Thursday, October 15, 2009

No, it's MY banana

I suppose it's a parent's job to put the kids first, whether you intend to or not. I didn't intend to...until I became a parent. I remember being a kid, making fun of my mom's outfit, and hearing: "Well if I didn't spend all of my money on your clothes, maybe I would have some decent clothes of my own." I vowed that I would never sacrifice my own fashion sense for a child who doesn't know whether her t-shirt is from J. Crew or Walmart.

I remember lying on the couch in my child-free days, eating yet another "Lean Pocket & beer" dinner when my husband said, "How are you ever going to feed kids when you can't even feed yourself decently?" I think I said something along the lines of "Well I'm sure Lean Pockets can be pureed."

But now, here I am...dressed in the sweat shorts I bought during my first pregnancy (because they don't say "maternity" on the label, I figure they're still OK to wear now) and ordering my daughters cute little Gap outfits that they'll ruin with spaghetti sauce and mud. And here I am, boiling, baking, sauteeing, chopping, and assembling meal after meal for my girls, and ending up exhausted on the couch with my Lean Pocket & beer dinner yet again.

One of the awakenings that has happened for me during this whole nutrition/detox program process is recognizing that I deserve to eat well too. So today, while holding the last banana in the house, looking at two pleading faces who were begging for it, I put my foot down and said, "No, this is mommy's banana. You will have to eat something else." I felt guilty and empowered at the same time.

Normally, the kids get the best of everything. If there are only a few strawberries left, they get the strawberries for a snack, and I eat the half-stale chips in the back of the pantry. If one of them asks for my sandwich when I am only halfway through, I dutifully fork it over. But this week, since I am limited in what I can eat, and it's not an option to bust out the box of Wheat Thins to quell my hunger, I've been putting my foot down.

I've been focused so much on feeding them well because they are growing, their brains are developing, and I want to instill good eating habits in them from an early age. Because I'm done growing and my body is supposedly better able to handle the crap I put in it, I don't put nearly as much effort into my own food. But the more I think about it, it should be as important that I eat well as that I feed my kids well. I guess I can liken it to the gas mask procedure on an airplane. If I don't take care of myself, I'll have less energy & stamina to take care of my kids.

So my resolution is to try to feed everyone in my family well. And if that means sometimes I have to fight two toddlers for the last nutritious bite, I'll do it.


  1. your article was the exact topic they discussed at my Weight watchers meeting... for health have to put yourself first sometimes... Even used the analogy of the oxgyen mask on the airplane!! Too funny i am the same way always give the kids the good stuff and I eat what is left.. I guess we have to plan ahead to have enough good stuff for everyone... A bit harder with you bottomless pits!! love the blog.. ~kelly

  2. I seem to remember my mother always having her "special food" that was hers and hers alone. It was usually some type of treat or snack that she wanted and didn't want to have to share.

  3. I have my "special" mommy food too - it's called wine. :)

    Kelly - I agree about trying to plan ahead for meals that are good for everyone. After I'm done with the detox, my next mission is to try out the new gourmet crockpot cookbook I just bought - that way I will hopefully be able to plan ahead and make yummy food that's not "kid food." I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.

  4. you are so right. my kids eat fresh broccoli and whole wheat pasta and i make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 11:30 because I forgot to eat and I'm starving.

    p.s. i love quinoa.



  5. This post gives me some good things to think about as someone who doesn't eat well enough herself and doesn't even have kids yet, bottom line, I don't have an excuse.