THE PARENTING DARE BLOG
I love, love, love mothers.
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THE PARENTING DARE BLOG
I love, love, love mothers.
Join our community!
This year my son Eric and I are going to be going into some deeper waters with our ministry The Parenting Dare. We feel called to really delve and will be going through a blog series entitled “Raising Strong Children in Today’s World.”
Before we get there, I thought it would be wise to take a couple of weeks and just explore the inner landscape of us moms. If you think about it, stepping back and getting some things in order is important because how we feel about ourselves shows up in how we talk, act and breath in our home and with our most favorite people!
Friends! Listen to this post instead of reading! We are podcasting again! Yippee!
Today I am going to discuss FOOD and how it affects our MOOD as mothers and how understanding that connection can unlock some fabulous aspects of your own life!
I absolutely love my family but when I look back at my life, I can clearly see that the most difficult part of my motherhood was when I had smallish children. I expected the radical joy of motherhood. But I didn’t expect how difficult it would be on me emotionally.
Russ and I had our first three children in under four years and I’ll be honest, I barely made it through some days. The demands were constant. And I discovered that I was not very good at “constant.”
One time during confession I told the priest that I felt that if Mother Teresa lived my life, she might just start drinking vodka straight out of the bottle. That sums up how I felt. Totally keyed up and totally pushed to my limit.
I joked about it, but it.was.not.pretty. I certainly remember a lot of fun times with my kids but I also have keen memories of my inner life, especially how difficult it was during “that time” of the month.
During my menstrual cycle, I was so moody that I felt like it would be safer for my kids if I just dug a hole in my backyard and hung out there until I returned back to normal.
It was so intense.
How did I handle that? Well, I created a variety of tools to help me through that particular week of the month. (I had friends praying for me, I made charts and gave myself rewards…)
I know that sounds extreme, but I am trying to just be gut wrenching honest with you today.
In my quiet moments, I felt like I probably wasn’t a very good mother and I had a lot of guilt about that.
If I could go back in time, I would sit down with my younger self and hug her. Then I would smile and say, “Honey, open your eyes.”
And together, we would look at something extremely basic: what I was eating on a daily basis.
See, back then, I thought blueberry muffins from a box were healthy. I loved making homemade bread and tons of pasta. I added cheese and more cheese onto EVERYTHING.
I was an expert at desserts; we had some type of dessert every single evening.
We ate a lot of cardboard pizza, chicken nuggets and fries (loaded with sauces and ketchup, of course).
We did not eat many vegetables unless you count the corn in the corndog.
I would then remind my younger self of all of the mixed drinks I used to make for myself and our husband. Kahlua. Vodka. Heavy Cream. Oh my.
No wonder I was utterly ill-equipped to handle all of the NORMAL aspects of child rearing! I was continually on a sugar high; I had no internal balance. My hormones were truly messed up. NO WONDER I had severe anger issues every single month around my cycle. No. wonder.
Friends. The mother is the emotional epicenter for the family.
Parenting well means being whole and healthy. I was not whole or healthy.
So what happened? Well, truth be told, it was a rather long road for me.
I spent years learning about food. I learned about our big food industries and how they lace everything with things like MSG and sugar, substances that make us want more and more and more.
I invested a massive amount of time and energy LEARNING about whole foods and clean eating.
Interestingly, just learning the knowledge didn’t stop my behavior.
And I think that is a vital point to remember, especially when we start talking about our kids. Just knowing something doesn’t necessarily CHANGE anything.
I felt like I was two separate people, the one who made commitments and the person who broke them.
It got to the point where I wondered if I was even trustworthy. I mean, I would decide on a way of eating and then twenty minutes later, when confronted with a plate of cookies, I became the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
It was maddening to say the least. After years of studying, I knew what I wanted and needed to do: eat mostly clean foods so I could have a stable mental/emotional life! I KNEW how important the food thing was for the MOOD thing.
But again, just KNOWING something didn’t make it happen.
So, what changed?
Well, working with Eric in the realm of addiction (again, that’s what “The Parenting Dare” is all about) I experienced an incredibly surprising CONVERSION of my heart, mind and soul.
It was beautiful and radical and life-altering.
I was a strong Catholic believer, but I had never truly understood the Gospel Message, at least not in a way that actually reached down into the deepest parts of me.
I was changed on a DNA level. I cannot explain it any other way. It’s like the furniture was rearranged in my own head. I operated from a different place.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I noticed that food thoughts did not consume me. Whoa. I also realized that the negative self-talk was gone.
I was able to create clean foods and enjoy them fully. I was able to be who I knew I was.
It was such a surprise.
Fast forward to today: some things have not changed. I am still intense. I am still passionate about things and topics that I care deeply about.
HOWEVER, (interestingly) even with all of the drama from the last eleven months, I have not gone into crazy eat mode. I know where to find my comfort and it is not in sugar. (Note: I do consume sugar on special occasions like birthdays and holidays and Super Bowls.)
I live life at an even keel. I don’t even know when I am “fixing to start” because there is absolutely no emotional upheaval whatsoever.
It's been awesome. After years of trying to find (force) freedom for myself, it was given to me.
What an unexpected gift.
Once I was able to see my own addictive tendencies and conquer them, not through waging war, but by stepping into my true identity, I could see how that same bridge would help my kids. They needed to know who THEY were in Christ so they could live out their lives in real freedom.
That's when my parenting took on more depth, meaning and understanding. (Our kids need to know we are truly on their side!)
Then I got excited because I realized that I could share everything I have learned with other Christian moms, especially moms that wanted to parent more effectively.
So I told my son Eric that I wanted to create an online course about the changes that had happened with me, to help moms get that same alignment. I went to work and within about four months I opened the door to our first “Inside Out” class. It was quite incredible; the response was absolutely gorgeous.
If you want to get the whole food/mood/mom thing plugged in, find our more here: Inside Out.
I'm Lori Doerneman
Wife. Mom. Catholic.
Idealist with 8 kids,
keeping it real.
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