So can we talk for a second about how impossible it is to feed our children without everyone all up in our business? Pretty much as soon as your baby is born, the scrutiny and judgment start. If you don't breastfeed your child, she's going to grow up to be a fire-breathing dragon and will destroy many thatched-roof cottages.
Don’t you know that formula is practically poison and has cockroach wings and heroin needles in it? If you don’t attempt to nurse, you are a selfish, lazy woman who should be beat about the head and neck. WHY WON’T YOU JUST THINK OF YOUR BABY?
But ... breastfeeding moms can’t win, either. Everyone knows that breast is best! Breastfeeding is a beautiful—OH, MY GOD, don’t whip your boob out in public, are you kidding me? That’s disgusting and I don’t need to see that! Go feed your baby in the bathroom, you inappropriate harlot! You know, if you don’t breastfeed them long enough, you’re depriving them and stunting their brain cells; but if you breastfeed them too long, you are perverting them, and they will end up being like that kid on "Game of Thrones."
Once your child is old enough to start solids, the pressure continues. If you don’t grow your own sweet potatoes (organically, of course), puree them in a Vitamix (uh, no, you can’t use a Hamilton Beach blender—DO YOU EVEN LOVE YOUR CHILD?), and then spoon-feed your little one while you gaze lovingly into their eyes, you’re pretty much ensuring that they will fail at all things in life. ALL THINGS.
Uh, I’m sorry, wait a minute. You grow and make your own baby food? What, are you too good for jarred baby food? Are you saying I’m a bad parent for giving my kid this Gerber pear-peach-carrot thing? Nice.
Then, you get into the toddler and preschool years, when children tend to become a little picky. Now, you have to come up with new and creative ways to get your child to eat healthy foods. Mold their sandwiches into cute little mice! Make a scene on their plates using broccoli as trees, and the little sandwich mice can have a picnic under the broccoli trees! Make the sandwich mice a little river to take a dip in, BUT DON’T USE RANCH DRESSING BECAUSE HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.
Wait, what? Broccoli trees?! Sandwich mice?!?! I CAN’T MAKE A MOUSE OUT OF A SANDWICH, and my child dips EVERYTHING in ranch. Yesterday, she dipped a PANCAKE in it! PANIC. My sandwich mouse looks like it has rabies, and my child is drinking ranch dressing directly from the bottle. SHE IS NEVER GOING TO GET INTO COLLEGE BECAUSE I CANNOT MAKE A SANDWICH MOUSE TOWN, AND DEAR GOD, CHILD, GET THAT BROCCOLI OUT OF YOUR NOSE.
Whoa, whoa. Everyone just calm the hell down for a second. Let’s all agree on one thing: Having a hungry kid sucks. How do we remedy that? The best way we know how. If that means popping your baby on your boob, do that. If it means a bottle of formula, do that. If you want to create a small food country with broccoli trees, sandwich mice and little cars made out of organic cheese (which is just ridiculous because mice can’t drive), do that. If you’re like me and want your child to stop whining at you while you’re trying to get out the door and to work on time, and the only way to do that is to hand her a Rice Krispies treat because it’s within reach, do that because—let’s be honest—sometimes you just need the whining to stop. And also, it’s the only thing in the house because you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet. Don’t act like that’s never happened.
Judgments are never-ending when it comes to all aspects of parenting, but the food thing is particularly irritating to me—probably because it’s something that I struggle with and, quite often, feel like I have no control over. My daughter is growing up and developing opinions and tastes of her own, and even though I am her parent, I am obviously not going to starve her or shove food down her throat. You can call me a lazy mom if you want, but it is just easier to let her eat a bowl of pickles sometimes and call it a night. At least that way I know she isn’t going to bed hungry.
So let’s stop judging each other. If you promise not to judge me when my child has a doughnut in one hand and a Coca-Cola in the other because I win at being prepared and forgot her cup of juice at home, I promise I won’t judge you for whipping your boobies out. I’M JOKING. I fully support public breastfeeding. Whip ‘em out, sister. Your baby is hungry and angry, and everyone knows that if you make your baby hangry, she will grow up to be a fire-breathing dragon.
But seriously, the doughnut thing? It only happened one time, so don’t judge. We’re all in this parenting thing together, and we’re all just doing the best that we can.
Sound off, parents: What’s your kid’s favorite food? It’s cool if the answer is doughnuts.
Natalie Green is a Chicago girl living in Chattanooga with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter. When she’s not working full time outside of the home, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, zombies and running. From zombies. And also beer. You can stalk her blog, Mommy Boots, or follow her on Twitter @mommyboots; or you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.