The Sacrifices We Make For Our Kids, or “How I Undid the Dew”

Feb 20, 2013 by

When we have kids, we make sacrifices, lots of them.  Sleep, for sure.  Alone time.  Romantic time with our partners.  Privacy.  Personal hygiene.  The ability to eat food while it’s still hot.  Adult conversation.  ANY conversation that doesn’t involve the word “poop.”

Sometimes the sacrifices are bigger.  Our careers.  Our sense of self.  Our addiction to Mountain Dew.

Why yes, I did just group “addiction to Mountain Dew” in with those biggies, you read that right.  You’ll need to sit down for this next one:  I, Jennifer Seiderer, being of sound mind, freely gave up Mountain Dew for good on Sunday, February 17th, 2013.

“Big deal,” you’re saying to yourself.  I assure you it IS a big deal.  It’s the end of an era.  How long have I been addicted to Mountain Dew, you ask?  A very, very long time.


I was bottle fed. Not formula, mind you.


Look at that adoring gaze.


Caught in my net: the elusive Mountain Dew.


Just a kid and her Dew, hanging out on a bridge.


A Dew shirt went with my goth persona in 10th grade.


To hell with hanging on to the handle on that cable car, I’m hanging on for dear life to my Dew!


Nobody comes between me and my Dew, not even on my wedding day.


I’ve been off and on the Dew wagon a few times.  I quit cold turkey when I was pregnant with Big, only to Do the Dew again with a vengeance after his birth.  I didn’t quit when I was pregnant with Little (oh, how things are different with your second-born!) but I did cut it down to one a day and I did switch from high-test to Diet Mountain Dew.  In the two years since Little was born, though, I steadily ramped up the intake to about four sixteen-ounce bottles, or sixty-four ounces, per day.



Okay, so that’s 64 bottles, not 64 ounces, but kinda gets the point across, no?

“Big deal,” you’re saying again, “there are many worse things to be addicted to.”  I concur.  I don’t drink or smoke (look at me, I’m Sandra Dee).  Diet Dew’s got zero calories.  Shit, man, I already had to give up peanut butter, my OTHER favorite food, because of Big’s allergy.  Just let me sit here and swig my electric yellow/fluorescent green shot of caffeine in peace, man.  That’s what I’ve told myself for years.  Decades, even.

But then I saw this:  “Diet Soda Associated With Higher Type 2 Diabetes Risk, Study Finds.”  From the article:

” . . . when comparing diabetes risk between the diet soda drinkers and regular soda drinkers, the diet drinkers had an even higher risk of diabetes . . . the women who drank more artificially sweetened drinks also craved sugar more than those drinking the regular drinks, which could explain the association . . . But regardless of whether diet sodas really do bring on diabetes or not, maybe we should be cutting back on the beverage for other health reasons. Past studies have linked it with weight gain, and increased risk of stroke and heart attack.”

Following a link from the article, I read that, “The risk of developing diabetes is 15% greater with the consumption of half a litre per week and 59% greater for the consumption of 1.5 litres per week, respectively.”  (Source)

So I broke out my handy dandy conversion chart (damn those French with their metric system and their snooty “litre” instead of “liter,” anyways) and I came up with this rough estimate.  Please forgive me if this story problem gives anyone grade-school flashbacks.

Q:  Jen drinks sixty-four ounces of Diet Mountain Dew per day, which is the equivalent of 1.9 liters (or “litres”).  If there is a 59% increased likelihood of Jen developing diabetes if she drinks 1.5 liters of Diet Dew, what’s the self-inflicted damage level for 1.9 liters?


A:  Something like 75%.  Jen has a 75% likelihood of developing diabetes if she continues this nonsense.

That was all it took.  Maybe the stars were aligned just so, maybe I was feeling particularly open and receptive (or particularly fat, who knows) but those numbers did the trick.  It’s not like the basic premise — “soda is bad” — was new to me.  It’s just that it hit home for me in a way it never had before.  I don’t want to be unhealthy.  I don’t want to be unable to play with and keep up with my kids.  I don’t want to leave my mister without his missus or my sons without a mother.  I don’t want to die.

So yeah, it’s kinda a big deal.  I can still laugh about all the years I referred to Mountain Dew as “nectar of the gods” and joke that if I hadn’t stopped, my next step was gonna be an IV drip of the stuff.  But I’ll be around and healthy to crack those jokes.

