I have a daughter with a gigantic heart. Her mouth seems to be equally as big.
I recently received a text from another mom asking me where I bought my daughter’s Bento box lunch containers. Well, I’ve proudly accumulated quite a stash, so instead of trying to describe them to her over text to figure out what she was referring to, I just gave her a quick call.
After a few seconds of small talk, the mom informed me that my daughter told her daughter that she wasn’t allowed to have Lunchables because they weren’t good for her. The mom said that her daughter no longer wanted to eat said Lunchables, so she was going to try and prepare the “Lunchables-like” lunches that I had been preparing for my kid.
I was embarrassed for what my daughter said, so I stumbled through my standard explanation about what I made for my kids each day, and that I had no problem with Lunchables whatsoever — I just made a decision awhile back not to send them with my kids.
Now let me be clear. This mom has been nothing but nice to my daughter and I. She didn’t sound that upset over the phone until, after explaining the different types of lunches I prepare (and I promise you they are not that elaborate), she uttered the words: “I just don’t have time to make this kind of lunch every day. Do you work?” Yes, the word “work” sounded like it was in itallics.
Then it got awkward. I tried to explain to her that food was just my thing. I love to cook and awhile back one of my daughters had some health challenges so I decided to try to eat as healthy as possible, as often as possible. I even used my best self-deprecating humor to quash the sense that I was judging her, assuring that in no way would I win the Mother of the Year award for some of my parenting tactics. I even told her the story of how we ate noodles for three meals straight before we moved.
Now truth be told, I am a “bit” fanatical about my kids nutrition. In fact, my own mother calls me the Food Nazi. But I have my reasons. I have had a lifetime struggle with my weight and I do not want to project any of that on to my girls, so I’ve been trying to exemplify good food choices around them since their early years. Additionally, one of my daughters has a slight neurological condition, so I have tried to reduce the amount of chemicals and preservatives to give her the best shot at a healthy life. And I’ve had friends who have gotten cancer, and we just don’t know why or from what.
That being said, I have a special place in my heart for McDonald’s french fries, eat take-out Pizza most Friday’s, and we frequent Subway on a busy week night. And I never restrict what my kids eat at other people’s houses (within reason.)
After we got off the phone, I began thinking about our conversation. Clearly she felt I was judging her for eating Lunchables, and I felt judged for making a healthy meal for my kids. Did I seriously need to send my kid with a Lunchables pak to show that I had a busy life too?
This is something that we see far too often. The “Mommy Wars” are in full swing, and no one is safe. If you try too hard, you are disliked for making others look bad. Just look at the backlash against Pinterest. If you are just trying to get through the day and make choices based on efficiency, you don’t care enough about your kids.
How does it end?
I can honestly say that if I’m going to judge you, it won’t be over a few slices of Oscar Mayer ham and an oreo cookie. I reserve my judgement for things like whether or not you have seen the movie Pitch Perfect or how many Real Housewives of New Jersey you can name. You know, the important things in life.
And if you’re going to judge me for trying to do something good for my kids, well, we were probably never going to share a glass of wine anyways (well, at least not a good bottle of wine.)
Never one to like an awkward ending though, I decided to wave the white flag. I texted the mom a few days later letting her know Target had BPA-free containers on sale.
Her text back: “What’s BPA?”
Whoops. Apparently I know where my daughter gets it from.