Dear Therapist • By Charlotte Davies
Exploring the first-world problems of a working mum
I have no desire to be a super skinny (ok, maybe just a little), I don’t really want to run a marathon or swim the English Channel (there’s meant to be lots of floating poop, and I’m scared of sea creatures swimming below me anyway), however, I do want to be able to get back into my now half redundant wardrobe again. If for no other reason than it’s going to be massively expensive to replace it. My clothes are getting uncomfortable, and I blame the kids.
I have checked (and double checked) the settings on the washing machine. It’s still washing on 30°, not 90°, as I initially suspected when my clothes started to ‘shrink’. Perhaps I can’t solely blame the kids for this recent weight gain after all. I’m aware my metabolism isn’t supercharged like it used to be, plus I have an addictive nature when it comes to food, but dieting with children is impossible. Unfinished selection boxes still lingering from Christmas, calling out to me while the kids are at school. Cupboards full of crisps, flapjack and supersized Haribo tubs they have acquired from well-meaning family. Then just when I think this might be starting to clear, my youngest has his 6th birthday. Que multiple birthday cakes and party food. Please tell me I’m not the only mum who’s told a porky to justify the disappearance of their children’s chocolate (consumed whilst they were at school) or even worse, helped them to look for it, knowing you’d already eaten it. I’m definitely going to Hell.
I try to provide healthy packed lunches for my eldest, but every tub of carrot and cucumber sticks is expected to be rewarded with a ‘treat’. In my defence, it turns out it’s been scientifically proven that sugar can be more addictive than cocaine. I try to eat a lot of the rubbish in secret, (is that concerning?), I have many times practically inhaled a chocolate bar behind the fridge door. Other times you may find me in the utility room, knowing that while I’m sorting the washing I’m away from small prying eyes and I can finish the Milk Tray whilst answering my son’s calls for a snack with an apple. The children are incapable of finishing a meal without dessert and the husband is incapable of having a meal that doesn’t contain carbs and meat. Seeing as I prepare 80% of the food in my household, are you beginning to see my problem? My youngest often asks for dessert after breakfast. Just so you know, I do draw the line here with a firm ‘NO!’ although on weaker days, the manic school rush ones, I will succumb to an extra breakfast of a jam sandwich in the car or waffles with Nutella if it keeps the peace.
I also need to chip in more exercise. I’ll never become the next Kelly Holmes, however I’m fully aware that there is a middle ground between this and being able to run from the car to the playground, when late to collect my children, without drawing concerned looks from teachers and parents alike because I’m so out of breath. In many cases, chocolate addictions are specific manifestations of sugar addiction. Therefore, if you’re cutting chocolate out of your diet, you might be able to replace this with a naturally sweet snack to fulfil your sugar craving. Fresh fruit, for example is a great alternative. This sounds logical. However, I feel like this is the equivalent of giving a chain smoker a twig instead of a cigarette, expecting their cravings to be satisfied (and no I don’t advocate smoking in any way, nor, fortunately, is that something I do, before someone jumps on it!).
Did you know that chocolate carries substances like anandamides that stimulate the brain in the same way cannabis does? Chocolate also contains substances that have similar effects as amphetamine. So actually, if we claim that chocolate is our ‘drug of choice’, we are not too far from the truth.