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I think I may be screwing up my daughter or not?

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Old 11-17-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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Question I think I may be screwing up my daughter or not?

Hi folks, My 19 year old daughter will be coming home this Wednesday for the Thanksgivings weekend. To sum it up since she graduated high school in June of 2005 I've seen her for about 20 days. both summers she worked in a sleepaway camp, and she traveled and schooled abroad for a year. And now she's far away at college. Haven't seen her since early September. She is definitely an independent little thing.

Here's the thing, my baby's coming home and I want everything to be perfect. So where does my brain go? - I'm gonna make her her favorite foods - baked ziti, eggplant parmesean, roast beef, steak, apple pie, oatmeal cookies, etc.,etc. You get the picture. At this point I feel strong enough that I can handle having it in the house without me overeating it (at least I think so). But am I doing the right thing - making her all these high calorie foods? I mean I have barely seen her in the last 1 1/2 years and my first thoughts are to comfort her with food. But then again she hasn't had any good homecooking in a loong time. This question has really nothing to do with her weight (which is not great, but certainly not terrible 5ft 1 inch, 135 lbs). I guess my question is would it be wrong, am I sending the wrong message, using food in the wrong way by making all of her favorites?

Any thoughts? Thanks wise ladies.
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Old 11-17-2006, 10:26 AM   #2
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I don't think so. This is a one time deal, it's not like she eats this way every day. Sounds to me like your just being MOM. Wish I could come too sounds great to me. Oops, hungry again...
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:23 AM   #3
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How about just one meal of her favorites? Ask her what she wants the most, and then enjoy! The rest of the time can be home cooked too, but more on the healthy side. I know if I went home and my mom was trying to lose, I would be more then thrilled! It would mean more to me than any comfort food ever could. Get her involved and ask her to help pick some healthy meals she would like. Maybe even cook them together.
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:32 AM   #4
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She's an adult. She's responsible for the way she eats, not you. If you were constantly trying to force high calorie foods on her you might be a factor if she had eating problems, but even so, it would ultimately be on her.

I personally think it would be much more damaging for you to project a sense of worry or guilt over eating any food. One meal isn't a problem. Lifetime habits can be.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:18 PM   #5
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Since being overweight is so connected to our emotional state, I would work on reframing the way you demonstrate love through something besides food. Sharing a good meal is one way to connect with people... but there are so many more! I would cook some healthy meals that taste great but not go overboard while not putting her on your diet either. At age 19 she is already slightly overweight and at only 5'1" (like myself)... every pound is very hard to carry. I weighed that at her age too. Your 19 year old deserves healthy, delicious food just as much as you do. High fat, high cholesteral food is just as bad for her heart and health as the rest of us.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:26 PM   #6
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Aside from the apple pie and oatmeal cookies, most of those dishes can be adapted to be a little healthier. I think it's a kind gesture and I'd do the same, though I'd be sure to load her down with a lot of vegetables as well. Maybe skip on the pie and make the cookies to hand to her to take with her when she leaves?
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:33 PM   #7
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Adding on to what Sojourner said - I had to learn this with my husband. When I wanted to do something special for him, when we first got serious - I'd cook, or buy him a candy bar or something. It took me a long time to understand that he was thankful I did something for him, but that food as a gift didn't touch him emotionally the way it did me. I would be disappointed when he wasn't totally thrilled I made him lasagna, or whatever. Food was fuel for him. Unfortunately it took me SO long to learn this, that during that time HE learned that buying me a regular Coke or candy bar was an easy way to soothe me.

But, because we love each other - we are BOTH making changes now and eating healthy. And I am learning to show my love and appreciation for him in other ways, one of which is by cooking him HEALTHY meals. And that means a lot to him. And when I don't have time for that, I'll get him a book he wants to read or a new bathrobe - little stuff that WILL matter to him more than food.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:21 PM   #8
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I was thinking to perhaps make just one of her favorites and then the rest my new and improved (at least in my eyes) way of cooking. But I just don't want her to think that I'm forcing my new lifestyle down her throat, cause let's just say her weight is definitely a sore spot with her/me. At least my other kids have seen the food change around here gradually, but for her it's gonna be like WOW, what the heck is going on here? Because in the past when she would come home for a visit I definitely would cook up a storm of not the healthiest foods. I guess she's just going to have to adjust. I just don't want her to take it personally.
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:23 PM   #9
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I think you are being a very good mother to think about all of this!

