I’m so excited to introduce you to this month’s blog babysitter, Natalie Berthold. This article is especially close to my heart now that I have my own son. I see him and Jonathan interacting, and I realize how very important the father is in a son’s life. Natalie has been one of my dear friends for many years and has helped me with my familial relationships on many levels. Natalie was psyched to be a blog babysitter, as she actually started a babysitting club growing up, and then became a teacher for nine years, and now dedicates her life to healing family and ancestral dynamics, working with women with disordered eating patterns and breaking patterns that we adopted from our parents and ancestors (I know it sounds a little nuts, but it’s seriously some of the most profound work I’ve ever done, you can learn more about her and her work here www.natalieberthold.com). If you were in Live More Weigh Less Mastery, then you hopefully listened to Natalie’s bonus portion ‘Release More, Weigh Less’ which speaks to our relationship with our parents and ancestors, particularly our mothers, and how it can affect our weight and emotional eating. This next article, highlights the importance of fathers in our life. Happy Father’s Day to you and your loved ones! .
No doubt, a female’s most complicated relationship exists between mother and daughter. From our first instances in utero, and continued through the rest of our days, our lives piggyback off of mom and how we relate to one another. However, we mustn’t gloss over the fathers. In systemic and family constellation therapy, the father’s presence and contribution needs to be acknowledged. Too many wives or children don’t give their dads enough credit, when in fact, it takes two to procreate. Without the father, the children would not have life, so if we make our husbands feel dispensable (whether or not we are married or divorced), guess what, our children feel dispensable as well (hello, the kid is half of them!). And, if we as wives don’t respect our husbands, you guessed it, our children learn not to respect their spouses as well (among other things). Worse, your children will feel conflicted over whom to ‘ally with’ when in fact, it is impossible to side with one parent over the other, because it took both to bring them life. The child will then go on to punish themselves in some way, whether it be through love and relationships, finances and career, or health–perhaps emotional eating. Maybe you are the child of parents like that, and can identify with this tough position, or maybe you’re guilty of creating this dynamic for your own kids. It’s certainly a lose-lose position to be in, so it is important that we don’t ask that or expect that from our children.
Let’s talk a little bit about emotional eating, since I know that is Sarah’s focus with you beloved readers and I myself am no stranger to disordered eating, as I suffered from an extreme case of bulimia for 15 years. There are many ancestral and familial patterns that can affect our food intake and emotional and disordered eating. I have worked with many women who tend to overeat because someone important is missing in their lives…oftentimes, the fathers. Whether they are physically or emotionally absent, we are missing a crucial and nourishing ingredient in our lives. Often, we had fathers who were very present, but when we hit puberty and started growing boobs and menstruating, fathers and daughters naturally become a little uncomfortable and pull away from each other. That is ok for a while….it is natural and healthy during this time for the girl to connect with her mother to learn the ways of being a woman, but eventually, some sort of movement needs to be made back to the dad. If dad is around, try to eat more meals with him, and/or fill up on him in other ways. If he is not around due to passing away or just being physically or emotionally absent, try putting a plate for him at your table when you eat, and try saying something like “Daddy, thanks for the gift of life. Life is better and richer when you are around…and so is food”. Sounds silly, but there is a lot to this! If you are married, try to wait until your husband gets home from work and eat together as a family. You, your kids, and husband will benefit greatly from this.
You see, In constellation therapy, it is said that the mother brings the child into the world, and the father shows the child the world. The mother is responsible for nourishing and feeding the baby at infancy, but while mom is/was staying home to make sure the baby survives, dad is working to make money that will feed the child when the breast milk will no longer suffice. To eliminate dad from the equation is detrimental for everyone and can lead to some disordered eating habits.
Where can you acknowledge and respect the fathers in your life more? Where can you direct attention towards them so that they can show you (if you are your father’s child) or your children (if you co-created with a father) the world more? For example, could you ask them advice on finances or cars? As a mother, if a child comes to you with a question on how fireworks explode, could you say something like “you know who is super smart with these things? Daddy! Let’s ask him!” There are so many ways that the fathers in our lives can, with their wisdom, bestow knowledge and worth upon the younger ones.
In a world where feminism is swarming and women are kicking ass (whoot) we also tend to forget about the men (not whoot). Women have this attitude of “I can make my own money, I can use a dildo, and hell, I can even get prego with a turkey baster.” In this, there is a very clear attitude of MEN ARE NOT NEEDED and this in infiltrating the population and affecting our past, present and current men in many ways. Hell yeah they are needed and wanted, and we need to remind them of that and show them!
Additionally, take a moment today and offer thanks and gratitude for your father and the father of your children, if that is applicable. Call dad (or tell him in heaven) how thankful you are for your gift of life and all the other gifts you got from him. If you have a husband, tell him how grateful you are for the gifts you’ve co-created together (kids and otherwise) and how you couldn’t have done it without him. If you have children, tell them that in them, you see their father and it is all good stuff (name specifics if you can). If you need more direction in aligning yourself properly with your father, or the father of your children, feel free to reach out…I guarantee life will be sweeter (so much so that you wont need to substitute his absence with donuts and ice-cream), you’ll be able to breath easier, be more successful, healthier, and the children or future generations will be happier. Happy Father’s Day everyone!