human, being

Yeah, my kids eat crap. So sue me. (yet I’m still ashamed)

Today I stumbled upon a rant over at the Shapely Prose site about the current parenting guilt theme called “Never Let Your Child Eat a Single Item of Junk Food If You Want to Be Considered a ‘Good’ Parent.”

You’d think it would be easy to feed yourself and your kids.  I’m trying to avoid MSG and HFCS and nitrites, but they are EVERYWHERE. I swear to god those things are added to the toothpaste. And the water.

I grew up in a household where there junk food appeared periodically. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of the Coco Puffs and Mother’s Iced Oatmeal Cookies, I’d pig out when the items were in the house. My parents never guilted me about it. I was always an active kid. Today, I think every “good” parent is acutely aware that there  is a childhood obesity epidemic going on (or so the media tells us, even though recent studies show that the number of obese children is dropping). I, for one, find myself being very critical of Lauren when she wants a cookie, or a popcicle. I feel horrible if I sit on my couch and eat more than the 22 pieces of Frosted Mini Wheats in a serving. Yet it’s our kids who are marketed to. Just watch Nickelodeon for 20 minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

I try to make Lauren eat healthy, just as I try to make myself eat healthy. The kid doesn’t have genetics behind her being skinny, that’s for sure, as both her father and I have struggled with our weight. I have no idea if I’m protecting her from my food neuroses or passing them on. I’m sure she knows when I’m holding my tongue as she eats the free pink chip cookie at King Soopers. I don’t want her to get a complex about it, but I also don’t want her to make crappy choices all the time. (read: like I feel I do)

Add in the fact that my stepson is special needs with a “feeding disorder,” meaning that there are only about 5 foods he will eat in any given week. Guess what they are? Frozen pancakes or waffles with fake syrup; nuggets and fries, Cheezits and squeeze cheese; and Fizzix, the sugar-added yoplait yogurt sticks. Last weekend, he told me that he discovered that he “kind of likes those mini corn dogs,” and his father and I just about jumped for joy. He won’t drink water, just apple juice or soda. He is not pampered, or spoiled. His parents have had him in a world-class feeding therapy program for his whole life and this is the progress they’ve made. His diet certainly contributes to his poor health, his inability to grow (he’s 11 and weighs 60 lbs), and his severe ADHD. But every day, the goal is to get the kid to eat at least 600 calories. Some days we win, some days we lose.

So here I am, with this kiddo in my house every weekend, and my 7-year-old daughter, who is on the chubby side and has inherited my love for all things sugar. She’s a healthy eater when I present her with healthy food,  but she sees R eating crap when I’m trying to make her eat broccoli and salmon, and I get the whole, “It’s not FAIR!!!!” routine. And it’s NOT fair. She’s right.

So I break down and feed them the same thing, and feel like the BAD MOM because my daughter is sitting at the dining room table eating Easy Fries, mini corn dogs and sugar-free lemonade for lunch while watching Sponge Bob. And I feel like the BAD PERSON when I mooch a couple of fries off their plates. Because DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY MINUTES I WILL HAVE TO RUN ON THE TREADMILL to burn off those fries … and the chocolate cake I had for dessert on Thursday night?

There’s only so much we can do, though.  I can go broke buying only organic, or I can scrub the crap out of my fruits and veggies with dish soap and hope to god the Honduran farmers didn’t spray my apples with DDT. I can be label conscious, and try to make good choices. I can teach Lauren to make good choices, and hope that Ryan picks up some semblance of “real food” in the near future. But how can I judge their eating, when I’ll never be the perfect eater (and I also feel ashamed about that, because we are taught that, too, by the experts and the media.)

Give a kid a choice, and unless s/he is very unusual, it’ll be Cheetos, Oreos and Coke all day long until the tummy ache sets in. Maybe when they’re 16 and concerned about hooking up with the hotties, they’ll think about eating a salad.


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If you do some google`ing for healthy recepies you can find loads of foods, cookies, candy etc that are alot better for the health/weight that those you buy, but still look the same… So if you have the time to cook stuff, maybe you could try feeding your child that insted, they wont even notice;) Then you wont feel bad everytime you give her something good:)


Comment by s-dee

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