I worry about the amount of sugar they consume and their ability to graze on snacks all day; I worry about use-by and sell-by dates and whether social services will get involved if I give them Weetabix for dinner, and did I mention sugar? I also worry that they don’t eat enough (alright, any) vegetables or fruit and maybe they need a multivitamin… and what is this strange love of Black Pudding (disgusted face) – where did they get that from, surely it’s not healthy?
These are the kinds of worries that leave me inevitably feeling like a failure on the food front. I’m a Mum; I’m supposed to make sure my kids grow up strong and healthy and with a minimum number of dental cavities.
I’m particularly blessed by being the mum of two very different types of eater. One I will call the Fussy Eater (FE, for short): no cheese, no mashed anything unless it has a crispy top, likes a meal one week hates it the next. The other is a Vegetable Hater (VH?) – which means no vegetable must pass her lips, not even mashed potato. Or one single pea.
Between the two of them, mealtimes are something of a challenge: shepherd’s pie without any vegetables in it and a separate version with no mashed potato for VH; pasta dishes or pizza with no melted cheese whatsoever for FE. It starts to get very limited. The weekly question as I sit down to do my online grocery shop (besides ‘where’s the Nurofen?’): do I try something new – investing time, money and energy – and risk most of it ending up in the bin, or do I stick to tried-and-true classics and quietly make something else for the grown-ups? Yes, yes you’re right. I settle for the latter.
Dinner-time has this uncanny way of coming around day after day and always at the wrong time, i.e. in the evening when I’m most tired, most rushed off my feet, and least resilient to that disgusted face only kids know how to do. I lost the will to fight long ago.
It was during one particularly fraught dinner-time that I wished I could be a fly on the wall of other people’s kitchens. What were other mums and dads feeding their kids right that minute? How come they seemed to be getting it so right when I was getting it so wrong?
At that moment I made a conscious decision: I didn’t want my kitchen to be some lonely, isolated battleground where I felt I was struggling on my own. I decided to start being brutally honest about the subject of how and what I feed my kids when I talked to other parents. I wanted to stop pretending I was super-mum, getting it right all the time, but to admit that a lot of the time I was getting it wrong. And surprisingly and reassuringly, what I got back from my friends was a similar story. We were all exhausted, we were all fed up and we were all pretty uninspired. Children have a funny way of doing that to you.
It was during one of these conversations over lunch with Rachel that we realised there was a lot to talk about and even more to write about. We talked about how good it would be to have a place where parents and grandparents and carers and schools – anyone or any organisation charged with the task of feeding children – could share recipes, ideas, tips and struggles. And so a blog was born.
Mealsourkidslove.com is a non-judgemental, non-preachy place for honest conversation about an emotional and emotive issue – what and how we feed our children. It’s a place to share ideas, tips, frustrations, successes and failures. And of course recipes.
We hope you’ll be inspired, encouraged and most of all feel supported. Please join the conversation.
Lots of love,