So, I’m not always confident about this parenting thing, but one thing I am confident about is my decision to not teach my kids to fear food. That means I don’t differentiate to my kids what foods are “good” or “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy.” One of my catch-phrases is “Any food eaten with joy is the best food for you.” I know I’m practically all by myself in this category and that’s okay. I’m following my heart, for better or worse.
My first confession is that though I believe in this approach for my family whole-heartedly, it’s not the most natural stance for me to take. Having had an eating disorder for years in my teens, and then becoming a personal trainer and nutritional consultant in my adult years, I was the Queen of Food Judgment. I had a Masters Degree in “Health and Wellness,” and a PhD in Food Fear. I not only strictly regimented what I ate, I did it professionally for other people too. So yeah, my parenting approach with food now =
It’s not easy being a revolutionary in this complex world of food judgment. I still have a (much weaker but still present) little food judge sitting on my shoulder as I choose food for my kids, and that little bitch likes to make her appearance known when I’m grocery shopping. And I guess that’s because I’m around other people who have also been taught to judge food. So my next confession is that I HATE grocery shopping ~ not just because it’s a pain in the ass, but because I feel I’m being judged. If not by other people, then at least by that annoying little minion on my shoulder who can’t quite grasp the concept of “food freedom.”
And I’ve noticed some interesting behaviors that come out when I’m grocery shopping and doing my best not to be judged by others who may think I buy my kids too much processed junk. Here are those silly and strange behaviors that the food judge bitch brings out in me, in no particular order:
* If I see someone I know at the grocery store (especially another Mother) I will look into my cart and see what she’s about to judge me on. If I have time and haven’t been spotted yet I’ll bury some of my fun foods under the produce or the organic crap.
* When going to the check out and there is no person ahead of me or behind me, that means the only person judging my food is the cashier ~ so I’ll carefully put my produce, organic stuff, and “healthier” choices on the belt first so the cashier’s first impression of me is one of a “Mother Who Is Making The Correct Choices For Her Family.” By the time the cashier gets to the “junk food” I’ve already shown that I give half a crap what my kids eat, so I can’t be judged too harshly.
* The same behavior above applies if there is someone ahead of me in line (especially a Mother). Last week I was at the checkout and a family was ahead of me in line only buying organic chicken and vegetables (of course they brought their own bag too, which I never do because I use the plastic grocery bags for everything from garbage bags to kitty litter catchers. So there’s a confession inside of a confession: I USE PLASTIC). I made sure to put my fruit and vegetables and organic juices on the belt first and was relieved when they left the store before my box of Lucky Charms made it to the belt.
(And on that note, my three year old insists on me buying Lucky Charms He only eats the marshmallows. He poops green after eating them. They keep him happy so I don’t give a crap.)
* So, if there’s no one ahead of me in line but someone joins the line in back of me (especially a Mother), I take the belt behavior from above and reverse it. I’ll put all the junky stuff on the belt first, silently begging the cashier to bag it before it’s seen, and then I’ll grace the belt with all my saintly choices.
* The worst is when I’m in a busy grocery store, someone is in front of me, someone is behind me and there’s a cashier AND a bagger. That’s FOUR people (five, including me) judging my food choices. So you know what I do? I never put myself in that situation. I have the luxury of grocery shopping in off hours. So that’s what I do.
* Home grocery delivery is my favorite thing. Someone unseen chooses my food, and the driver of the truck is usually male and not as prone to food judging (in my opinion). I find I don’t judge myself AT ALL with home grocery delivery. Instead I can stand back and admire my fully-stocked kitchen that is a beautiful balance of whole foods and fun foods.
It’s interesting to me that that little food judge bitch doesn’t perch on my shoulder with home grocery delivery. Maybe she just lives at the grocery store and hops on when I enter. If so, I’m not paying extra for her. In fact I’d like a refund.
Maybe now that I’m outing her in these confessions, she’ll leave me the hell alone, allow me to stop these silly behaviors and let the Food Freedom Fairy who perches on the other shoulder (and in my heart) reign supreme.
Happy Magical Monday. ♥