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A parent and child have potted plants for heads. The parent is watering their head as well as their child's to symbolize caring for themself and their child.

Being an Obese Parent

Before I start recounting my own experiences, I want to make sure you know that I feel there is nothing wrong with being a parent and being obese. If it works for you, then hell yeah, keep that going. Love who you are - and if you are a larger-than-life person and love that, then by all means be who you love being.

In this article I will be speaking from my own personal experiences in the hope of helping someone who might be experiencing a similar situation. I love you bunches dear reader!

The physical hardship

Being obese and being a parent were not a good combination for me. Being obese made things harder for me as a parent. Obesity is hard on the body. As is parenting. Being both at the same time really took a toll on me. I already suffered from body pain and endurance problems before becoming a mother, but these issues just amplified after the fact.

My knees and lower back killed me all the time. All the bending, kneeling, and up and down of parenting laid me out. I took ibuprofen like candy just to get through a day with my oldest two kiddos.

I never had enough energy; my stores were all dried up. Kids come with a boundless supply of energy and yet we as parents always seem to be in a deficit. I struggled so much to make it through the day without needing extended time to recharge. By the time bedtime rolled around I often found myself falling asleep with my kiddos or sometimes even being asleep before them. Most nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night and I’d have to move myself from the couch to my bed. I just didn’t have it in me most days.

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The mental drain of obesity and parenting

Not only did I struggle with the physical aspect of being a parent in combination with obesity, I struggled mentally too. I had recurrent negative thoughts regarding my weight. What did my kids think about my weight? Did other kids make fun of my kids because of my weight? What kind of lessons am I teaching my kids with my weight? Do other parents find me lacking as a parent because of my weight? Etc. Etc.

I didn’t want my kids to grow up to be obese, but I knew I couldn’t be the "do as you’re told, not as I do" sort of parent. So, I changed a lot of what I ate and how I ate and took the steps to getting my gastric sleeve done. I made the changes I felt I needed to make to have a positive impact on my kids’ raising. I also changed how I felt, thought, and spoke about being obese.

Raising kids to be body positive

I grew up being hyper aware of my size and how different I was from everyone else because of it. If kids didn’t make fun of me then it was a doctor who was blaming all my issues solely on my weight. My body image was terrible.

I didn’t want this for my kids. I have girls and boys in my brood, and I ensure that I raise all of them to look at their bodies the same way. Instead of emphasizing our body size, we focus on our body’s health. If we are healthy then it doesn’t matter what size we are.

Skinny doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Fat doesn’t always mean unhealthy. I’ve also taught my kids that it’s not about the number on the scale either. While we have a scale at home, we rarely use it. Most often we don’t know how much we weigh until we’ve had to go to the doctor.

I teach my kids to embrace who they are

I wanted my kids to fully embrace themselves in personality and in shape as well. My oldest daughter is 16. She’s at a prime age for the influences around her to become her inner voice. So, I encourage her to wear what she likes even if we have to get it in a bigger size than her peers. You don’t have to hide yourself because you aren’t as small as the popular girls.

Instead, I teach them to show off who you are no matter what shape you have. She’s very much into the cottagecore style these days and while it’s tough to find some of the things in the right size I will hunt them down so that she can flaunt her authentic self rather than hide it because she happens to be a bit on the bigger side.

I’ve taught my kids to pay attention to their bodies in such a way that we can handle any potential health concerns as they arise rather than have them pay attention only to the size they are. I’ve made them self-aware. Not self-conscious. I want them to have positive self-images and so far, they’ve shown that that’s what they have.

Changing my way of thinking has made a huge mark on my parenting

My experience with being the big kid, the fat friend, and an obese adult left an indelible mark on me and has shaped how I’ve chosen to parent my children. Watching them grow up and seeing the positive impact that my parenting has had on them has helped me in my own search for a positive self-image.

My body might not be where I’d ideally like it to be but it’s my only one and I need to show it love. Changing my way of thinking and embracing being body positive has left a huge mark on my parenting.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Obesity.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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