Food… and what can I ask other people not to feed my child…

So I have a problem with what my children are being fed at nursery.

But the real problem is how I go about addressing this. As an educated, independent mother of two why all of a sudden have I been struck mute on the subject of how my children are cared for….(and by way of a bit of context…i did my visits, checked the menu – it looked good, spoke to the chef who assured me they only served healthy food etc… etc… it is also only one of two nursery in the area, the other is full)

I feel precious.

So I do understand that as children get older the food horizons broaden -that might include an ice cream on the beach, or a burger on a road trip, but surely these should be by exception? Surely it should not be common place in places designed to be leaders in child care.

Am I being unreasonable to point out that Angel Delight, Ice Cream, Jelly and Custard are not the most nutritionally sound of desserts?

It’s not a rhetorical question. I need to know.

All I do know is that 1. I wouldn’t eat these because they are essentially ‘junky’ and would make my muffin top larger than it is already, and 2. what about a real food pudding, a fruit and crumble or wait up, a piece of melon, or a carrot muffin. I am not anti dessert, I am anti junk. Is wanting real, less sugar-filled, naturally coloured food an odd, out of the normal, overly precious want?

I feel cruel.

How can I say I want my children to eat something different while the rest of their peers tuck into bowls of custard and ice cream. I don’t want them to be social pariahs. I don’t want them to be the ones nursing a sorry looking banana thinking ‘our …evil…witch mother wont let us have a delicious piece of chocolate brownie…again’.

I cant explain the concept of being cruel to be kind to a two year old, and I kind of resent being put in a position by somewhere which should be the ‘best of places’ for children, that I need to be considering it.

The irony is that I am a mother for whom motherhood has been the dawning but certain realisation that I am not just here to facilitate what my child wants and rather what they need. … that might make me sound like a bitch, but you know what … no ones toddler makes wise choices faced with a bowl of Malteesers verses a bowl of grapes. Fact. So again its not a rhetorical question… am I being mean spirited?

I feel like ‘that mother’.

God no one wants to be ‘that women’.. seriously I have enough friends who are teachers to know that being the ‘pain in the arse parent’ is not a winning solution.

I also like the people who work at nursery. I don’t want them to think of me as that hoity toity mother for whom nothing is ever good enough. I am not a confrontational person. I don’t want to tell them that they are wrong. Tell them that I think their lazy and/or uneducated approach isn’t on. Tell them that I think they are acting against the best interests of the children in their care. Because that is how it will come across.

I feel like I will be perceived as critical of all those mothers who don’t mind.

…who haven’t complained. Who feed there children like this on a regular basis. Broadly speaking I am not. Each to their own.

The problem with the parents isn’t that everyone doesn’t love their child – but that that love is expressed differently. Because, by and large, we are all doing our best, doing things differently is by default criticising some one else – they chose to do something else. It is a bloody minefield.

Do I privately think you’re stupid if you feed your child McDonald’s 4 times a week? Yes. Do I think your failing if all your 4 year old will eat is ice cream, Doritos and Lucozade for breakfast lunch and tea. Yes. Am I verging on saying that allowing your child to drink Red Bull is tantamount to abuse. Yes.

Would I be so impolite as to tell you this. No. But then that is because I think I am right on these issues.

What if I am not?

What if asking for the food world I want for my children is equally as mental as I think letting your child eat a whole pack of cookies is?

For those of you starting to hate me I will also say that individual parents are not organisations taking money to look after children. Organisations who should be setting an example. Who have the unique opportunity to be better than all the harangued and sporadically lazy parents out there. They are literally qualified professionals. They have the opportunity to make a HUGE difference and they are squandering it because ice cream is an easy bloody option. Thats not professional in my opinion. Is it just me?

I feel judged.

For all my passionate outpourings. ..just so you have me right. I have a bar … a large bar… of half-eaten Dairy Milk in my fridge. I am writing this at the kitchen table where I am drinking a cup of tea that I wish had sugar in it. I am a size 12 ‘waddler’ rather than ‘runner’. I wear tummy tuck control pants if I need to wear a dress and would like to be 5kg lighter. I would probably fall into the ‘comfort eater’ category and crave the self discipline of the Ellas of this world.

