I'm a mean mom. I'm no fun. Poor, poor William... I hear this a lot and it has nothing to do with my mothering skills and more to do with the things that I don't give William. I should be more specific: It has everything to do with the FOOD I don't give William.
He's never had McDonald's (or any other fast food). He doesn't get lollipops (even when he gets a shot). Candy has never crossed his little lips. I can count the number of times he's had (extremely watered down) juice. He doesn't get syrup with his pancakes. And, for each of these things, I've been told I'm a mean mom. Friends and strangers have no problem making the pained "ooohhhh" sound and then call me mean. I'm not depriving him, I've just made a commitment to trying to keep him eating healthy. It's irritating that people choose to translate that into me depriving him of something. Whatever, so be it.
It all started when we introduced fruits and vegetables. I made ALL of his baby food with my trusty Beaba. I loved introducing him to new fruits and vegetables, knowing exactly what I was feeding my little guy. It was easy and made me realize how cleanly he was eating.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the little joys in life that treats and sweets give us. I grew up in a house that always had fresh-baked goodies on the counter. My mom made chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats, brownies, and her signature cinnamon coffee cake on a near-constant basis. I appreciate the comfort that baking brings for a mom and every now and then make banana bread or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to share with my little guy. It's not like I'm totally crazy about living a non-sugar/healthy foods lifestyle, I just try to make good decisions for him while I'm still in charge of what goes in his mouth. And I'd rather he eat homemade treats than those coming out of a bag.
His eating habits aren't perfect. Yes, he gets chicken fingers and likes to dip them in honey mustard. Sure, he gets a cookie when I'm desperate in a grocery store and just need to cooperate as I get my list done. Grilled cheese and fries are a go-to at one of our favorite local restaurants. His favorite snack is Goldfish. And I'm absolutely guilty of letting him indulge in his love of chips and guacamole when we go to a Mexican restaurant.
However, given the childhood obesity epidemic that threatens our nation, the high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, extra sodium, and who-knows-what lurking in our foods, I'm fine with being a mean mom. I'll take mean if it means my little guy will be healthier in the long run. I just hope that more people will stop considering moms mean for saying no when their kid is offered a lollipop after their haircut.
This month Yahoo! Motherboard members share their thoughts on teaching kids healthy eating habits. See what think others about this topic here.