men towering over my daughter, telling my baby she was slow and fat and lazy. And yeah—the rest of that conversation isn’t fit for a public parenting site...
Want to know if I got all "Mama Bear" on the coach? Check out the rest of this post on the MyBrownBaby page at Parenting.com's The Parenting Post. For more great stories about child development and motherhood, check out Parenting.com.