How can I expect to be taken seriously when clearly I haven’t got a grip of clean eating myself? I am akin to a non practicing Jew who demands her children don’t eat pork while eating a bacon sandwich. WTF?  No one likes those kind of hypocrites.

So what am I entitled to say? What is reasonable to expect? Am I going to turn around in 3..6..9 years time and say ‘no damage done’ if I say nothing? Am I going to consider myself as a failure by not standing by the courage of my convictions? Am I in fact being that failure now?

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6 thoughts on “Food… and what can I ask other people not to feed my child…

  1. OMG. I finally found someone who thinks exactly like me. I’m not sure why the government doesn’t get involved and tell the childcare centers what they can give to our children and what they can’t. I have two two year olds and the first time they had chips and chocolate was at the childcare, I felt so angry. But like you, I didn’t want to be that mother…. I was wondering, am I the ONLY one? Glad to read your story. I am glad to know I am not the only one.

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    1. You are not! It is just so tough… but I have approached the nursery and said what i think…helpfully refined by writing this and finding out I am not the only one… they were pretty cool and said that they totally understood… yet another overly worried about problem in my journey as a mother! Does however bother me that while i can ask for this for my children it is not standard for all…

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  2. I could have written this. Thank you!
    Did you decide on a plan? I did – just the other day we were given a feedback form and I gave them a glowing 5/5 for everything *except* the food. They even espouse a healthy balanced diet as part of their philosophy on their website but feed them junk and sweets every bloody day. So I said what I thought about that, in the politest way I could manage, in a letter, then sort of hid under the blanket.
    My mother in law picked up our twins after that and they apparently told her that we’re allowed to take a packed lunch. She told them what I think that a) we’re paying for the meals and that b) I don’t want my children to be the only ones missing out constantly.
    I’m still waiting to see if they write back to me. I bet all that will happen is that I have indeed become “that parent”. But I guess I tried to advocate for my little ones, and that’s that.
    Good luck!
    (I just finished half a bag of kettle corn)

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  3. I agree. These places should be setting an example! I get cross when my son’s class teacher gives out sweets when they do well. This is every one or two weeks, I found out near the end of term, but we almost never allow sweets at home. If there was a lot of time left in the school year I would’ve written to her and politely requested that she only offer my son her other, marginally better-for-the-teeth, option i.e. chocolate. Or something better for him e.g. fruit.

    If my kids were getting fed junk every day I would be as cross as you. Childhood is such an important time for growth, and feeding our kids junk food is just that – filling them with junk.

    We wouldn’t give a plant some pepsi regularly as a ‘treat,’ would we? No, because we know it’d be very bad for it, and possibly kill it. It’s hardly any different for kids!

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    1. Loving the plant/pepsi example! God id take exception to sweets as treats in SCHOOL too… not least because its bad for them but also because i am an emotional eater! I have subsequently spoken to the nursery… we will just see what happens now!

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  4. Totally agree with all you have written… I do give my children occasional treats, a marshmellow here, a plain biscuit there, some hot chips now and then, in fact they even had some ice cream the other day.. But that is my choice and I know how much they can have… Or rather how little… And I certainly don’t want other people feeding my children ‘junk’ on a daily basis…. I would feel I could never give ocassional treats…. I withdrew my children from daycare in the end…. Im lucky enough to be in a position to do that….Part of my reasoning surrounded the food. I was even in a position to influence it greatly, (I worked there) …but I couldn’t enough for my liking… The cost is an issue, the cook and how she is regimented in her preparation etc etc… Staff and how they kind of don’t care enough as they are not their children… Example….The piles of sticky raisins they would give that have the ability to decay my children’s teeth and cause upset tummies and nappy rash! I can’t tell you how many times I pointed it out and asked them to stop…. They think they are being kind.. Giving these treats.. After all, how many children turn down raisins? But yep, as I say…I agree and for now I need that control… I hope you get some resolution.. Don’t be afraid to be ‘that mum’…. If you think it, there are plenty of others who do and are afraid to speak up.

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