Sunday my boys got balloons at their cousin's birthday. Three were released into the air for a balloon race (see mamma knows fun ways to not have helium balloons in the back seat of my car). One came home in the trunk for middle child to draw a face on. Monday night while drawing on it, the over inflated balloon popped. Tears. Lots of tears. Hubby asked if I had any magic mommy words. I leaned down, hugged my son, and said, "That really sucks. I'm sorry your balloon popped, what a bummer." Yep, those were my magic words. It stinks that it happened, I feel badly for you, and life will go on.
He cried a little more. He is my ultra sensitive soul and his feelings were hurt with the balloon. Then he asked for an apple, skin cut off and core out. I was just about to say yes when he said, "Sometimes when I'm sad, if I eat something I don't feel sad anymore." WHOA! I told him no to the apple. I pulled him up in my lap and explained that it is ok to feel sad. Food is for when your body is hungry not for when your emotions are sad. He was a little confused that I wasn't going to give him something to help him feel better. I kept explaining. "Buddy, it is ok to be sad that your balloon popped. It is ok to cry when you are sad. If you let yourself be sad now, I promise it won't last forever. You will get glad again, I promise. But it isn't ok to try to not feel those feelings by eating something. Food is only for when your tummy is hungry. It doesn't really help you feel happy again, it just distracts you from the thing that made you sad."
Do you know how hard it was to not give him the apple? Do you know how hard it was to tell him that food is for his body not for his emotions? Do you know how hard it was to do the right thing by my boy instead of making it all better? Sometimes being a mommy means doing what you need to do not what you want to do.