Betty Duffy

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Fallacy of the Yummy Mummy

Here's a taste of my most recent column at Patheos:

In the aftermath of Christmas, my mother started to think that she needed to go on a diet. She made one of those, "Ugh, I can hardly stand to look at myself; I need to diet," comments, to which, my dad said, "No, you don't need to lose weight. Grandmothers are not supposed to be skinny. They're supposed to be huggable." Then he turned to me and said, "Tell your mother she doesn't need to go on a diet."

My parents have four children, and nearly twenty grandkids, none of whom have ever expressed a desire for a skinnier matriarch. I agreed with my dad, "Skinny grandmas can be nice, but chubby grandmas seem cheerier." I should mention that my mother is not really chubby at all, and mention of dieting from someone who has maintained a healthy weight throughout sixty-plus years of life is sort of beside the point. She'll take care of herself—she always has.

But I started thinking about the conversation, because I have certainly set goals for myself based on the mistaken perception that what everyone must certainly want of me is not more hugs or a kind and open demeanor, but to be better looking.

Read the rest


liz o. said...

This is an awesome post. Absolutely right on. Thanks so much.

Mary said...

I have to agree. I have always felt that as one matures it is a wonderful thing to be plumper to hug. A bony skinny Grandma is not what her Grandkids want!

Kate Wicker said...

A pleasantly plump friend of my grandma once took the wailing baby she was holding out of her arms and said, "No one likes a bone except a dog."

Great article. I especially loved this line: "I am theirs, not the world's."

We "belong" to God and our families. It's about time we stop fooling ourselves to thinking we have to conform to some ridiculous "yummy mummy" ideal.

BettyDuffy said...

Thanks Kate! I agree. Such a difficult topic to navigate.