A couple of nights ago, my mother said, ‘you’ve put on weight, look at your tummy,’ normally this wouldn’t get to me, but her comment caught me off guard and really stung, mostly because I had just warmed up a bowl of jollof rice which had a side of egusi stew and some freshly grilled chicken on top, my plan was to nosh on the meal just before bed. One look at myself and I felt like a tub of lard, eating such a starch heavy meal at 9pm. I got all moody, left my dinner on the table and went to bed both angry and hungry.
My mother’s words were still ringing in my ears the following morning when I was getting dressed for work. One look at my body and I totally agreed with her and resolved to start the day with a mug of warm water with drops of lemon in it – I decided I seriously needed a detox and tried pathetically to complete 30 sit ups. Finding something to drape my fat body with proved seriously challenging – I settled for a maxi skirt a fitted-top and a jumper to conceal my lumps and bumps – needless to say I looked like those ladies that stand by the tube station handing out doomsday flyers, the only thing I was missing was a hat/head scarf *sigh*
Just when I got to work, an unmarried colleague was telling me her dad called the other day to remind her she’s no longer a spring chicken alluding to the fact that she was in her late 20s, single, with no boyfriend in sight and no child. My heart broke when she told me and I could see the pain she was masking behind her smile.
As we were talking, another colleague said her mother blames her for being fat. This girl’s mother claims she never regained her figured since her daughter was born and says, ‘looks like I’m carrying your weight,’ hating on the fact that my colleague is a petite size 6. *sigh*
Why do parents say the most hurtful things, don’t they realise the damage it can do? Ok, even though this sounds more sensitive than I actually feel, I know for some people the words their parents have said to them have broken them, likewise some others were propelled to success because their parents cheered them on with words of encouragement and support.
Prior to meeting my husband, my dad was my biggest fan (and I his) he has a knack for spotting my strengths and pushing me to excel in them. When I was six or so, he saw a phone message I wrote for him and complemented my handwriting encouraging me to write more – here I am today, writing – well typing. A couple of weeks ago, my mother was saying she still dreams of seeing me on the telly reporting for CNN because she thinks I’m quite the orator – I let her down gently with that one – there’s being gobby and there’s being a TV presenter, not sure they’re the same thing mama.
Parents are great and as a mother I’m appreciating my folks more, and making mental notes not to repeat their errors and to emulate their strengths. Being careful about what I say to my kids is one tip I’m putting on my list – I have no intention of lying to them or sugar-coating the truth either, but being mindful of the power of my words to build and destroy.
So tell me what strong words have your folks said to you that really stand out in your mind – good and bad…