Monday, June 8, 2009


Why do we always need a scapegoat? Having someone, anyone, to blame our problems on makes it oh-so-easy to to hide from our deepest and darkest issues. I should know.

Last night I heard my mom on the phone with her brother. They hadn't talked in quite a while and she was bringing him up to speed on life in our household. I was folding laundry, trying not to eavesdrop, and genuinely out of earshot of what was being said. My mom could have told him anything. But what she said is this:

"I am so proud of Janeen. With work, with parenting, with everything...she always rises to the occasion.

My mom went on about how much I've grown spiritually, how I'm trying with all my sanity to do damage control on some of Ben's "spoilage" and generally, how great a daughter I've turned out to be.

And she kept using the word "proud."

I think all along I've known that she and I are way past the struggles we had when I was very overweight. So we're beyond all that, well into forgiving and forgetting, yet I am still eating.

What gives?

My best guess is that my eating is very closely tied to stress. Having my mom live with me IS stressful. A lot of the time. Being a single mom IS stressful. Having clients come in and out of my home IS stressful. Wondering if I'll ever be in a healthy romantic relationship again is BEYOND stressful. Hoping that Ben will grow up to be respectful and kind is brain-numbing. You get the point. But who isn't stressed?

I've got a girlfriend with three boys under the age of five and no help whatsoever. She says that her kids bring her no joy; they're too busy driving her crazy. Another friend is in an extremely unhappy marriage, with a husband who resents her, ironically, for being overweight. I know way too many moms who are juggling full-time careers, along with their mommy duties, and who are feeling the tugs of mounting responsibilities and increasing guilt. The point is, we're all stressed.

My mom and I will always have our issues but I know, deep in my heart, that this is my cross to bear. It's time to take on some accountability, to re-assign the blame and, as my mom said, "to rise to the occasion."

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