Have you asked your daughter what she would like to eat when she's home? She may surprise you and ask for something either A. healthy or B. not one of her usual favorites. You could also ask her to walk with you & chat & catch up as a way to get exercise for both of you. Lastly, if she is aware that you are working on improving your way of eating, maybe you could enlist her help and tell her that you are not comfortable making a lot of high fat, high calorie meals and would she help you in deciding what to prepare?

Having grown up with a naturally thin mom and an eating disorder, I commend you again on being such a thoughtful mom!
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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Thank you for your kind words OnePerDecade. And I love the idea about going on walk with her!!

But the truth of the matter is I've probably screwed them up so much already, and I just wish I could take it all back. I always tried to feed them such healthy foods for the most part, I always said why can't I just eat the way that I feed my children. It was definitely more do as I say not as I do.
But the truth is for holidays and birthdays and when we had company over I would definitely go overboard with numerous main dishes, numerous side dishes and numerous desserts. They they were taught for special occasions it was okay to overindulge. Happy times equals mucho food. Luckily my other children have kept their weight in check, my 17 yr old DD 115lbs, my 14 3/4 yr. old DD 93 lbs). But who knows what they're going to do when they get older. I guess when you know better, you do better and now I know better. Just hope it's not too late.
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:55 PM   #11
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I don’t think your screwing up your daughter. First, she is an adult and can make food choices that she wants forcing choices on her would be more harmful (in my opinion because whenever my Mom tried to force choices on me I always did the opposite). Second, as someone who spent the better part of 4 years away at college, doing study abroads, working the summer at the school (very similar to your daughter) I always enjoyed coming home an my Mom making my favorites. I would make (and still do) request of my favorites when I come home. Maybe you should ask your daughter what she would like to eat when she is visiting and that way you can better gage what to make. Sometimes favorites change when you are away.
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Old 11-17-2006, 04:13 PM   #12
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I don't think you are 'screwing her up' and I know you love her but....as the dd of someone who expressed love through food, I wish my mom would have just stopped! She never asked what I wanted, just assumed and then was hurt if I didn't dive into everything head first. What I really wanted was to go for a walk, or talk or take in a movie. Ask her what she wants and then as an act of love make as much or as little as she wants. At 19 she may just want to sleep, LOL.
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:35 PM   #13
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It's okay to have MaMa's home cooking, just don't make food the focus of her visit. More than likely she wants to spend time with you. My advice would be to share some bonding time doing activities together.

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Old 11-17-2006, 06:44 PM   #14
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I'm with people on the *ask her what she wants* thing. Maybe she really does want those favorite foods, and she'd love it if you made them for her. My mom tries to make spaghetti for me at least one night of any time period I'm home for, cause she knows I LOVE spaghetti the way she makes it. But if you ask, you'll know what it is she actually wants, be that her favorite meals, healthy food, or something else entirely; just to spend time hanging out with you and being girly or whatever else.

As for how she'll take it with your new way of cooking...especially if weight has been a sore spot between you...make it abundantly clear to her that you're cooking this way for you. It's not about her. Make sure she knows that. That should probably smooth things out some so she doesn't take offense or anything.

Enjoy the time with your daughter! I'm not seeing my mom until December since she's going to her sister's for Thanksgiving while my younger brother and I go with my dad's family. So you give your daughter an extra hug, cause I can't get one from my mom yet.
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:14 PM   #15
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Ask your daughter what she wants, she may suprise you. I know you will suprise her! She is going to be so proud of you, and the weight you have lost!!! It may come as a shock if you don't have her favorites. Just make sure you show her you love her in ways that don't include food. (I don't think there is anything wrong with comfort food as long as you dont over do it!!!)
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