I just bought more expensive, healthier yoghurt pouches that I really can’t afford and I told my kids they can’t eat them.
I know, I know, you’re all like ‘uh Carmen, why did you buy them if they can’t eat them?’ Let me tell you!
It is because #biggestlittle starts pre-school on Monday and I’m already bracing myself for the lunchbox guilt.
We are a relatively healthy household. In June last year we cut out most of the basic junk from our lives (sweets, soft drink etc) and since then we’ve made additional tweaks here and there to hit that next level ‘healthy home’ – swapping regular flour for coconut or almond flour, giving sugar the flick, making spreads from scratch, actually making everything from scratch when we can.
But seeing some of the supermum lunch boxes that kids get these days has me feeling a little low.
I don’t even know why I’m panicking. Possibly (read: definitely) because of old mate anxiety. Our kids usually choose tomoatoes over lollies, they’ve never had soft drink, and they live for the free fruit basket at Woolies. There’s really not a big adjustment to be made. But that nasty little voice in my head is telling me it’s not enough.
Please don’t think that I’m sitting here all holier than thou looking down on others who choose to do things differently. No, no, no. It took us a long time to get here, and we are far from perfect. The kids still get the occasional Maccas meal and spend Christmas getting hyped up and Boxing Day crashing down. Easter still involves chocolate (and yes supermarkets, I saw you stocking the shelves with brightly coloured foil covered animals whilst the garbage trucks were still straining under the weight of scrunched up wrapping paper and empty Shopkins blind bags), and birthdays are still all about the cake.
The point I’m trying to make is that we are a healthy home and I still feel incredible pressure to provide a very specific kind of tucker for the little tacker. I’ve been Youtubing, Googling, and Pintresting my fingers off. My most used words may now be ‘lunchbox’, ‘Sugar-free’, and ‘kids’ ( kids because otherwise I get a heap of mason jar salads perfect for the office!)
I feel strongly that some of the pressure is good. No, seriously! Sometimes pressure is a good thing, because it makes me try harder. I strive to do better for my family.
And other times it just makes me crumble. I break, and instead of trying my hardest to adapt I retreat, sometimes literally – jumping into my bed and assuming the foetal position.
We need to find the balance. Not everyone is in the same place and that’s ok, it’s not my life, not my children, not my circus.
Of course children should eat healthy, nutritious foods, we all know that, but we shouldn’t shame those who don’t have the same mindset. We are all on our own journey. Perhaps we could gently see if someone is open to advice while being careful not to have a condescending undertone, or we could share our advice to the public in a place they can see and leave it in their hands.
My kids will have healthy lunch boxes majority of the time, but some days I just won’t have the energy to do anymore than a jam sandwich, an apple, and a biscuit and I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about that. No one should.
Strive to be healthy, cook together, make mistakes, try new things, and make sure you laugh while you do it – we’re making memories and creating lifelong connections with food here!
The Simpsons say you don’t make friends with salad, perhaps it’s time we consider that Homer may not be the incredibly sexy, intelligent, healthy role model he was so clearly designed to be.
Disclaimer, because internet – I am not saying that we should ever ignore situations where a child is actually being neglected. #commonsense #hopefullythatsobvious