I have two children whose lives only overlapped for a few years. My dearest friend has 3 children and they are clustered together so that my friend has to feed them all together, all the time. Just writing that sentence made me tired. The care and feeding of humans is no small thing.
I only have the daily care and feeding of one child. He is six. My older son is 22. Older Son cares for and feeds himself. I consider his ability to keep himself alive a major parenting win for me. He is also kind and thoughtful and funny and an all around delight. Those attributes are his alone and I can not take any credit for them. But I digress.
I have to feed one person and it’s difficult. I can’t imagine having to think about keeping three different people fed. Different people tend to have different taste in food. I can’t imagine there’s much overlap. Now add in my friend’s genuine wish that her children eat somewhat healthy food. Now realize that her kids have zero interest in eating healthy food. Now remember they all don’t like the same foods. And then there’s the fact they have to eat three meals a day plus snacks. And they aren’t all home to eat the same meals at the same time. And there are lunches to pack and breakfasts to make for these three people and all that has to be done before 8am.
Now add in the increased pressure put on parents regarding the provenance of the food they feed their children. Is it organic? Cage free? NonGMO? Did you buy every last scrap of it from a farmers’ market? Also, you should make everything from scratch. And pack bento boxes for their lunches with food in the shape of bears that smile at them.
I don’t understand how my friend does it. If I had to feed three people I would be sending my kids to school with cold spaghetti in ziploc bags and if they dared to complain they wouldn’t even get that. Can you imagine the reaction I would get from other parents?
Why are we so judgmental of each other? Why do we feel the need to have an opinion regarding what other people feed their kids? I know it can be challenging when all the kids eat together and your organic, smiling bear bento box meal gets traded for my kid’s bag of spaghetti but must we make our fellow parents pay?
Now, if there are allergies that is a different conversation. Everyone should do their best to see that kids eat safe at school.
But when we aren’t talking about allergies, can we please be gentle with each other? Maybe the parent sending the bag of spaghetti is in the middle of a divorce. Maybe someone they loved died. Maybe their job is a soul sucking exercise in futility, but they have really good health insurance so they can’t justify quitting. If we can’t manage to be gentle with ourselves, then maybe we can begin by being gentle with others. Just think about it.