Confession Time. It was one of ‘those’ days where I didn’t feel the strength the say no. To stand up for what I really wanted. It was too much effort to stay true to what is our new normal. I felt myself crumbling under the pressure. And then I felt guilty.
But the most amazing thing was that I didn’t feel guilty. Ok, well I felt guilty at first, then I sat back and thought about it some more.
My husband wanted to treat our younger children to something special for lunch while their sister was at a birthday party, having a special time. His suggestion was McDonald’s, my least favourite food place. In my head a battle raged. Do I say no and try and find an alternative, which would still be considered a treat in his and the kids minds? A treat that I would feel good about them eating knowing it was nutritious and as additive free as possible. And something that was convenient as we were short on time and wanted something easy.
Or do I give in, knowing that we all will be eating additives that are not good for us, have no nutritional value, and that I really don’t want us having? Knowing that my kids will be excited because it’s a special treat, they might even get a toy. Knowing that my husband will be happy because it’s easy and not a stressful decision to make. Knowing there will be no difficult conversation about why I really detest that place and it’s food, and my thoughts on avoiding additives.
Oh how weak willed I felt that day. I gave in, without so much as an ounce of a fight. My whole body felt defeated as I agreed to this special treat. And of course to top it off the food tasted blah. Really blah.
And yet as I sat reflecting, whilst my children enjoyed playing in a playground out of the wind and rain, I realised it was OK. I was still OK. I didn’t need to feel guilty.
Guilt – the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime.
Nope, not guilty. It’s not a crime to feed your kids foods with additives., although sometimes it’s easy to wish it were.
Mum Guilt is a psychological phenomenon characterized by feelings of inadequacy in regard to one’s parenting skills stemming from challenges in balancing and prioritizing maternal versus juvenile needs.
So was it mum/mother guilt I was feeling? The desire to be great at my parenting skills and the feeling I’d let myself down? Maybe. But maybe, just maybe, I got it right today. Maybe trying to balance everyone’s needs and ending up with the solution we did, was just fine. Perfect even.
Tomorrow is another day, where we can limit the harmful additives we consume. Tomorrow is another chance to get it right, in perhaps a different way.
Sometimes in the busyness of life you just have to take the moments you get and run with them, and not let guilt get you down.
If you’re on this additive aware journey with us, I hope you can let go of all of your guilt around consuming food additives, and realise there will sometimes be ‘those’ days. And you are still OK, great in fact. Because you do care for your family and you are thoughtful about the decisions your make.