I’m often in the kitchen…..usually eating biscuits, polishing off leftovers, licking spoons clean or frantically scraping any leftover food from the bottom of a pan. I will happily flit between sweet and savoury and then back again without a thought.
No-one ever warned me that once I became a mum I would feel hungry all the time. But I do. I feel like I can’t get enough calories in me.
Back when I was breastfeeding, I felt like the constant eating and the treats were justified. I had absolutely never felt as hungry as I did when I was feeding small babies – I could practically feel the calories being drained out of me. And then when I was feeding twins, even the doctor told me to eat some more Mars bars (she actually did).
I thought the hunger would go away when I stopped breastfeeding, but it never did.
And now I seem to be permanently in need of an energy boost to get me through the next challenge – the school run, another mealtime, bathtime, another meltdown; there’s always something that has me reaching for the biscuit tin. I feel compelled to finish off my children’s leftovers, even though most of the time they have been pushed around a plate for 30 minutes and couldn’t look more unappetising. But I still eat them….. what’s wrong with me?? And, having polished off the remainder of my children’s tea, I can then quite happily eat a normal sized dinner with my husband a couple of hours later.
Yes that’s right, basically two dinners.
On work days I get home ravenous, desperately searching for crackers and dips and cheese and biscuits and anything else that will get me through bedtime. It’s not like I haven’t eaten lunch – I have. And snacks. But I still need more fuel.
My boys now eye me suspiciously whenever they need to entrust any food to me. ‘I need the toilet, mummy’; says one during snack time. ‘Off you go then’, I reply, ‘I’ll keep an eye on your snack’. He pauses and looks at me before saying ‘don’t eat it, mummy’. They know me well, my boys.They know that mummy can frequently be found hiding in the kitchen, pretending she doesn’t have a mouth full of rich teas or pick n mix. They know that mummy has her own treat tin and sweetie stash.
I know I should just have healthier snacks, and I have tried….really I have. I’m aware that scoffing sweets just gives me an immediate burst of energy but will leave me craving sugar again a few minutes later. But all that happens when I snack healthily is that I still feel hungry, and because I’ve just had a healthy snack that means I can now justify eating the less healthy thing that I was trying to avoid eating in the first place. So I just end up eating both.
Right now, while I spend my days running up and down the stairs, breaking up wrestling matches, and chasing small children down the street; I feel like I probably need the extra calories. I don’t know whether anyone has actually calculated how many calories the average mum uses for bath and bedtime, or when trying to get small people dressed and out in the morning – I have a feeling it’s a lot. But the time will come when looking after my boys isn’t, in itself, a work-out. At some point, the constant snacking and finishing off everyone else’s meals will have to stop.
But that time’s not yet. I love being a mum, but my boys leave me feeling beaten, totally exhausted and emotionally drained most days. Cake makes me happy, so I will continue to enjoy it. And my double portions.
I hope I’m not the only one.