Oh, and somebody please give my mister a medal for putting up with me while I detox.  I love you, baby.  Sorry I’ve been such a bitch lately (um, more so than usual).




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Jen is a nerdy mama with a touch of OCD and a penchant for snarkiness. Before she joined the corporate world in order to put food on the table, she obtained a Social Work degree in order to save the world and hug all the trees. Currently, she works full-time from home and puts her degree to good use in designing online training programs for a large insurance company. Jen originally hails from rural northwest Pennsylvania, where “creek” is pronounced “crick” and cow tipping is an accepted social activity. Jen lives in Simsbury with her husband and two little boys, who are well on their way to being the best-documented children in history (40K+ photos and counting).

Latest posts by JSeiderer (see all)

  • holly

    Ha! I love it! I could have written this same piece (although, not as cleverly as you did) about Diet Dr. Pepper. I too decided to give it up on Sun. Feb 17th!! I was a smoker once and giving that up was easy compared to giving up the Diet Dr. Pepper! But we shall persist! Stay strong sister!

    • JSeiderer

      Alright, Holly, we gotta support each other! Maybe giving up the soda was harder for you because it’s more socially acceptable, so it’s easier to fool yourself about the health detriments?? Dunno.

  • Pamela

    Good for you! Are you giving up caffeine altogether? You might want to consider a step down, like the Starbucks sparklers that are like carbonated juice with caffeine to help with the headaches and whatnot. I didn’t have anywhere near the habit that you did, but for awhile I was drinking a lot of diet pepsi until I realized that it was hard to tell my kids that soda is an unhealthy choice while simultaneously cracking open a can and downing it in front of them.

    • JSeiderer

      Thanks, Pamela! Yep, cold turkey off caffeine (unless chocolate counts?). So far, not so bad. You’re right about being a hypocrite in front of your kids. I just kept telling them “Soda is for grownups.” Meanwhile their daddy doesn’t drink any. Despite what those pics show, I wasn’t allowed to drink soda until I was like 12 or 13 but my parents both drank it. I think what matters is what your kids see you DO, not what you SAY.

  • bernhardsonbunch

    Haaaa! These photos made my day. Good luck, and I give you a LOT of credit. I am a mega-super-coffee-addict, and I just can’t give it up. Way to go!!

    • JSeiderer

      I know, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with another way to get the caffeine without the soda. I hate coffee and tea. My mister bought me Excedrin with caffeine and I’ve taken it twice now but really, the headaches aren’t as bad as I thought they would be. I am verrrrryyyyyy sleepy starting after lunchtime, though . . .

  • Kate

    Good for you!! Although I just saw this article on the today show –

    But that study didn’t mention anything about the diabetes risk – which also scares me, so thank you for sharing because I will definitely be thinking about it the next time I’m tempted to drink a soda!

    • JSeiderer

      Good link, Kate. I think we can probably always find a study that supports whatever it is that we really want to do, right? That way we can feel better about our choices and try to trick ourselves. Maybe it’s naive, but in this instance, I choose to focus on the ones that will make me give up something that I inherently know is unhealthy. I’ve never been one of those people who can do something that they don’t really believe in, but once I truly believe in something, I’m in for reals! This was the article that turned on the lightbulb for me.

  • Chrissy

    Good for you for making the decision to better your health for you and your kids and sticking with it–Just to clarify though, it says that your risk would be 59% higher than it would be if you did not drink diet soda, not that you have a 59% chance of developing diabetes if you drink diet soda.

    • JSeiderer

      You’re absolutely right, Chrissy. I was fudging the numbers some to get across how drastic it seemed to me and how it really hit me over the head. My 75% risk level wasn’t exactly accurate math, either, just a down and dirty way to scare myself straight. :)

  • Kriste

    Oh Sandra Dee you are hysterical. Nice photos.

    • JSeiderer

      Thanks for getting my “Grease” reference! Notice that I didn’t say I was “lousy with virginity,” heh heh.

  • Michelle

    Another winner!! I absolutely LOVE all the photos!

    • JSeiderer


  • oneparticularkitchen

    Dude, I’m speechless. That’s awesome! Good for you!

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