I Knew You Were Coming So I Baked A Cake

I am baking cookies.  My son is coming home from college for a week and my maternal instincts send me to the kitchen to bake him some love.

For the first time, I wonder if I am doing the right thing?  Showing love with food.  Junk food no less.  Isn’t that part of the problem for so many who have weight issues… the lifetime of food as a gesture of love or salve for what ails us?  Got a boo boo, here’s a brownie.  Did well on your test?  Got a new job?  Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate.  Lonely at camp or college?  I’ll send you a care package filled with love in the form of all your favorite treats.

My son is skinny.  He has never had a weight problem.  Knock on wood he never will.  And I would go further to say that he does not have food issues, like I clearly do.  Sure, he eats too much junk and very few vegetables.  But he mostly eats when hungry and stops when full.  Sure he eats in social situations, but not to excess or too often.  He managed to survive unscathed from his mother’s years of yo-yo dieting and her being culinarily challenged.

So he can eat cookies and suffer no ill effects.  In theory.

But the new and improved me feels just a bit like a drug pusher.  Giving sugar to my son.  Here little boy, tee hee, want a cookie?  Cackle, cackle.

And he didn’t ask me to make them.  He asked me too cook salmon and lasagna and a favorite beef recipe.  Which I will do.  But I know he will enjoy and appreciate the cookies.  And I suspect he will even realize that me baking his favorites for him is like me telling him how much I love him and how happy I am to have him home.  A hug of sweetness.

Don’t get the wrong idea… I am going to make my son cookies and I am not going to feel guilty about it.  He will enjoy them and I will enjoy him enjoying them!  But I just wanted to share that little voice of new awareness in the back of my head.  The voice that says I should show my love in other ways.  And I do.  But today I am also going with the cookies:)

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41 Comments

Filed under family, food

41 responses to “I Knew You Were Coming So I Baked A Cake

  1. Love via cookies is a form most college boys really appreciate!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Weekly Weight Loss Plan : Week of May 17th =-.

  2. Genie

    That’s all true; food as comfort and joy.

    I’d venture to say that most of us do/would do the same thing for our college-age son. Better for them to love our cooking than the donuts at Quik Trip and Combo #7 at McDonald’s.

    Boys just have it a lot better than girls when it comes to the advantageous muscle mass ratio, plus they usually don’t eat emotionally. (Do they have emotions?) So not fair!

    • Karen

      Oh yes… my teen still at home definitely has emotions! But I agree that as a generalization, most boys probably have it easier than girls. Also because of that whole society pressure thing that you raise in your post today.

  3. Mom + love = cookies. Don’t waist one more moment of questioning yourself on this. It is what moms are SUPPOSED TO DO. I’m sure it’s more to him about the ACT and that you thought of him first when he knows you have food issues and the fact that you care than it is about the sugar in the cookies. I didn’t have a mom that baked cookies for me; and oh, what it would have meant to have had that.
    .-= pjgeek´s last blog ..I canna believe it….. =-.

    • Karen

      I agree. There is still that link with moms and food love. Even if it is the meals and not the cookies. And at (almost) 47, I still get food love from my own mom:) But it doesn’t come in the form of sweets anymore.

  4. I can relate to this. I often do this too… husband graduates? bake cupcakes. I can only convince myself so many times that “it’s my birthday, we should go out to eat!” (I’ve used that excuse at least 3 times in the past week and my birthday isn’t even until tomorrow!)

    I worry about this with my future kids.. if I will try to show love with food.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Colfax Half Marathon recap =-.

    • Karen

      I once commented to a woman on my diet forum about how I would do things differently with my boys if I could. Feed them healthier from a young age. More veggies and whole grains. Why even have junk around on a regular basis? She took offense that I was criticizing how she fed her family when I sooo was not. But I know I would sure do it differently if I could turn back time.

      That said, I have been thinking a lot about my own birthday and how I want to celebrate with food:) Working on that post.

  5. Oh my gosh. I completely get what you are saying! I felt that way this weekend too! I was at the groert store looking at cske mixes because all of my sons were going to be here for dinner Sunday.And the same thoughts went through my mind. I put the cake mix back. this post really hit home. thank you.
    .-= Bringing Pretty Back´s last blog ..2:30 A.M. phone call =-.

