So, here’s the dilemma: You are a mom trying to limit your kids exposures to toxic chemicals, additives and preservatives in food and products. You struggle but you are making progress at home. You read labels and cook from scratch as much as possible without losing your mind. You buy organic, garden and limit sugar. While you do all this, you also believe strongly in balance, because getting so consumed by avoidance of toxins and sugars and GMO’s could drive you crazy. On top of that, you have kids and those kids need balance too. So you try to keep things fun and you remember to let go and not let yourself get too worked up, after all, the point is not to keep your kids in a bubble and out of all the fun. The point is to have a full life, will lots of experiences and friends and love. And to do that, you have just let go every once in a while.
My unspoken rule is that when my kids are at someone else’s house, there are no rules on what they eat or play with. So, if their friend takes them to fast food or offers them soda; if they want it, they can have it. Which is all fine–now that they are still young and not out with friends very often. I also pack their lunches and snacks, so they are still eating well when they are at school. I have about 80% of their food choices covered and feel good about what they are eating and using on their bodies. But as my kids get older I feel compelled to be host to the parties, or to supply treats and snacks myself which doesn’t always go over well with the other kids and moms.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times and to even play mind games and doubt and think, maybe all this isn’t going to make a big difference after all. Maybe all my efforts are for naught.
And then today, I went to my kids’ school for a treat for my daughter who had a birthday over the weekend. I struggled to find something to bring her class that wasn’t loaded with sugar and artificial flavors and dyes. I finally settled on two dozen chocolate chip cookies from a gourmet bakery that does not use artificial additives as many of the grocery store variety use. As I was prohibited from making my own cookies due to school regulation, this seemed like thirty dollars wasted. I paired that with Honest Kids juice pouches and headed on my way.
As I brought out the treats, several kids expressed disappointment in the absence of those neon iced cupcakes but took a cookie anyway. They all also grabbed a juice box. After helping them insert their straws, they one by one started to come to me to return the juice. They didn’t like it. It tasted like water. They don’t like drinking water. They hate water. Did I bring any Sprite?
As they looked up to me to see if they could turn in their organic Honest Kids juice pouch in exchange for something sweeter and with bubbles, their back teeth glinted in the sun. It seemed all these kids had fillings and caps on their back teeth. Not just one tooth, but as far as I could tell their entire bottom molars were capped in silver. And that wasn’t the only thing extra, they were also carrying an extra 10 or 15 pounds of weight.
When I left with a bag of leaking, mostly full juice bags, I felt reassured that even though they didn’t like the snack, at least I was not contributing to their poor health by giving them one more sugar and corn syrup filled snack.
I turned into the cafeteria to dispose of the bag of leaking juice pouches and saw my son sitting with his class eating lunch. The school lunch was waffles drenched in maple syrup with eggs, apple slices and chocolate milk. My son was happily eating leftover vegetarian lasagna, carrot sticks in his Lunch Bots Containers, happily drinking the same Honest Kids Juice pouch denied by my daughter’s classmates, all packaged neatly by me this morning in his his PVC free lunchbox from Hanna Andersson, I thought, “At least I’m making a difference in two lives and not contributing to the burden of obesity from sweets and candy and soda and sugar at every turn.”
There is a famous quote that I enjoy that says,
“You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” — Eldrigde Cleaver
And today I decided, some days it’s good enough and I will be satisfied with simply not being part of the problem.