Confessions of a guilty mom (why guilt ruins healthy eating)
A new year. 2019.
I am inundated by everyone’s new year resolutions – personal, business or otherwise.
I feel so inadequate. All these ambitious, intentional people with great goals and plans. My plans seem silly. I plan to carry on; doing my best and getting it right some days and wrong other days and waking up and doing it all over again.
All this got me thinking about guilt. When it comes to feeding children, mothers often have so much guilt (myself included).
It sneaks in, and we don’t even realize how harmful these thoughts are.
Guilt may sound like:
- I am such a bad mother, I don’t serve enough vegetables
- My children are overweight, I must be doing something wrong
- Everyone else serves their family healthy food, and I don’t
- I try so hard to get my children to eat healthy food, and they just refuse and it’s my fault somehow
- I offer my children all sorts of healthy treats, and all they want to eat is junk food
- I serve the same food over and over, I am so lazy
As a mother who constantly fights against guilt and aims to embrace being “good enough”, I still experience this guilt. I feel guilty when I serve my children bread three meals a day. I feel guilty when I don’t go to the fruit shop often enough. I feel guilty when I see other moms’ amazing weekday dinners.
So, here is my commitment for 2019.
No more guilt.
If you are serving your children regular meals – whether it’s cereal and milk or toasted cheese or frozen pizza – with love and joy, you are amazing.
If your children are obsessed with white bread, even though you make your own homemade rye bread, you are amazing.
If you are serving homemade organic sprouted bean soup and all it entails, you are amazing.
If you make your own almond milk for your lactose-free child, you are amazing.
If your children eat pasta more times than an Italian, you are still amazing.
What your children do or don’t eat is NO reflection on your worth as a mother.
More than the best food in the world, our children need parents who can feed them with trust and love. As they grow, they won’t remember the food. They will remember the connection, the conversation and the ritual of eating meals together as a family; day in, day out.
It’s hard because the world drives us crazy with messages and fear about nutrition,
If you feed your children sugar, they will get ADD.
If they don’t eat enough omega 3s, they won’t be able to learn at school
If they eat white flour, you are a bad mother.
If they have behavioral problems, it’s because of what they eat.
No wonder we are crazy with worry and guilt. No wonder we resort to destructive feeding practices, like forcing, begging, rewarding and punishing our children to get them to eat “properly”. No wonder we dread mealtimes and berate ourselves for failing to provide proper nutrition. No wonder we promise to do better this year and still end up doing the same things. No wonder we don’t want to schedule regular family meals where we will worry about who isn’t eating what.
It’s time to stop. Stop believing these stories, stop blaming ourselves, stop judging our success on what our children eat.
Moms, you are amazing as you are. You are enough as you are.
Let’s start believing it.