And how I found it—any myself in the process.


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This is a story I have been turning over in my head in real time as I lived it over the past year. And I have been unsure about sharing it because it’s much more personal than I usually share, but it also feels important—because it has been such a big part of my life. And,  because my story is also the story of every mom who has ever had a hard time feeding herself.

Which I know,  because I hear from you all every day, is, oh so many of us.

amy on bathroom floor.

I often wondered, during my first decade of motherhood, why—and how—feeding me, became so amazingly difficult. I’ve been feeding myself my whole life! Why did my needs and preferences become such a blur behind the needs of my kids? I drank smoothies for breakfast not because I like them more than food, but because it’s easier to drink a meal than to make and chew one. I often ate a sandwich while pushing the stroller on the way to the park down the street (or in the car with the kids safely contained in their car seats) because I didn’t always get a chance to sit during their  lunchtime. I ate apples and bananas instead of the “good” fruit, because I thought the kids deserved the berries and mangos more.

I was forever the last person to sit down at the table because I was getting the 17 remaining things we needed. I was always the last person in my family to eat. I ate a lot of dinners on the floor of the bathroom while bathing a toddler because that had to happen before I got a chance to finish my own meal. 

And I saw this phenomenon happening to other mothers all around me. I verbalized it often. I silently resented it daily. But I lacked the ability to change it.

A lot of this is the reality of having little kids in the house—and having to do everything else required of us as adults. But this way of living through the feeling of constantly drowning is also a cultural norm. Especially in the United States. Especially for moms. 

There is so much I adore (and am already nostalgic for) about raising kids. But I could not shake the feeling that I should be able to eat a meal sitting down, and without a child in my lap. 

And then came the heart-wrenching process of divorce. And I immediately lost my appetite. My normal, ongoing struggle to find the logistical bandwidth to feed myself became  something entirely new:

I literally could not locate my hunger.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing! This resonates so much. I used to love thinking about recipes and making food for myself and friends/family, but these days, snack dinners are our go-to. I know my kid eats well during the day (I end up packing us the same things usually), but by the time we get home, I don’t have the energy. My kid is a selective eater (sensory), so it’s hard to push past the guilt of not providing a variety of things for her to try.

  2. Thank you for sharing! So relatable, and especially saving the “good” fruit for the kids. So true and we deserve it too! Congrats on finding your appetite (and yourself) again. 🙂

  3. This couldn’t hit home more! I have not been able to share my loss of appetite with anyone. For me, it started post pardum after my third child and literally experiencing everything you shared. No time, putting 20 other things first, wiping butts or cleaning up accidents or preventing a storm all before making myself food. Guests at my table or being a guest at others, I often just hear, “eat Em” or “sit down Em”. But I don’t have the appetite, how do I explain that? My grandmother has been the only one to comment that she used to eat just as I do, nibbling off the kids scraps left behind, and then found myself starved after a few days. Only to find I had no food I wanted to indulge in within my kitchen.
    The past year I have been working on staying hydrated. Food will come next, thank you for your post. It is worth sharing with the world of mothers!!

    1. I’m so glad it resonated—I haven’t heard anyone talk about it and yet it seems that it is so common! I hope it starts to get a little easier for you.

  4. Hi Amy! Thank you for sharing your story. You’re such a great writer! I struggle so much with feeding myself. Thank you for bringing this issue to light.

  5. This is such an important topic, thank you for sharing your experience. I think I have always struggled to feed myself well, but it’s never been an issue to feed my kids well, and I’ve only recently realized it’s a very loving form of self-care to make and serve food I want (now that I can identify what that is).

    1. I am glad to help us know we are not alone in these experiences and thank you for reading!

  6. First of all I love the picture of you in the bathroom with your wine! 😂 It’s so cute and relatable, I love when we’re captured in motherhood. This piece is written beautifully! In the throws of toddlerhood, a pregnancy is where nothing sounds good, and soon to be postpartum haze, thanks for the inspiration to feed myself well! 💕

    1. It really captures that time in my life so well! And thank you for commenting—and I know this is so common for so many during pregnancy!

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It sounds similar, though not exactly like how I feel when I’m pregnant. Currently I’m expecting #4, and although I do feel hunger, I dread it because of the nausea it brings, and food doesn’t taste nearly as good right now. Everything tastes bland, and I don’t enjoy eating. It’s more of a chore. I always get compliments about how “good” I look when pregnant. I never gain much weight at all, but it’s not intentional or by choice. I long for the enjoyment of eating that always returns once the baby is born.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. That feeling is just so hard and I hope it lifts for you after baby is here and you get that joy back!

  8. I and my mom friends have talked about how our meals became dramatically simpler (and blander) since having kids (we’re all in the toddler stage with our firsts). When I was pregnant with my first child I learned to cook elaborate meals from my family’s home country. Fast forward to now and more nights than I care to admit we survive on pizza and french fries. What drew me to your recipes is how they could be both easy and delicious and that’s why I subscribe to your meal plans now too. I really appreciate you sharing something so personal. I also feel like my needs come last and I agree it’s especially true in the U.S. for moms (and worse when we don’t have extended family nearby). As someone with a former eating disorder who, since becoming a toddler mom, now also “forgets” to eat (and doesn’t realize it until my blood pressure drastically drops) I totally sympathize with the feeling of “forcing” yourself to eat just because you know you need to. Part of my recovery from my eating disorder is realizing life is meant to be enjoyed and a huge part of that joy is food. You don’t know how much of a support person you are to so many moms like myself, even though you’ve never met the vast majority of us. Every time I feel panicked about my son’s eating I remember that there needs to be balance and sometimes it’s ok to pay for the convenience when you can’t make the healthy snack (that’s a mantra I picked up from you). Anywho long rant but this article just really struck a chord with me on so many levels. Sending you lots of love and hugs and praying for you.

  9. Me too, more or less. I used to find cooking relaxing, but trying to cook things my kid will eat rather than what I want ruined it for me. When there’s not another adult around to give positive feedback I get discouraged. I just don’t know what I want to eat anymore. Not chicken nuggets, anyway ..