My book The Confident Mother is about celebrating and loving life as a woman and as a mother. The book is written to help you to create a feeling of confidence. For me that confidence comes from five elements. How you balance those elements is unique to each woman and will change at different stages in your life. Get these five in balance in the way that’s just right for you and you will love your life and have more confidence. The five elements I’m talking about are:
- Work – whether you have your own business, whether you have a career, or whether you are a stay at home mum. It’s about being valued (and paid) for the work that you do.
- Wellness – it’s hard to be confident if you’re not confident in your own mind and your own body. You need both mental and physical strength and health to go out and do what you want to do in the world.
- Contribution – the contribution that you make to the world. Some might call this your purpose or calling. It could be your contribution to your family, your community or to the world.
- Family – obviously one is about family, your relationship with your children and with your partner, if you have one.
- Feminine – it’s also about being a woman, and not just being a mother. It’s about accepting, embracing and actually enjoying being a woman, and the challenges and opportunities that brings.
When it comes to Family, I know I’m not the only mum who feels her confidence falter at mealtimes when coping with picky eating. Therefore I was delighted to interview Jo Cormack a few weeks ago on How to solve picky eating so that you enjoy stress free mealtimes with your children.
Jo is the founder of Emotionally Aware Feeding. She has a fabulous approach. Her background is as therapist, writer and feeding consultant. She’s also a mum of three. Her specialism is solving picky eating. She works with families, parents and professionals to help give children a great relationship with food. Jo has written a book on this, War & Peas, which you can buy online here.
Many of the mums who listened in live found Jo’s tips and advice extremely helpful. Here is one mum’s story:
My son isn’t bad, he likes fruit and veg, not so keen on meat but will eat if it’s not too chewy! He is allergic to dairy so it can be tricky and he does not like any pudding I make him although we’ve all sorts including crumble and steam puddings, but he is not interested. He likes pies but only the pastry!
We are hopeful that he is growing out of the dairy allergy and when/if that happens we will have to start introducing new foods that he has never had before. He is almost 5. If we are lucky, this introduction of new foods will start this summer, but if we are unlucky it will not be for a few more years. What advice does Jo have for starting a child on food they have always been warned will make them poorly. He is good at checking his food is dairy free before he eats it now but I’m worried in case he finds it scary to start eating new food.
What struck both Jo and me is that it seemed that the mum herself was really anxious about reintroducing dairy food. And until we suggested that to the mum, she hadn’t even been aware that this was at the root of her worries and concerns.
We have some picky eating challenges in my own house. One of my daughters will not eat meat except sausages, ham, bacon or minced beef in a bolognese sauce. She will eat fish (and shellfish) but won’t eat salmon. However she loves most vegetables and all fruit. Her range of foods used to be much broader. It’s only since going to school that she seems to have learned that Brussels sprouts are ‘revolting’ so I think there’s partly peer pressure at school dinners about what foods are ‘good’ to eat.
These are the key lessons that I took from interviewing Jo which will boost my confidence at coping with picky eating at mealtimes:
- Teach your child how to refuse food politely and respectfully
- Separate eating from behaviour
- Don’t use food as punishment or reward
- Don’t label your child as ‘picky’ or ‘fussy’ because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy
- If you’re worried about health, have your child weighed and measured
- Most children grow out of it (unless there are other issues and depending on how parents react)
- As often as possible, eat together, with the same food on everybody’s plate so that picky eating is not highlighted
- Don’t offer alternatives
What about you?