  6. Fwiw, I think you’re doing the right thing. In many cultures, certainly in most western ones, sharing food is a joyous thing. In this case, I see it as a way of invoking good memories and not a way of helping him mask pain (unless the salmon was bad.:))

    • Karen

      We have the BEST salmon recipe! It is one of the few foods both my finicky boys will happily eat. And request, even. My teen will eat the leftovers no less! Shocking.

  7. I think there is nothing wrong with baking him a batch of homemade cookies….afterall, its not like he can get those everyday..and its not like you went out and bought a bunch of processed junk like oreos and are offering those to him.

    I think your questioning of it, may have something to do with your all or nothing approach. There is a middle ground…you just need to find it. 🙂
    .-= losingmore´s last blog ..Rainy morning =-.

    • Karen

      Weeeelllll… not Oreos. But I did buy him Cheeze-its (reduced fat at least) and fruit snacks and graham crackers.

  8. After all my nonesense with finally losing the weight and really getting what it was all about for me, i still bake for people. I just bake healthier versions of stuff most often. Food is something to be enjoyed and savored for what it is, just not as a replacement for something else.

    Enjoy the best cookie ever, why not, it makes life grand but I just try not to enjoy cookies all the time to replace or drown my emotions anymore. You end up eating a lot less cookies. Those really good ones only come around once and a while.

    And I am completely glad I got to feed my daughter differently from early on. I’m even more glad she sees her biggest role model treating herself properly too.

    I do think this is an important thing to examine, I know quite a few food issues in my life came from being fed out of guilt for other things. So insightful!
    .-= Rita @ The Giggly Bits´s last blog ..What You’ve Been Missing =-.

    • Karen

      This is a pretty unhealthy cookie recipe! I’m not sure there would be a good way to make them, healthy and tasty both. But other recipes I can see… cakes and pies and more seem to have much more wiggle room.

  9. I like that new voice of awareness. By the way, I do not measure myself. I know, I know, shame on me. I know that I will weigh more than planned due to muscle; however, I also realize that there is a ton of fat to lose. So…I will aim for 155, but will be totally happy with whatever the scale reads…as long as I reach my goal look!!! Make sense?!?!?!
    .-= Corletta Brown´s last blog ..My answers to Friday’s questions!!! =-.

  10. I love your posts, Karen! Congratulations on that new voice of wisdom on the subject of love and food!!!

    As I was reading the first part, I was nodding my head… For the first time, I was thinking of my grandmother and realizing she was showing love rather than resenting her for establishing the seeds of habits that have plagued me all my life. OMG! I’m going to write a post about this! Thanks!!!

    But back to your son and how we show love… I read a great book called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. To really tell/show your son you love him in a way he can fully grasp, you need to know what is his primary love language. Is it 1. words of affirmation, 2. acts of service (like cooking and baking for him), 3. receiving gifts, 4. physical touch or 5. quality time??? Chapman says it never hurts for a parent to give their love in all 5 ways to their children. Maybe YOUR primary love language is acts of service and that’s why you enjoy making cookies for him so much and enjoy watching him enjoy them. Food for thought?
    .-= Peacefulbird´s last blog ..Never Too Old To Change! =-.

    • Karen

      I read your post to your grandmother and left a comment there. That book raises and interesting point. And I do think all 5 are best. And this son is very into number 4 which is so sweet.

  11. I think making a special meal and a dessert isn’t a bad thing at all. I think when it becomes 5 special meals and 5 desserts then it’s going overboard!
    .-= beerab´s last blog ..198.0 =-.

    • Karen

      Well, I think there will indeed be meals he likes every night. But the only one I need to avoid is the lasagna. Tomorrow’s meat is marinating in the fridge even as I type. Cookies in a container on the counter:)

  12. I have three children. I totally understand. It’s sort of like the fatted-calf, and that was for a wastrel son who spent his whole inheritance. It’s a way to show your love. You’re doing for him what you might like done for you (or might have, in former days). Don’t feel guilty, but make sure and hide those cookies, ’cause if he’s like my kids, he’ll have two or three and then go off and do something else, leaving them shouting out your name, begging you to have one. Or two.
    .-= Tish Oliver´s last blog ..I did it! =-.

