Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

You fed the kids … what?!

The other night I sent a mass email survey around to dozens of women asking, “What is the worst/nutrition-less/guilt-ridden thing you (or someone you know or ever heard about) served your kids or grandkids for breakfast, lunch or dinner?”


The reason for this odd questioning involved a scene in a television program I’d watched showing one of the wackiest meals ever assembled by a mom to feed to her child.  I watched as this seemingly normal-looking mother (oh, and looks CAN be deceiving you know, throwing that whole book-by-its-cover thing out the window) toasted cheese on two slices of bread, piled one side high with potato chips and then proceeded to introduce the two sides to each other, resulting in the strangest marriage of junk food and comfort food to create a sandwich.  Had this scene played out at another time in my personal 28 day calendar, I might have swooned at this combination, but being on the high side of hormones – I was slightly appalled.


To me, food is such an interesting symbol of all things maternal, as it represents comfort, nourishment and one of the basic foundations of motherly love.  But the culinary difference between moms, on a scale of one to ten (such as Martha Stewart = 10 and Roseanne Barr = 1) got me thinking about my own “You fed the kids what?!” acts of atrocity.  You know, those times when you stand in the kitchen but something just stands in the way of preparing a good meal for your offspring – like being too busy, too tired, Dad's away, some act of God/nature/long phone call prevented you from making it to the market, etc. 


So, as to not wallow too deeply in my own pool of misery, the survey came about so that I could see what other moms had to say to keep me company. 


Apparently, I stand quite alone in the kitchen with my Bad-Mommy trophy.


The email responses I received were mostly filled with gosh-golly-gee-whiz stories about peaches with waffles or the ol’ wacky breakfast-for-dinner scenarios (poor breakfast foods, where is the love?).  There were a fair number of candy, corndogs or cold pizza for breakfast stories, but those were mostly because the kids chose and sought that out on their own.  Lots of moms talked about the “If You Find It You Can Eat It Nights”, sort of a free for all smorgasbord of cabinet to fridge to freezer leftover race for dinner, which I loved.  I also have a strange, warm respect for the women who said cookies and milk or ice cream, because they figured at least the dairy part of it all was healthy.


One particularly entertaining story about a mom who served syrup on spaghetti because “the kids saw in the movie ELF and insisted on trying it” then made ‘em eat it afterwards was chuckle-worthy.  That almost qualifies for a Bad-Mommy trophy thanks to the gross-out, Fear Factor image it evokes.


My own childhood is filled with weird stories about food and how the lack of maternal attention turned eating and food into an odd weapon of sorts.  In other homes, I saw how moms filled their pantries with kid-friendly snacks for their kids and their friends.  Thanks to my own Mother Hubbard, of sorts, I was once forced to cajole my cousins into snacking on what I’d convinced them into believing was a delicious delicacy of raw potatoes and salt.  My memory is a little fuzzy about the whole scene, but I sort of recall vinegar somehow being involved, too.  Thank goodness ten year olds can be inventive and forgiving, as decades have passed and they still recall that as a fond memory.  At any rate, they haven’t presented me with the Bad-Cousin trophy to place on my rapidly filling mantel.


One mom in my survey admitted that she was certain there were some horrible meals she allowed her children to eat, but believes she’s blocked them from her memory.  Maybe that same hormone that causes women to forget the pain of childbirth, so they can eventually repeat the process, courses through our veins to allow our children to eat another day — regardless of what we feed them.  Seriously, it’s probably the same stuff that’s going to make me crave cheese and potato chip sandwiches once-a-month, too.  If my kids are nice, I might even share.

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