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There are certain things that are impossible to prepare for when entering the world of parenthood. You can read all the books in the world and there will still be a lot of moments that are sure to catch you off guard.
The one thing I have still yet to master is how to deal with parenting conflicts. One of the biggest conflicts I've faced as a parent is my children's eating habits. It's as if my kids need to have an allergy excuse to eat healthy. You wouldn't believe some of the things other moms have said.
When I first found out I was pregnant with each of my two kids, I was committed to breastfeeding. There are so many health benefits to nursing and I wanted my babies to have the best nutrition possible. My journey toward healthy eating didn't stop there. I also did my best to practice what I preached.
Don't get me wrong; I love to indulge in chocolate and other treats once in awhile but never made it an everyday habit. And I wanted to pass along my healthy eating habits along to my children.
I have no issue with parents allowing their kids junk food, but it becomes a problem when I'm being judged for not wanting my child to have any.
Everything was going according to plan. Aside from an occasional ice pop or cupcake, the daycare they attended didn't allow any junk food, and I was fine with that policy. When it came to celebrating holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day, kids were gifted things like stickers, pretzels and other healthier options.
Some parents actually complained saying that the holidays were somehow diluted because kids weren't allowed candy at daycare. As I listened to these women bicker, I grew more and more annoyed.
I'm certainly not here to judge other parents, but it's becoming more difficult to deal with this dilemma. Now that my daughter is in kindergarten, I'm noticing more junk food being served at school.
Her school promotes candy and other sweets, and it's beginning to drive me nuts. For every holiday and birthday, the kids are given all kinds of junk food. How do I know this? Because I volunteer in the cafeteria and I attend the class parties.
With 26 students in her classroom, there's often a birthday party where cupcakes are being served. Let's also not forget Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day, when kids are served sugary snacks. If you think the buck stops there, think again.
There's also the occasional play date, birthday parties outside of school and dance class to name a few. You may be reading this and think that I'm being over the top. But, that's not the case at all. I do allow my children sweet treats, but not excessively.
I have no issue with parents allowing their kids junk food, but it becomes a problem when I'm being judged for not wanting my child to have any. This has happened on a few occasions, like the times when doughnuts are being offered. When asked if my daughter could have one, I would politely decline.
Stop giving me the side-eye. I'm not depriving my kids of a fun childhood.
"Does she have allergies?" one parent rudely asked on one occasion.
"No," I responded.
She then mumbled something under her breath in disapproval. Some have flat out said that they can't understand why my daughter can't have certain things, as if something is wrong with me.
One mom couldn't understand why my kids only drink water and not juice. For the record, if you offer my kids juice, they decline and ask for water on their own. It's not as if I'm depriving them of nutrition. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
My mission is to arm them with the tools needed to make informed decisions. I often explain to them why they're not allowed certain things. I also truthfully explain the effects of having too much sweets. My 2-year-old doesn't quite get it just yet, but my 5-year-old daughter is fully aware that eating too much candy could lead to cavities and is able to make the decision on her own to avoid certain things.
When it comes to unhealthy food being served in school, I've made it my business to communicate with teachers and faculty members and I'm happy to say that we've come to a compromise. As for parents who think the only logical explanation for my kids to eat healthy is allergies, stop giving me the side-eye. I'm not depriving my kids of a fun childhood. So please stop judging me for my parenting choice.