It starts when you’re pregnant. Suddenly after years of independence you partly become a shared property. You’re not only a person anymore. You’re a future MOTHER! You carrying your husband’s son in your belly, your mother’s and mother-in-law’s grandson, your grandparents’ great-grandson. And that’s how it starts… until recently nobody cared about what you eat and when. Suddenly you hear: ‘You should eat well right now because you’re pregnant!’, ‘Eat more vegetables’. ‘Going for sushi???? How come??? You can’t eat raw stuff while you’re pregnant!’, ‘When I was pregnant I ate for two and remained super thin. Breastfeeding gets it all out of you! Go on, have another one!’, ‘You’re buying these raw hams?? You should eat this kind of stuff when you’re pregnant!’.
Suddenly everybody’s a pregnant women alimentation expert. That’s a yes and that’s a no. Look out for this, husband does not allow that… or the mother-in-law doesn’t approve it. And you don’t care because you’re feeling nauseous and the only thing you want is pizza and a glass of Coke. Over time, the ‘caring’ get quieter. You’re still pregnant, the belly is growing and the kid’s feeling OK. Maybe this sushi and Indian meals aren’t so bad after all… Maybe even these kilograms of chocolate didn’t harm you and you won’t be getting diabetes while pregnant after all. Phew, a quiet moment.
Not for long. You give birth and it starts once again! Now it’s not YOU, but your child. Don’t get fooled – pregnancy was about the child too. You’re breastfeeding? Get ready then! ‘He’s crying, why don’t you give him your breast??’ (never mind him eating an hour before!) or the opposite: ‘Aren’t you feeding him too rarely, maybe you better wake him up?’, ‘Is really full yet? How do you know?’. You’re feeding him with from a bottle? Why not with your breasts?’, ‘It’s not the same as mother’s milk!’. Oh, give me a break! If you’re feeding from a bottle you at least get some peace – nobody interferes with your diet. You can easily eat a bowl of hunter’s stew, drink a litre of a carbonated drink and follow it with highly allergenic strawberries. You win!
If you’re breastfeeding, alimentation specialists won’t let you sleep. Diet. What you should and what you shouldn’t. Sometimes you hear about what you should eat from people who don’t even have children! Nor are pregnant! The information are contradictory too. Eat apples, they’re not allergenic vs. don’t eat apples. Dry buns, rice and boiled chicken. And yes, there are children with severe allergies which means that you’ll be eating buns, rice and cooked chicken for a few months unless you switch to modified milk. But for God’s sake, there’s plenty of children you can easily feed with your own milk while eating anything you want! Sauerkraut and mushroom dumplings, sushi, Thai, Mexican and Indian food.. anything you want! They don’t suffer because of that, they don’t get stomach pains, they don’t cry for hours. Maybe because you made them used to such meals while you were pregnant??
However, the best comes when your child starts eating something more than just milk. A this stage the group of people giving you advice not only includes your friends and family but also people you don’t really know. Evyrone got their own vision. You feel it on your skin, especially if you’re leaving your child with its grandparents or a nanny. Everyone needs to articulate their own vision our loud too. With you present in the room of course!
‘Why is he eating these jars all the time? Give him a pork chop, you can clearly see he wants one! When I was young children eaten normally!’
‘No jars, no way. I cook on my own, at least this way I know what my child is eating. Only bad mothers give jars to their children. The lazy ones!’
‘Every paediatrician will tell you that it’s best to give jars in the beginning because their contents were examined for heavy metals and other garbage such as pesticides and fertilisers. I would be afraid to give my children vegetables from a stand but it’s your choice’
‘He should eat more vegetables.’
‘He doesn’t like carrots. It’s a real pity. When his father was little he ate everything! Such a lovely little ball he was!’
‘You have to give him more meat’
‘why don’t you give him a yohurt?’
‘Oh, please, a bit of candy didn’t hurt anyone!’
‘You’e giving him Nutella? It’s such garbage’
‘When you were his age you already ate (insert list here)‘
‘Maybe he’s drinking too much of thismilk?’
‘Maybe not enough?’
‘Are they feeding him at all in this nursery???’
‘He looks pale, look at Kasia’s son he’s so ripe and handdsome’
‘Should he be eating this shrimps? Isn’t it harmful to him?’
‘A child should…’
‘Why is he eating this milk pearls for breakfast??? Our goes for an omelette or scrambled eggs like a real man!’
‘When I was little children ate everything without picking!’
‘He doesn’t want water? Maybe add some sugar? Maybe I’ll give him some juice from a carton?’
‘You’re buying this shit? It’s only sugar!’
‘And he’s eating normally in Asia??? I’m not sure if children should be eating such food!’
And so it goes. It’s always too much or not enough. Not enough vegetables or meat. Not the right kind of yoghurt, not the right kind of juice. Sweets are an outrage or sugar will make you happy. And this constant race. ‘My little one has already tried a pork chop with sauerkraut’, ‘My loves broccoli! Hi favourite meal!’ ,I’m not even feeding my little one anymore – he takes a spoon and a fork and does it himself!’. How about shopping? Does he make it himself and cooks in Masterchef afterwards????
I don’t know when will it end… When it gets 6? 8 or 10? Maybe never??? I mean, at the festive table, once again you will hear: ‘Why aren’t you eating the pate??? I’ve put so much effort into it! Get some potato salad! You don’t like it? You don’t eat meat? What kind of new trend is it?? Rubbish!’
Let’s give ourselves peace and freedom. DON’T look into our children’s plates. Don’t get stressed that little Tommy eats all the vegetables and has just grown by 10 cm and 3 kg. Don’t go insane. We ate sweets too. We ate chocolate pearls with milk too. Tonnes of wieners. We stuffed ourselves with chips coming home from school. We ate yeast buns from school shops, preferably with lots of sugar and then we washed it down with Coke or a heavily sweetened juice. We took a jar of Nutella for camping trips which saved us every time the breakfast wasn’t good (everyday in other words!:)). We made instant sauces and on Erasmus student exchange we bought the cheapest products because wine for the evening was more important. We drank granulated tea with a lot of sugar in it and the best parties in primary school were held in McDonald’s or Burger King.
We made a whole lot of food crimes which our kids won’t ever make because the knowledge has improved ever since, we changed our approach and in 10 years the kids won’t have the idea to mix 2 soups in cup so they are more filling (true story!). Despite all this evil, this fat, sugar and salt, we’re alive and we’re feeling well. Don’t get crazy about what our kids eat too. They won’t die because of Nutella, sweetened juices or wieners. They won’t die because they hate carrots or broccoli.
Listen to ourselves, not others. Let’s just do our thing and don’t look into others’ plates. Children’s or adults’. Your friend may be a vegetarian, a steak only eater, allergic to gluten, lactose and sugar, he may eat organic meat and wild fish only and you may not get what he sees in chia pudding and smoothies. So what? It’s not your call even though you may think that he’s completely bonkers. Take care of your own plate. It’s the same story with you. Your diet is not your friends’ problem. Your kebab from a booth at the corner and a bottle of Coke you put on your desk at work. Somebody may say you should eat healthier, that you’re giving bad example to your children, that you will go fat. Tell him one thing: Don’t look into my plate and I won’t look into yours!