*updated to add: this blog is not even read by the person I have in mind in writing!!**
Dear Miss Sally Advice Columnist,
We’re trying to get healthier by focusing on nutrition. But for some reason, some people in our lives don’t agree and try to sneak our kids treats. We love them, and relationship is important to us. What can we do?!
Okay I’m about to share a challenge that we’re up against right now. Ready? Which is: trying to modify your family’s diet to help, nourish and serve their lives and have so many people in your village be resistant and somehow personally offended by the idea.
You guys: the crazy thing is I’m not even extreme about all of this!! (obviously: did you see my post about chocolate?) I’ve been blogging about this for a little bit now, so maybe there’s an image that i frown and scold any time there’s a mention of sugar, but that’s not at all true. This blog and any attempts to eat better are mostly just me processing the whole idea. We don’t think everyone needs to do what we’re doing. We don’t think this way is better and yours is worse, okay? I promise. I really am just trying to help my kids out. Having a healthy relationship with food didn’t come easily for me, and it still isn’t always there, so it’s super discouraging when people try to get my kids to be on a different page than what I’m working for in our home (which is peace, health, nourishment, enjoyment). I don’t think treats are wrong. Enjoy them with my kids when you’re with them! But here’s what I would love to share about my perspective on it:
1)I would loooooooove to invest more time and energy into hanging out with you than eating with treats with you. I need help in that. Let’s all put the emphasis on memories, events, experiences, projects, time together over sugar and food.
2) If you are actually spending more than 20 minutes with my kids, it will pay off for you. Believe me I know: the better my kids eat, the better they behave, generally. Seriously this last week we’ve been making lots of treats at our home. Meanwhile at school and all our community events there are treats at every turn. And I have watched a direct increase in Ezra throwing tantrums and Sophia getting weird asking non-stop for snacks. It’s not fun to deal with: you’ll honestly have more fun together if you back off the sugar. And people, it’s better for all of us! We all know what sugar does in us… makes us crave more sweets, not know when we’re full, have mood swings, blood-sugar crashes, unhealthy bodies. (Here’s a great 3 minute video from CBSNews) If you really love S and E, don’t you want to help set them up for success and help them have a healthy life?
3) Please do enjoy a treat together!
4) But know that it better be worth it… Because the parents become the bad guys: when the kids get home they’ll ask for more and we have to be the ones to say no. And that’s okay, it will be worth it because I’ll know you found a small treat that you truly enjoyed together and had a good time. That’s great! I want that for my kids and for you. But if what you did was stuff them with food that won’t nourish them while indoctrinating them against how we’re trying to help them be healthy, then yeah I’m ticked that I have to be the bad guy.
5) This is for real. Last night our dinner was hamburgers, whole wheat buns, ketchup/mayo and green beans. Immediately after, Ezra (two and a half years old) broke out with a big, bright red rash all around his mouth that stayed around through bed time. I don’t fully know what to do with that myself, I feel confused- it’s obviously a minor allergic reaction, which in itself isn’t a big deal. But it does mean things can really harm him if he’s getting a lot. I’m trying to figure it out what it means. And mourning the idea that there might be real food allergies in our family, and I don’t even know what they are. It’s not fun. So please don’t think that since it would be easier for you to feed them something and look at you! you ate all this stuff and turned out alright! that it will for them. (even though I do want to choose relationship over food)
6) It’s okay if you don’t care about this stuff; I don’t expect you to. You don’t have to think I’m right. I just want to ask you to be respectful in the mean time: please don’t sneak stuff to my kids behind my back, please don’t be snarky about our food choices in front of them.
I also want to say thanks to so many of my family and friends who ARE so kind and respectful! I’m thankful that I have so much support in my life. Earlier this week I got together with some mommas that are experiencing similar challenges with their friends and family. I felt kind of compelled to speak up and share here. So anyway, thanks for listening. You guys are the best.
xoxo…. trying to figure it all out in cincinnati, elizabeth.