Okay, all those other posts I wrote pretty much all in one sitting and I've only edited them here and there before posting them. But this one is harder. I've started it nineteen times and it's still not coming out right. I HATE THAT.
Part of what's trying to escape my brain is: when you become a mom, food becomes this... this thing. Phillip and I ate pretty much whatever we wanted before we had kids, but now I put a lot more thought into it. All the parenting magazines like to splash it across their covers: You are your child's nutritionist! Think about what you are putting into his system! It better be organic and local and made from animals who slept on rainbows and pooped sunshine!
And then you meet all these other moms, at the playground or in moms groups or in church or whatever and you notice what they feed their kids. What kinds of snacks, what kinds of lunches. If you are like me, you don't compare the kids, you compare yourself to the moms. And whenever I compared myself on the food front I quickly determined that I was FAILING MISERABLY.
For one thing, I rarely buy anything organic. I used to buy organic milk, but then someone told me that it doesn't really matter if milk is organic and I stopped buying it. I have no idea if that's TRUE, but have you seen the price of organic milk? Perhaps I was looking for any excuse. I buy plain old Kraft mac and cheese, though Annie's is also nice. I don't buy organic produce, I don't buy organic dairy products, I don't buy organic kid snacks - it's just too expensive.
But it's not just buying organic, it's BEING AWARE! There are a million trillion things to BE AWARE OF and I will probably be the last person in the world to read In Defense Of Food. I feel bad about it, because I LIKE to be aware, but I also feel like I'm doing the best I can with what I've got. I've got one kid who eats nothing but preservatives and one kid who subsists on yogurt and Laughing Cow cheese wedges and a husband who will never be a vegetarian EVER and those are the people I am responsible for feeding every single day. Top it off with trying to feed them HEALTHY things and I have my work cut out for me.
This is only as guilt-inducing as I allow it to be, of course. When Jack was teeny and we were meeting with three different moms groups, it seemed like everyone was drinking the neurotic new mom kool aid. It seemed like we were competing to be the first to bring up The Next New Thing To Freak Out About, thereby establishing our cred on that subject. BPA in plastics, organics, who knew how to make the best and most creative baby food, keeping chickens in your backyard, vegan skincare products - OH THE DRAMA. It was so stressful, and I'm willing to concede that it was entirely my issue, I AM. But I had to escape and escape I did.
Now I'm a few years into this kid thing, I've got two of them now and I'm EXPONENTIALLY more laid back. You have no idea how proud I am of this fact. I might not come off very laid back on this website and probably not in real life, but I know the difference between my inner monologues during Jack's first six months and Molly's first six months and it is significant. I am a much better and easier going mom this time around. Mostly I am easier on myself.
But I still have guilt around food. I tell myself that if I loved my family more I would spend less money on clothes or going out to eat or seeing movies with my husband and buy organic produce. Or even just buy food at the nicer stores. I know the bread I buy isn't very good - hello, I lived in EUROPE, I know good bread! - but I'm too lazy and cheap to go to the stores with the good bread, or make a special trip to a bakery. I feel like I put so much effort into feeding my family - not spending a lot of money, making sure I cook dinner most nights, finding things the kids will eat - but it's still not healthy enough.
And it's not just wanting to do what everyone else is doing, or following what's in fashion or whatever- I really WOULD like to buy local and pay more attention to the kind of meat I buy. I think this food stuff is real and important and I would like to do my part. I'm just... BUSY! And not willing to spend what it costs.
That's what started this whole, uh, MANIFESTO on grocery shopping in the first place. Sitting down to make my menu and my shopping list, and realizing that the good food was at that store, but I knew what my bill would be if I went to that store.
And all of this is just to say: feeding your family is a tough job. THE END!