This weekend my mother finally got to come visit our home in Massachusetts. Adam D and I did lots of cleaning and I rocked on the cooking. I made Cahn Chowdah and some fantastic Pierogies for lunch. We even got to put our mini-raclette machine into use already for a dinner later on in the day and had a blast melting cheese, grilling small strips of bacon and ham and in general enjoying food in the spirit in which such events are intended.
One phrase that I uttered early on in the day when my mother started to bemoan the fact that she was so hungry (after an early morning and only a granola bar she was feeling guilty for daring to feel famished by noon after driving 1.5 hours to see us!) and relay her guilt about going for a piece of bread or another pierogi: “This home is free of food judgments”. And, happily, this was the last of self-recriminations that we really heard or voiced all day. There was, of course, still a bit of the “Ooof! Get those cookie bars out of my reach or I’m going to keep eating them!” However, considering that we managed otherwise to avoid any overt guilt or body-bashing all day (something which tends to dominate the discourse in any such gathering in my past experiences), I am considering it a roaring success. Not only did we maintain peace in our conversations; but we kept our house a judgment-free zone; happily lacking the sort of heavy-handed food and body policing that so often tints such gatherings.
I found it to be entirely refreshing and just had to share. Every little success counts.
Step by step, changes in how we view the world can be made. We’ll see how things go when more of my family comes up later in the month for our bi-monthly family gathering feasting. I’ll be making a pork roast and plan to do my best to again enforce the “food judgment and body-shaming free zone” mantras.