I thought this gesture meant one of two things: It was either, “My son is starving at your house and so are your children.” or “My kid isn’t a 60-year-old hippie. He doesn’t want your homemade granola and probiotic cheese.”
I try not to be a holier-than-thou foodie, but I’m thinking that’s how I come off. Unless we’re having a party, I don’t buy juice boxes. It’s so much waste and too much sugar (even if it’s 100 percent juice. They eat plenty of fruit). And the snacks I give the kids are of the whole grain or homemade variety.
As Jennifer Steinhauer pointed out in a recent New York Times article, “Snack Time Never Ends,” parents are feeding their kids snacks all the time and everywhere.
I am certainly guilty of that, but I don’t want to be. I have mixed feelings about my kids grazing all day. I want them to eat their breakfast lunch and dinner. And not constantly demand something to eat.
Then why do I give my kids cheese and crackers the minute they utter “gouda?” It’s not that I’m trying to be supermom and I get my self-worth from having a stash of dried cranberries in my purse. But I feel like I’m screwing up as a parent in so many other ways that food is something I can use to make everything better. I forget the kindergartener’s library book; here have a vegan gluten-free chocolate cupcake. I’m late to pick him up from school (I’ve been waiting so long Mommy!”); have a bowl of strawberries with fresh whipped cream.
I know you’re not supposed to use food to comfort a child, or to make up for bad parenting, but it works so well! Sometimes snacks are easier than principles.
This post was previously published Feb. 5, 2010 on Los Angeles Moms Blog