I am mom. I have this idea in my head that my kids should listen and respect every word I say, and trust that I know what is best for them. But my girls are challengers when it comes to my direction and advice. The details they request from my simple instruction can be like reporting on a thesis project.
Maybe this is how it works in every home, but with my pride bruised because of their questioning this is a challenge for me. I have to work hard to keep my pride under control. The questions trigger my self-righteous, defensiveness which never comes across loving, gentle, or kind.
Now, if you are a teacher, doctor, lawyer, scientist, mamaw/papaw, baby sitter, friend’s mom/dad, or friend- they are more inclined to apply the advice or instructions you have given them. These girls are 8, 6, and 4. And yes, I mentioned friend in that list.
I am mom.
Over the last couple years my eating habits have changed. I began to focus on the needs of my body and supported those needs with my diet. My husband and I are intentional about the food we eat, most of the time. This means we meal plan and prep because we live full lives and have 3 kids. We mostly cook our from home. In order to keep meals from getting too repetitive we have been trying new recipes and experimenting with recipes ourselves.
How can I use this vegetable? What if we tried cooking this way?
This can be fun! Especially when others are excited to try new things with you.
However, with my kids I started to feel like I had something to prove. That I would be a “good mom” if I could win them over with a healthy meal. Striving for their approval took the fun out of cooking, learning, and even eating dinner with them.
I want everyone around me to eat well. I want food to be intentionally enjoyed. I also want people to consider how to nourish their bodies. This includes my children. This causes me to constantly be thinking of ways I can get them to eat wholesome foods packed with essential nutrients. And especially vegetables.
Vegetables are pack full of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, etc our bodies need for functioning. I talk to these young girls about the benefits of vegetables frequently. More so this week, as the spread of viruses and public risk has been so prominent in conversations. I decided I needed to give their immune systems a boost.
Many people talk about how much their kids like fruit smoothies. My girls call ICEEs (crushed ice with flavored sugar syrup) smoothies. I should have known. I drink an actual smoothie everyday; they want nothing to do with it. But I was determined I was going to protect them from getting sick with this smoothie. And because spinach has no flavor in a smoothie, I will slide in that vegetable. Almondmilk, blueberries, spinach, collagen powder, and ice to help their immune systems. I was saving their lives that very moment. As I handed each of them their cups, I thought “This is going to be great! Mom of the year!”
Like I said, I should have known. Even the child who will eat just about anything said it tasted “weird.” Well there went that dream of sneaking veggies into their mornings. My feelings were almost hurt.
Didn’t they know I was saving their lives?
But I kept that pride under control as each explained why it didn’t taste good.
I thought to myself “new game plan.” We talked about the spread of germs and how the immune system works. I told them to wash their hands and not to share their Lipsmackers with their friends. Later that day, I bought a variety of berries because they are high in vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. I also bought orange juice, because I feel like I need to do something.
My girls will be okay, because I am mom. They may not appreciate my cooking or my smoothies. I might have to give a full dissertation upon all advice, request, or instruction I give. And vegetables rarely enter their bodies. But I am mom.
When I remember that- I am able to be loving, gentle, and kind.
And although I like to try new things, my kids don’t. Maybe one day they will. There are so many things I didn’t like when I was little that I like now. And just because they don’t like it doesn’t mean I have to eat only what they do like. It is give and take because we love each other.
Can you do me a favor, please? Because my girls are willing to apply advice from everyone else besides me: please tell my kids to eat a vegetable more than once a month!