I can’t imagine being a parent who had to deal with life-threatening allergies or serious food intolerances like Celiac disease. Parenting is tough enough, I can’t imagine adding that to the load. It’s why I have such compassion for families who deal with this situation. I just feel so lucky that I don’t have to.
It’s also why when I read posts like the one I read today, “Defending My Daughter’s Special Diet,” I want to throw my computer out the window. People who are difficult about their kid’s diet for reasons other than medical reasons are totally within their rights as a parent. Of course you should be able to decide what your kid eats, and good for you for not feeding them anything you deem to be unhealthy. But approaching their dietary restrictions with the seriousness that someone who actually has children with medical indications for restricting their diet is just stupid. Stop. Stop right now. You’re making it worse for the parents who actually need the compassion and cooperation of others to raise their child in a safe, healthy environment.
I dropped my daughter off at her friend’s birthday party and before I left, handed the friend’s mom a gluten-free cupcake. “Thanks so much for the invite!” I said. “My daughter’s on a special diet and she knows not to eat anything while she’s here, but if you could just give her this cupcake when you guys have cake that would be fabulous.”
She actually says her daughter’s diet is medically indicated, “For medical reasons, my daughter’s on a special diet. To add to that, I’ve chosen to limit and diversify her diet in other ways that I feel are important for reasons I don’t feel the need to explain. Certainly, I don’t expect anyone to cater to her dietary needs or go out of their way to accommodate her, but I DO expect to be respected for the ways that I choose to feed my child.” I’m not sure what this means, because if the child had a serious gluten intolerance, her mom would be more serious about relaying that – don’t you think? My best friend’s daughter struggles with Celiac disease and it is absolutely imperative that she have absolutely no gluten in her diet. My friend would never just drop her off with her own cupcake. She would make sure the other mother understood the seriousness of the situation. She would explain. Instead, she says:
I’m sick and tired of other parents telling me to just “loosen up, she’s a kid!” I’m tired of catching the stink eye from people when I pack my a daughter a lunch full of things most kids can’t recognize. I’m over people making me feel like I’m ruining my daughter’s childhood because I limit her from certain things. What is wrong with me feeding my kid what I feel is best for her? When I see parents feeding their kids Happy Meals and ingredients I believe can cause pretty significant health issues, it’s hard for me to understand why they’d willingly fill their kids up with processed garbage and pretend it’s actually food. I look at your kids and I fear our future rising healthcare costs as well as the unhealthy spouse my child may one day marry. So while you’re cringing because my kid’s not eating a cupcake, I’m cringing because yours is.
This mom is just sancti-diet-mommy. Everyone knows it, which is why they roll their eyes at her. In a post about not judging others, she can’t keep herself from judging everyone else. This is the person who makes it hard for parents whose children actually CAN NOT eat certain things. And if your child is one of those people who really CAN NOT eat certain things – just explain that. I found the original title of the post Yahoo sourced from Your Tango, and it was called, “I’ve GOT A BIG Problem With The Food Some Of You Serve Your Kids.”
This is why people are rolling their eyes at you, lady. Not because of your daughter’s “special diet.”
(photo: Ruth Black/ Shutterstock)