Wastefulness. This bothers me. It bothers me at an increasing level.
Weekly, we throw out an alarming amount of food, enough to feed another family. This grieves me.
I’m sure I’ve failed my kids in many ways, but for the moment, my conviction is diet…nutrition…healthy choices. Just thinking about this makes me shrivel like a salt-covered slug. I shut down. I’m overwhelmed. How can I turn this Titantic around? That’s the thing–I feel like we’re sinking and there IS no turning around.
Although I’m a picky eater, at least I like a variety of fruits and vegetables. When our children were young, because I don’t like this about myself, I introduced EVERYTHING to them as soon as they had teeth. I never assumed they wouldn’t like it, and tried my best to minimize them knowing about my food idiosyncrasies (that really should be "idosyncrazies"). Before teeth, I could cram anything Gerber could come up with into their wee little mouths…who cared if they tongued it back out? I’d just spoon it back in. Even when they got a little older and razzberried peas and carrots all over me and the kitchen walls, I wouldn’t back down.
Somewhere along the way, around the time we discovered cheap "Happy Meals" were an excellent tool for bribery–I’m thinking this went hand-in-hand with potty training–I began losing the battle. Except I didn’t realize it until it was too late. I didn’t even KNOW I was in a war.
It doesn’t sound much like it, but we are not child-directed parents; we’re "graduates" and proponents of "Growing Kids God’s Way" (in spite of any negative press you may have heard about the Ezzos, this was an EXCELLENT resource for directing us as young parents. We may not have agreed with everything that was taught, but there was a sound rationale behind every suggestion they offered). I have to admit, however, they wear me down…it’s all too easy to follow the path of least resistance. For us, that has meant eating out too often, buying too many snacks, not finishing what we have. Sure, we’ve set "rules" in the past–i.e., don’t open another bag of chips until the open one is finished, but it’s not long until somehow there are half a dozen bags of stale chips. This part was easier when they were younger…now, with three in "double digits" (as Stephen excitedly described since he will soon be 10), they have their own, individual "favorites", emphasis on "individual".
I love to cook. I do not love to cook for my children…it has become a daily assault on my person, to try to accommodate five different tastes and preferences. Do not lecture me. Do not tell me "if they’re hungry, they’ll eat". Do not tell me how it is in your family (if it’s explaining how you’re able to "make" your kids eat what’s in front of them. I’m happy for you, sincerely, I just don’t want to hear it). I’m not stupid…intellectually, I know the "right" things to do; the follow-through is what’s biting me in the tail. I cannot stand passive-aggressive comments from people…friends…who have children who are either a) wonderful eaters or b) who are self-righteous in this area.
We are fortunate to have three decent kids. I’m thankful for their personalities and hearts, I’m pretty sure I’m not just being a biased mom when I say they’re delightful to have around (most of the time, anyway…let’s keep it real). But, yeah, if I sound defeated, I am in this area. If you’ve read me for five minutes, you KNOW I’m not negative…you KNOW I have a positive attitude.
Last night we went out to dinner. The place served EVERYTHING from breakfast to dinner, choices pretty much covered the whole spectrum. And, yet, still, one of my kids said "they don’t have anything I like." I came unglued, I wanted to HURT this child. I wanted to lecture about starving children in Africa, and for heaven’s sake, right here in Chattanooga…to lambaste them about taking all we have for granted…to manipulate by guilt…. And the truth is, all that accomplishes is a waste of breath and time. Bloviations like this do little more than fall on deaf ears and cause eyes to glaze over.
It does not change a heart…it does not change a mind.
So…I’m whining, lol. Venting. Combusting heat like a steam locomotive…
According to Einstein, I’m insane: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
Funny, huh? I can be frustrated as a mutha and still laugh at myself. It’s what keeps me from jumping off a cliff sometimes.
Tad feels my pain…he knows we need to make changes, and he’s all about helping me. His answer was to come up with a spreadsheet and p l a n our meals. Set a realistic goal of how many nights a week I’m going to cook, and incorporate dishes that are tried and true…try some new things…chart a course so we’ll know where we’re going…
After school snackin’ is tough. They ARE hungry, lunch is early in their day. I’ve got to help them make better choices–ice cream, cookies and brownies are soooo tempting! That sugar rush fills them up just enough so dinner isn’t really a necessity…they CAN pick and choose because they’ve loaded up on junk. I’m actually laughing right now, because sometimes I’m my own worst enemy–when our closest grocery store has "buy one, get one free" chips/snacks/etc., the bargain shopper in me goes CRAZY (I just told you I was insane, this isn’t news)! I’M the one who buys all this stuff…….it is soooo hard for me to STOP!
Enough ranting. Thanks for listening. I’ve gotta end on a funny from last night, too. In spite of my utter defeat, yes, there was a lol moment.
I was on my "wasting food makes me grieve" pontification.
Tad: "Well, maybe you don’t need to cook as much food. Like when we grill chicken, there’s always some left over."
Me: "I only cook two whole chicken breasts…that’s four halves for the five of us."
Tad: "Well, maybe only get one whole one. You know how big they’re making those breasts now!"
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of hearing Tad speak, he speaks loudly. All the time.
Thomas looked over at Stephen, and the two of them exchanged "a look", and they both started snickering.
I look at Thomas, and with all the innocence I can muster, I say, "What…what are y’all laughing at?"
Thomas: "Well, Dad is sooo loud, I’m wondering how many people in the restaurant just heard him say ‘big breasts’ and wanna know WHAT in the world he was talking about!!!"
I spewed my ice water across the table…it changed the entire atmosphere of our conversation.
Thank God for divine moments of family comedy.
(p.s. I know there are people dealing with life (and sometimes death) issues that are way more complicated and significant than this little rant…I’ve got it in perspective, folks, for five minutes, I just wanted to be a baby…)