It’s not easy to let your kids go with you to do some gardening tasks, especially now that there are now electronic gadgets to keep them entertained. But did you know that letting kids join to do some gardening tasks is essential, as this will help them to learn and develop skills when it comes to nature and science.
Growing up, the garden was somewhat family-cultural; it was an overflow of the psychological “make-do or do-without” mindset of both my parents, who came from poor, Midwestern backgrounds. It wasn’t because it was healthy; it was just a past-time and the way to secure access to green tomatoes for frying. Still, my favorite childhood food memories were the watermelon seed-spitting contests off the porch, stealing strawberries straight from the patch, measuring my height against the corn, and the fresh onions we kept in a glass of water on the table for any passerby to grab and munch.
Group Snacks: When the Cool Mom Crowd Causes Compromise
(& Why I Won’t Next Time)
Have you ever provided, exclusively, the group snack for the team, for the club, or school party? I mean, have you been the only one bringing food to a gaggle of children?
In most cases, we attend gatherings where everyone brings something, and so we feel free to take food that we will personally eat as a family—in fact, we feel required to do so since it’s likely that my corn-allergic kid will only be able to eat what I personally bring. I figure, with other options available they can take it or leave it, and I really don’t care. They can wrinkle their nose and I can feel all the pious-pity for them that I want, declaring that they do not understand real food and are the truly unfortunate ones. Then, when the parents like it and ask for the recipe, I can simultaneously indulge in that praise even while feeling sorry for those who don’t understand real food.
Okay, I’m not as bad as all that. At least, I never let on that I’m not as bad as all that.
It was our week to bring the team snack to the soccer game. I spent 2 weeks making a complete issue out of a non-issue. Yes, I’m that mom. All of the snacks thus far have been pre-packaged, nothing homemade. Is this the social protocol? Is there room for homemade snacks on the soccer field? I felt pressure to get this right and still hold to my values.
You see, food for me is a moral issue. I placed pressure upon myself to find something: 1)prepackaged in portion size, 2) appetizing/appealing to 2nd graders, 3) non-gmo and healthy, and 4) affordable enough to feed the entire team.
To quote the Princess’ Bride, “I don’t believe they exist.”
I was shocked when my husband found prepackaged baby carrots in the same container that those fake-cheese & crackers come, but in the cheese section was ranch dressing. Okay, I can do this, I thought. Sure, the ranch dressing had all kinds of stuff we don’t eat. I really felt like I was compromising for the sake of imagined peer pressure, but I was willing to do it to keep my kid from feeling like he had “that mom.”
He’s going to have a lot of that in years to come.
The game was close, we lost by one, hands were slapped in typical good-game fashion, and they made a run straight for me. Snack Mom. One by one, “no thank you.” They were polite, but only the moms took the snacks, not a single kid of his own volition accepted.
Perhaps this falls into the category of “First World Problems”…okay, it totally does. There is, however, a deeper, more sensitive issue at play: when every lifestyle choice you make is deliberate and you are forever getting strange looks and probing questions from others, sometimes you lack the strength to do it again. I can answer for my own weirdness all day long, but I do not want my kids to be forced into answering for it.
Those who have been reading this blog over the last three years know I have a bad habit of shrinking myself (previous occupational hazard), and this is the question I ultimately have to ask…which moral stance has the greater value: eating ethical food that is healthy and nutritious, or keeping my kid from a potential sideways glance from another child?
My children are healthy and strong inside and out. Next time, I won’t compromise:
*I won’t because if these kids are going to see these ethics as valuable, they must see them as consistent , first.
*I won’t compromise because part of being a caring adult means that I would not feed someone else’s child food that I know is unhealthy—regardless of their parents’ own decisions on the matter.
*I won’t compromise because if my kid does get that snicker or sideways glance, it’s a monitored learning tool that we can utilize to guide family discussions towards things like leadership, handling peer pressure, resilience, and standing up for what is right.
And so, next time, I think I’ll follow the lead from other moms who have had this First World Problem, and conquer it with homemade gelatin. Here are some suggestions:
Here is a place I can go to when I’m feeling weak (and a place to send other moms who need the encouragement to keep consistency): https://www.facebook.com/spoonfedblog.net
These homemade fruit snacks look irresistable!
Yup, that’s all I got…but what is your go-to snack for group snack duty?