It happens all the time. The minute I mention my blog Foodlets, which is about trying to cook for kids, this is the reaction I get from other parents: "OH. You can never come to my house for dinner then." Then they laugh. A little.
As though the point of my blog is to harass other poor souls who are in the trenches every day. Children need broccoli! There's really no substitute for "homemade." If Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, why can't you? No way! The point of my blog is to LIFT UP other poor souls who are in the trenches every day. I'm not judging you. I'm just like you.
Is this what the stupid "Mommy Wars" are about? Making each other feel bad about the way we're all raising our kids? I read something on Momastery today about the SMWs and Glennon Melton nailed it on the head. "I think the 'mommy war' is a battle that rages INSIDE each parent -- that internal battle between guilt and sanity -- between 'perfection' and reality. Between what family life is supposed look like (calm and pretty and Pinterest!) and what family life actually looks like (chaos and messy and Survivor!)." She goes on to say that we take this to the battle to the "outside" but I want to focus on the inside here.
Because it's so simple. We all have strengths and causes we're willing to take up. That's what makes us all good moms. I had a Halloween lunch for a few preschoolers and their moms last week and those ladies were so gracious, thanking me for having them over and apologetically pointing out that they hadn't bothered to cut up string cheese into witches' brooms or wrap turkey dogs in strips of crescent roll dough. Here's what they did instead: helped all the kids get into their costumes and took amazing photos of the whole shindig while I was fiddling around with dried fruit and nut snacks that were supposed to look like pumpkins.
Everyone is doing something right.
As a parent I'm focusing on food (along with a few other things like knowing God, working hard, getting a good education, laughing with your family) because it's something I've struggled with in life. A big appetite and precious little knowledge about what to cook, how to cook and how much I should eat has left me thinking of a Bridget Jones line from years back, "I will always be just a little bit fat!" Having three kids in four years hasn't helped my midsection any, but that's even more reason to figure it out now.
So I'm trying to steer my kids in another direction.
I know it's hard to cook food for kids. Food they'll eat. Maybe even thank you for. And if, IF, the stars align, not spill on the floor. That's why I write a whole blog about it. There are three small people in my family, ages 4, 2 and 1, and while they're fairly adventurous eaters there are still head-banging limits to the foods they'll eat. Carrots, no. Chili, no. Grapes, no, no and yes. It feels arbitrary and tiring to figure it out, and to do the whole thing three times every day.
I get it. If your kid only eats white food right now, you are not alone. If you're worried that a "picky eater" will grow into a stubborn child, lots of us feel exactly the same way. If you have no idea how to go to work, come home, cook a healthy meal from scratch every night before the kids go insane with hunger, bingo! We are all there.
But I think most of us are just plugging along, doing our thing. I want my kids to eat healthy food most of the time and I actually love making it for them, with them. I think it's a skill that will serve them well later on, as well as the memories too. There are moms who are running circles around me when it comes to crafting cute things, volunteering at school, decorating cool kids' rooms, probably cooking and certainly writing. I love it. THANK YOU for being so good at what you do. You're an inspiration to me and I hope that my blog, with all its fun ideas and total failures, can be a glimmer of hope for you. That's its job.