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I'm a Fast-Food Mom and Proud of It

Photograph by Twenty20

When my kids were little, I'd take them into the library story hour every Tuesday, and then we'd hit the drive-thru and sit in our car and people-watch.

As they'd eat their Happy Meals, I'd enjoy the half hour of silence that came with feeding my kids fried, salty carbs and watch as they played with their new toys.

Since I'd had my children very close together—three kids in three years—this was the only outing I could manage with all three of them. And, to me, it was glorious.

One snowy, cold Tuesday, I asked a fellow mom to join us as story hour was wrapping up. I figured if there were two adults, we could get our kids into the Golden Arches without a problem. We'd have each other for backup and the exhaustion we'd feel from our adventure would be worth it since we'd have more time out of the house.

"No, thanks, my kids don't know what a Happy Meal is and I don't plan on letting them know anytime soon," was her response.

Her remark stung me for a second, but it passed as soon as I pulled up to the window to put in our lunch order. I cracked my window and the smell of cheeseburgers and fries floated into my nostrils.

I'm a fast-food mom and proud of it. These restaurants don't serve the healthiest food and I'm well aware of it, but in moderation, these outings kept my mind healthy on the days when I had zero energy, no patience and a bad case of cabin fever.

In moderation, these outings kept my mind healthy on the days when I had zero energy, patience and a bad case of cabin fever.

When my mom took me and my siblings out to eat when we were kids, it was always to get fast food. There was nothing more fun than going out on a Friday night and sharing shakes and fries with my sisters.

I use fast food as a reward if my kids behave well in a store and it works every time—even now that they are teenagers. If they want nuggets and a soda, it has to be earned.

I have no shame in saying that we hit our favorite greasy places while traveling or for dinner when I have nothing left in me. Sometimes we eat in the car, and other times, we go inside and end up staying for an hour, refilling our soda and enjoying each others company.

Not to mention fast-food ketchup tastes better, their soda is the best and ordering one of their salads makes you feel like I haven't completely given up on healthy eating.

It's great that there are parents out there who keep away from fast food. I'm just not one of them. I plan to use fast food as a bargaining chip, a cure for my PMS and an escape for as long as I want.

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