Do Mothers Ever Stop Worrying About How Much Their Kids Eat?

So, my son turned eighteen this year and I still worry about how much he eats.

Knife and fork with white plate on red background
Knife and fork with white plate on red background

While I try to limit my own calorific intake a little more every day, I face an ongoing battle to shove as many calories as I can down my son’s throat.


I hate the word ‘nag’, but I DO nag Kurt about not eating, and when he does pig out, I then nag him about not eating healthily.


It was the one aspect of visiting my mother-in-law that drove the old man up the wall once he’d left home for good; when she nagged at him incessantly to eat more food and shoved seconds of every meal in his face at every opportunity.


Up until the age of four, NC refused to eat anything solid and survived on yoghurt. I tried every delicacy to tempt her – enticing homemade vegetable purees, interesting finger foods and exotic fruits – but she would have none of it. And if I forced her, she gagged. I swore that she would never eat normally and that we would be serving yoghurt as the main course at her wedding.


But survive she did, and now eats Jungle curries with the enthusiasm of a drunk rugby player.


I have a new niece and I watched her put my sister through her food torture paces a few months ago, just as I was put through that same form of toddler terrorism by her cousin twenty years ago.


The problem is, Kurt is actually dropping weight, because the only meal he eats with any regularity is dinner. It must be hard for him to prioritise eating, with his very busy schedule of sleeping through breakfast, using durries as a substitute for lunch and the exertion of so much teenage energy watching back to back ‘Bones’ episodes. I listen to myself pester him about food the minute he first enters the kitchen, trying not to betray the panic in my voice, but at the same time offering him all manner of gourmet feasts to encourage his appetite to kick in, that no-one else apart from the Princess is privy to in the family.

No-one ever made me breakfast at eighteen, but such is the innate fear I have of my son being the only teenager on the North Shore to die of malnutrition, it is a battle I must win.  There is no doubt in my mind that the litheness of Kurt’s Mick Jagger physique (without the muscle tone ), is due to his hyperactivity, the ease with which he replaces most meals with fags, his incessant chatter at mealtimes and a genuine lack of interest in real food, nevertheless, I will go to any lengths to get some vitamins and minerals down him.


NC never actually developed all those hideous conditions like Rickets and Skurvy that I worried so much about during her first decade, I missed her childhood. I need to remind myself that every doctor I consulted told me that NC ‘wouldn’t starve herself,’ and ultimately, they were right.



6 thoughts on “Do Mothers Ever Stop Worrying About How Much Their Kids Eat?

  1. I totally understand. In the last year I’ve watched my 22-year-old daughter go from eating almost nothing (because eating much of anything truly made her ill) to binge eating constantly. She recently started taking an ADHD med, which can also be used to control obsessive thinking, which was her issue with the binge eating. And of course, ADHD meds totally curb the appetite, so she’s back to eating VERY little again. Then there’s our son who went through a year of ADHD meds and my every waking hour was spent trying to force protein into him to keep him going each day, when he didn’t want to eat anything, ever. Now he’s 20 and even though he’s off that med he still only eats if someone puts already-prepared food in front of him that he really likes. Hard to create that situation when he’s in college. I think there’s something about being a mom that makes me feel the need to make sure my babies are well-fed, and it’s very often an uphill battle around here.


    1. There is a link between ADHD and food. I think Kurt is disinterested due to sensory issues. He’s incredibly fussy but like your son, happy to eat ready-made and take out. I thought it was the meds but he’s been off them for 6 months now and still doesn’t eat unless he has to. Do we ever stop worrying?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My ‘kid’ is 42. Spoke to him tonight and he was cooking himself dinner. His wife is in England. Asked what he was making and he said ‘An Eggwhite Omelette’. Blegch! Why? Why? Why would one eat such a thing? Without all the good stuff? The pretty yellow yolk which smiles invitingly at you when you crack it open. He replied that it was healthier for him. Healthier, smealthier. So the answer to your question is NO!


  3. My 20 something daughter suffers from migraine headaches.. She skips meals because she is so busy!! So i am always feeding her when she is home. Plus I slip in vitamins.. I guess we never quit worrying.


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