As I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I was encouraged to boycott my favorite cereal company, was belittled and berated for having the type of lifestyle that allows for donut eating, and was informed (yet again) how I poison my body each morning when I drink my beloved Diet Coke. The food lectures aren’t limited on social media. I frequently hear friends talk about being made to feel guilty or “less than” for cooking with short-cut products like canned and boxed goods. Friends have been attacked by other women for providing foods like Lunchables, hot dogs, and juice boxes for their children. This is an everyday occurrence….and it needs to stop.
“Oh….you give your kids processed cheese?” (Read this using a self-righteous voice, and say the word processed like you’re saying “crack.”)
“So, you’re not following the Paleo diet? Oh….whatever works with your lifestyle.”
“Are you aware of how much high fructose corn syrup is in that juice your child is drinking?”
“You know, good moms don’t leave the perimeter of the grocery store.”
“MY children don’t have any refined sugar.”
“I would NEVER be caught dead in a McDonalds!”
I could keep going….all day long. Do you know this lady….the lady that likes making other people feel badly about themselves? I do. She’s not my favorite. Unless you are that lady, you probably don’t like her either.
It’s great to be passionate. It’s great to be passionate about healthy living. It’s great to want to only serve the highest quality, freshest, most organic food to your family. I am one hundred percent behind you because I believe moms have the RIGHT to parent in the way they see fit.
But today, I want to give you permission to not be that lady. I’m giving you permission to EAT (and let your family eat too!)
I’m giving you permission to cook food that your children will eat. You have my permission to use short cuts and glorious pantry ingredients. You have my permission to serve happy meals, Spaghettios, and cream-filled snack cakes. You do NOT have to make everything from scratch. You do not have to be interested in juicing. If you like wheat…eat it! Like meat? Eat that too. Only want to serve your kids vegan food? Great. Unless you’re putting Bud Light in the sippy cups and serving up deep-fried bacon and mayo sandwiches three meals a day, you have the freedom to cook and serve what is right for YOU.
Moms are doing the best they can. I am all-too-aware of just how difficult it is to get a hot meal on the table with hungry, fussy kids running around the house. It’s rough. So ladies, cut yourself some slack. Bust out the chicken nuggets and boxed mac n’ cheese on the night when you were “DONE” at 10am. Feel NO guilt as you serve your family pancakes for dinner. ENJOY that pizza you just ordered from your favorite take and bake shop. Ignore the people who have nothing better to do than make you feel guilty and recognize that you are doing a great job. It is SO much more important to focus on building up your family and spending time around the table, than it is to harp on others about what the label of the soup they just served for lunch said.
Let the guilt go. Do what works for YOU. Let yourself enjoy the food you like to eat, and don’t feel pressured to start the new fad diet, unless it is something you genuinely feel passionate about. You are free to be vegetarian. You are free to be gluten-free. You are free to eat red meat. You are free to eat only organic, or buy the cheap produce. You are free to use convenience food. It’s YOUR kitchen and YOUR family. You are doing the best you can, and making the choices that work for you.
I hold this to be true. Serving your child a Lunchable (yes processed cheese, sugary drink and all) isn’t wrong. Making someone feel horrible about giving their child a Lunchable? That is.
I don’t know any moms who wake up each morning and say, “I want my family to be unhealthy and fat!” We offer produce when we can. We provide healthy snacks. We try new foods. We limit treats. We do our best….and your best is good enough.
Indulge once in awhile. Use the shortcuts on days when you are short on time and patience. Don’t allow yourself to feel “less than” because of the judgements and opinions of others. They are making the choices that are right for THEM. You are a great mom….regardless of what is in your kid’s lunchbox. And ladies, you have my permission….EAT. DRINK. BE MERRY. (And I beg of you…let your guilt go!)
*In the spirit of accepting all parenting systems, Chasing Supermom does NOT publish negative comments. =)
I call these people invalidators. And you’ll notice it’s the same people every time on EVERY subject.
Let’s face it, we all have our opinions. And your opinion is just that, your opinion. You are entitled to it and if I ASK for it, you may feel free to give it.
Otherwise? If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all. I posted something one time and in the post it had a picture of me taking my kids to McDonald’s. Something that doesn’t happen much, but happened that day. I was REAMED for it. Did I ask if I should take my kids to McDonald’s? Did I in ANY way solicit opinions on taking my kids to McDonald’s? Was the post even ABOUT McDonald’s? NO.
Hold your breath, count to 10 and bite your tongue. That’s what our moms did and I honestly think they had an easier time of this parenting thing because of it.
Amen! You are so right. I am so grateful for moms like you who recognize that it is okay to make your own choices, and to just leave people alone about theirs!
Bekki, I think you are the absolute best. At a baby shower for my sister-in-law, she was being raked over the coals for wanting to use cloth diapers. I finally interjected and said “Caroline, We all get the right to screw up our own kids…and you do too.” This well-written little ditty speaks to me. Thank you for writing it. I wish I lived next door to you.
I LOVE this post! We all try to do the best we can and sometimes we are made to feel like we aren’t doing enough. Parenthood is hard enough without other parents ( who should know what it’s all about) making you feel terrible. Thank you for your refreshing post and your point of view!
My husband just said “You can put Bud Light in my sippy cup.” But then thought better of it…. He doesn’t like Bud Light. 😉