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It's Not Up to You What I Feed My Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

I've been know to feed my kids fast-food more (way more) than a few times a year. I let them have a donut or sugar cereal and called it "breakfast" when we are in a hurry, staying at a hotel, or just because it is fun to do that every once in a while.

Sometimes if I'm feeling extra fun, I take them out for ice cream late in the afternoon and call it "dinner." I believe doing things like this are meant to be enjoyed, and work beautifully as a bribe. I do this knowing full well what the ingredients are and that the occasional treat is good for the soul—most souls anyway.

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When the Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks made its debut, the colorful milkshake was not only hugely popular, it was also responsible for some less-than sweet behavior from moms pretending to be perfect as they sat behind their computer screens and eat carrot sticks while surely nailing their kids' diet every single day.

And there is so much wrong with this behavior.

For starters, I'm so busy tending to my own clan, I can't even begin to come up with extra time and energy to tell you what you should be feeding your child. Like, I don't even have the tiniest desire to drop some advice on your Instagram post of you and your child sharing a footlong hotdog. I will just let you know how jealous I am.

Damn, hotdogs are good.

Yes, moms are responsible for their children's diet. And we make sure they know what vegetables and fruits are. We make sure they don't have a diet that consists solely of Twinkies, because of course most of them would love to only eat these—Twinkies are spongy and delightful.

We introduce them to exercise and teach them moderation in everything is healthy and the importance of looking at the big picture: putting nutritious food in our bodies more often than eating things which aren't as good for us is key.

You don't need to voice your opinion trying to make someone feel bad about their choices when they don't even concern you.

The goal is to grow up healthy and strong while having some fun and not depriving ourselves. Allowing our children—just as we allow ourselves—to have a treat every once in a while without feeling guilty is a good way to have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.

You know what else I believe is healthy? Keeping your opinions about someone else's diet to yourself.

You can be the boss of your kids and yourself—and that's it. Nail that, but don't worry about what someone else is feeding their child. It introduces an unhealthy dialogue around something that is supposed to feel special and be enjoyed.

When you tell a mother you "feel bad for her child" because she is allowing them to have a milkshake, can of soda, or triple cheeseburger, what you are saying is you think you are superior and are a better mother because you never let your kids indulge in anything sweet. You don't feel bad for them, not even a little—this is just your way of putting another woman down for making a choice that is none of your business.

If a mom wants to feed her kids french fries, a lollipop, or a milkshake that looks like rainbow, she's allowed to and should be able to do so without judgment. And the last thing a child needs to hear is how bad something is for them and their parents are horrible for letting them have it.

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You don't need to voice your opinion trying to make someone feel bad about their choices when they don't even concern you. Besides, the chance you are going to change their mind is slim, so save your energy. The last time I checked, kids and their parents were the ones who discussed what they ate.

As moms, let us handle the effects food has on our kids. We certainly don't need to feel guilty. There's nothing wrong with having a treat and enjoying something that contains too much sugar or fat so long as we aren't feeding our kids three candy bars and a bag of fried pork rinds and sending them off to school for the teacher to deal with afterwards.

Life is about reveling in little pleasures, like picking flowers on the side of the road, a nap on a rainy day, and getting the extra big cone... or the bag of Doritos instead of the carrot sticks every once in a while. It's not about judging others for enjoying them.

Besides, don't you have better things to do with your time anyways?

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