I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to write this post. Why? Well, to be honest, it probably won’t have a lot of nutritional content. Even though I’m usually all about the facts and figures, I feel like we’re good enough friends to skip those this week and have a little heart-to-heart (I’ll try not to get too sappy on you…).
Whenever I tell people that I am a Registered Dietitian I often hear in reply, ‘well don’t look at what I eat’, or ‘don’t look in my cupboards’. Now, I’ll admit, I can be a pretty judgemental person (something I am continually working on) however, working as a dietitian has taught me that you cannot judge someone by their weight or what they eat. Fat does not equal lazy. Skinny does not equal healthy. So much more goes into the equation than just food and exercise. These definitely factor into overall health and weight, but there is so much more to it than how many steps you take and how many oreos you eat. So what does this have to do with kids? Becoming a parent has also taught me that you can’t judge a parent by what they are feeding their children.
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a mom for me has been dealing with the judgement of the world. Does anyone else feel that way? I mean, from the starting line I had facts opinions shared consistently. I was gaining too much weight/not gaining enough weight. I was exercising too much/not enough. Then, once I had my sweet little G I was using the wrong nursing position, feeding him too much/little, introducing solids too soon/not soon enough, feeding him the wrong solids. I’ve felt judged for holding off on feeding him sugar, giving him wheat crackers, not giving him juice, feeding him goldfish (yes, he does eat goldfish), and seriously, I could go on. Even with a Master’s in Nutrition it sometimes feels like everyone else is an expert on what is good or bad to feed my baby. Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I can’t be the only one who has felt this way.
Now, I’m not saying that people aren’t allowed to have an opinion but I am saying that what works for you may not work for someone else and that is OKAY! Taking your sprout to Burger King does not make you a bad mom. I mean, I grew up eating Poptarts for breakfast and does that make me think I had a bad mom? Definitely not!!! It was also my mom who encouraged me (and still does) to try new foods, made me a hot breakfast before any test to make sure I wouldn’t get hungry, and let me help her in the kitchen, which fostered my love of cooking. My diet was not perfectly healthy growing up. I probably ate too many popsicles during the summer and there was that phase during high school when I ate a package of Hostess donuts for lunch (crumb donuts anyone?), and I still turned out fairly normal with mostly healthy eating habits. My goal is to provide the same for my little G. As parents, we can teach our children so much more about food than we probably realize.
Our little corner of the internet is meant to help make parenting easier. I’m not here to make you feel judged or inadequate as a parent for feeding your child french fries. If your child loves kale smoothies, that is GREAT. If your child hasn’t touched a vegetable in 5 years, that is also GREAT. The point is that we keep trying to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits in our own little sprouts, and try to pass a little less judgement on what those around us are feeding theirs.
So yes, my G eats goldfish, and you better believe he dug into a nice sugary cake on his first birthday. We don’t always have a vegetable at every meal and on occasion we eat donuts for breakfast. Maybe that makes me less of a dietitian or maybe that makes me more of a human being? I’ll let you be the judge…