DEAR AMY: I am a 27-year-old single mom. I've never been small, but I am a healthy, strong, well-proportioned size 12. My problem is with my mother. She's extremely fat-phobic, and starts to freak out and call herself horrible fat names when she gets over a size 6. She also makes nasty comments about my weight going back to childhood, such as, "I'd kill myself if I had to wear a size 12." I've learned to accept that. What I can't and won't accept is when she makes fat comments about my daughter. My baby is 14 months old. Her pediatrician says she is the picture of a healthy toddler -- with no weight concerns. My mom continually expresses concern about my daughter's weight. Recently, the three of us went to lunch. My daughter refused to eat much of her meal, and my mom very proudly declared, "I think she just doesn't like to eat in front of me, because she knows I'm counting every calorie she eats!" This attitude is so far beyond not healthy, I don't even know what to say to her. It's not good that my mom has passed her unhealthy relationship with food down to me, but I refuse to let this get put on my daughter's shoulders. What can I do or say to get her to stop doing this? -- I'm Her Mom!DEAR MOM: Your mother's self-loathing and eating issues are unfortunate. You'll need to push back hard enough to establish that, when it comes to your child, there is a new sheriff in town. Tell her you've decided that because she cannot control herself, she may not discuss foo or weight in front of your daughter. Ever.
You respond to violations by saying: "Oops. Look at the time. We're going to have to go." And you pack up and leave. Do not negotiate or discuss this in front of your child.
Your mother may express her hurt and outrage later. Remember when she does this that she is acting out, the way a toddler does when she has been corrected.