    • Karen

      LOL. What shouted loudly was the batter. I so wanted to run my finger across the beater and eat the cookie dough. But I did not:)

  13. sunnydaze

    I can totally relate to this too. Maybe its us thinking that our issues with food are also someone elses issues. I’d bake the cookies, too. 😀

    • Karen

      I always think how lucky you are to have your daughter to work out with you. My sons would sooooo never do that!

  14. I personally don’t see anything wrong with welcoming him home with his favorite foods. We live in a society that celebrates with food. I believe that we can cook things we love for people with love and still eat in moderation. I suppose the trouble comes when those foods draw us into a pattern of overeating.

    If it makes you feel any better we are having a “GLAD SCHOOL IS OVER” party on Thursday and everyone is looking forward to the cupcakes I promised to make! 🙂
    .-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog ..One Of The Big Three In My Journey =-.

    • Karen

      You are always so balanced and rational in your approach. Must be what has kept you so successful for so long. I am trying to learn from your example Diane.

  15. I can completely relate to your post. I worry about the same thing. I don’t bake very often any more and make dessert or cookies very rarely. My kids also managed to escape the weight and diet issues I have had to deal with. They have a much healthier relationship with food.

    I think once in a while is okay!

  16. My mom is/was not much of a baker. It’s cool you’re aware of it but don’t sweat it. It’s a mom thing to do. I’m over 30 and my mom buys me groceries the 2 or 3 times a year I see her because she thinks I still eat like I did in college. She figures for at least 1 month I’ll have healthy food even though the fridge is full of fruit and veggies. lol.
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Convenience Is Expensive =-.

  17. I bake for my kids all the time and with my daughter and her friends. I do find it kind of enjoyable, though I didn’t do it for a few years after I started my program. Lately, I don’t know exactly why, my husband’s started making his own brownies. Maybe he realizes that constantly asking me to make stuff I can’t eat might push me over the edge one day!
    .-= Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla´s last blog ..Departure =-.

    • Karen

      My husband is the brownie maker in our house too. I think it came from the fact he uses a Costco bought mix… he has a thing for Costco products. Of course that means the potential for a much larger pan of brownies than needed!

  18. The thing is that celebrating with food is a human ritual going back thousands of years and probably not the cause of the current obesity epidemic.

    The important thing here is that your child clearly doesn’t have any food issues and therefore will not be harmed in anyway by your loving gesture. On the other hand, if he was obese and trying to lose weight and you did the same thing, I think that would be a BIG problem.

    Enjoy your son’s visit.
    .-= Nona´s last blog .. =-.

    • Karen

      That is so true and I did not think of it that way. The celebrations are occasional, it is the day to day that probably makes the difference over time. And we are passed that since he controls his own days now:)

  19. This is just one of those things…a mom thing. It makes us feel good and they love it. I don’t think the occasional batch of cookies will be a problem. It is more those parents who only give their kids Slim Jims and Oreos in their lunches at school EVERYDAY! Seriously, I see it!
    .-= Dalia´s last blog ..Drinking with your kids – good idea? =-.

    • Karen

      It is interesting to think about how much power we really do have when our kids are young to influence their eating habits. I could never keep Oreos in the house… I ate them! Or Chips Ahoy cookies. But there certainly were other things, like sugary cereals, that I should never have introduced. Ah well, hind-sight is 20-20.

  20. Great thoughts. I don’t have any children yet, but I recently got married and found myself wondering the same thing you are about the foods I’m cooking him. He is very skinny, has never really eaten too healthfully, and could actually stand to gain a few pounds. However, I often make him things that I can’t eat and sometimes make separate dinners for us. I’ll bake cookies or muffins (not healthy ones) and he’ll put them in his car to eat for breakfast on his way to work. (I personally like them being in his car so I’m not even tempted by them in the house.) However, I have to say that sometimes I feel guilty doing this – like I’m giving him things I know aren’t good for us. But at the same time he really does need to gain a little weight and this is what he wants to eat. I do worry about these eating habits in the future when we do have children – I don’t want that example set for them.
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Munchies, Munchies, Go Away and Come Again Another Day… =-.

    • Karen

      I really think I would go back and change how I fed my kids from the time the started on regular table food. We can be such a big influence and I didn’t really think about it. I had my own baggage about what my mom fed ME. You have time to think about it yet, and figure out what you want to do that works best for all of you, including your lucky skinny hubby who has such a thoughtful wife:)

  21. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » The Return of the Cookie Monster

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