Dear Vicki: My mother had been living on her own ever since my father passed away three years ago. She finally moved in with my family last year and at first, it seemed perfect. My husband and I both work full time at the small architectural firm we own, so the extra help around the house has been a gift. The kids love having her here, too. But a problem has developed that I’m not sure how to address. Mom is a real Earthy person and loves to cook, but she refuses to honor our desire for a healthy eating style. When she first moved in, she seemed willing to do so, but lately she’s constantly making the kids sugary treats even when I’ve asked her to avoid sugar. I understand it’s her way of showing love, but it goes against everything we’re trying to accomplish with our family’s health. How can I get her to understand that it’s our house and we set the rules? I’ve tried to lay down the law, but she finds ways to ignore me. Signed: Healthy in Harrisburg
Dear Healthy: This is a common and surprisingly difficult issue. You are correct: Earths love to show love through food. They also love to make people feel special and important which, in our Western culture, usually involves sugar. Think: Christmas cookies, a favorite dessert, the birthday cake. We’ve all been there. It means that you aren’t just fighting your mother, you’re fighting our whole culture. But the good news here is that you seem to be a Metal. Wanting your mother to honor your rules is very Metal, as is a profession as an architect. If any one of the Five Elements has the structure to buck a system, it’s Metal. And while we’re not going to take on our culture’s addiction to sugar here, we are going to help you work with your mother to keep peace in your home and honor your wishes.
First, remember that you and your mother relate on the Nurturing Cycle, her Earth feeds your Metal. That means you expect her to support you and are probably surprised when she doesn’t. It also means that the presence of her unchecked Earth in your house has possibly fed your Metal to the point where you might have an excess of Metal energy these days. And while too much Metal can lead to many problems for you, it also exacerbates the situation you’re having with your mother.