Do we feel loved and needed when we prepare favorite foods for our children/family? See this post first for more explanation and introduction to this post. https://joyful2beeblogs.com/?p=1851
Parenthood, Food and the Adult Child
Missing those rosy cheeked little ones now that they are adults? As the kids become adults and move to college or their own homes, the parent may begin to feel relief or they may start feeling a sense of loss from not being needed by their “children.” This feeling may be amplified by the parent being bored because they have no plans for their time after the kids moved out or they are grieving for the past, or the “loss” of a child to adulthood.
When the adult “kids”come home for a visit, what does the parent often do? They want to feed their kids a big meal. The cook of the family may relish the thoughts of hearing their adult child tell them, “I remember when you used to fix this for me!” or “You cooked this just for me?” Or “Oh, Boy! My favorite dish!”
For me feeding them something special brought back a feeling of nurturing and being needed. Do the warm and fuzzy feelings of being the “mommy” or daddy” return, even though the kids are adults now? For some, I am sure it does.
Hopefully all the parenting we did when our kids were little stuck and even the adult kids remembered, at least vaguely, the feeling of warmth, love, and bonding that took place when we fed them as babies and on through their life. We too can find some comfort in those memories.
But now we need to see them as the adults they are: some wise, others impulsive; some self respecting, some self deprecating; some dating or marrying someone wonderful, or others not so wonderful.
The time you spent with them as children was so much less complicated. Now we have to let them make their own mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. (Unless they ask for advice.)
Food and the Parent
We parents, like the child, received oxytocin from our brains into our bloodstream when we watched them drink their milk, learn to eat and taste food, refresh themselves after school, and hopefully we enjoyed their company as they grew up at the breakfast or dinner table.
The oxytocin may still make us feel all warm and fuzzy again, even when our kids are 6’6″ adults! (Well at least at first, then it becomes a warm and fuzzy pride.)
Think about this: When our grown daughter or son moves out on their own do we worry about how healthily they are eating, and try to give them food to take home with them whether they need it or not. (Well I did, I don’t know about everyone else.)
Are we trying to tell them they still need us? Or are we trying to tell ourselves that we are needed and regain that feeling of being needed by our child again? Worse still: is our adult child getting the feeling we don’t think they are able to take care of themselves without us?
I realize some of this is over-simplification. But it kind of makes sense as a few examples of how important food is in our minds and bodies above its nutritional value. Think about what role food plays in your life, the lives of your children, be they little or adult.
As An Adult
What is the first thing you want as an adult when you feel depressed, unloved, unappreciated, or bored? Something chocolate or sweet or even salty? (Hmmm, wonder where that came from?) Some resort to smoking, drinking, drugs or other routes of oral stimulation/ relaxation. All of us are looking for that feeling of being loved, appreciated, or stimulated.
Perhaps these routes are not the best way to deaden the depression, feeling of loneliness, boredom, or of being unappreciated. Remember the oxytocin related sensations of love, security, comfort, feeling full and more, that food provided your infant, toddler, child and/or student: the love, warmth, feeling protected, peacefulness, and bonding? We seek the same things as adults and find all kind of sources for the feelings.
Have you ever been bored and craved some special food? Okay think about the effects of food on a toddler: stimulation of senses. Everyone has heard of comfort foods. What kinds of foods did your parents give you when you were sad, or tired, or bored? Do you see a pattern?
I am not trying to cure the world of overeating but I think it is interesting how the cycle of eating, feeding, and comforting ourselves starts when we are quite young. But we as adults can alter the cycle to eat healthier foods, or find other ways to fight boredom, depression, feelings of being unloved.
I personally enjoyed studying subjects I had had no time for while working full time and raising my first son. I volunteered, took classes at the “Y,” and later the Senior Center. I traveled, went to movies, started this blog, joined Meet up Groups on different topics, and for several years studied about photography and started my own small business for a few years.
Now is the time to do something you have always wanted to do. If you lose a spouse, it is normal to grieve. But try to make a good life for yourself after you feel you can. Learn to love yourself, your world, whoever you worship, grow, seek knowledge, and enjoy what good things there are to be enjoyed.