Lately, I’m finding it difficult to stand firmly in my convictions regarding the choices I make in the food we eat, and the relationship we have with our planet. Perhaps it’s the lack of my monthly gathering of like-minded people at TIOSN, something I had come to rely upon for maintaining my focus. I’m feeling very much alone in my choices, especially when being blatantly challenged while trying to create personal boundaries.
Let me clarify- If I were to approach the next Mom I see on the street and ask her if she cares about the health of her family, I can’t imagine her telling me “no”. If I were to ask the Dad behind me in line at the store if he wants his preschooler ingesting the pesticides and antibiotics prevalent in most of our food industry, again, I can’t imagine him advocating for that. I hold firm the belief that as a nation of families, we are all doing our best to be as healthful as we can. We just make different choices in doing so, and this is the part that some of us get hung up on.
Everybody’s priorities are different. Whether it’s how they choose to spend their time, or their money, or whatever- it’s always up to the individual. If they are determined enough to pursue a goal, they will allocate the resources necessary to make it happen. As they should, right? So why is it when a person mindfully creates habits that may be different from the mainstream, some people choose to challenge or even belittle them? Does it soothe their own guilty conscience, or is it simply plain, old, ugly envy?
This article, “Snobby Kids Eat Organic”, came through my newsfeed recently, and it helped me feel better about the shame that I’ve been having about my food choices. I was surprised, because I didn’t realize this shame was creeping up on me, but as I read and felt validated by what they had to share, I began to see where I was allowing other people to make me feel poorly. Like when I’m told that it’s “easy for me to cook healthy food because I only have one kid”, or when I’m considered “mean” because I’ve asked for fewer sugary confections at a holiday gathering. Subtle, yet powerful statements that only alienate the receiver.
I must confess- for many years, I became frustrated with my sister when she would make time for a run, even when she was only visiting for a quick weekend. “She’s only here for 24 hours, can’t she just skip it?”, I would say to myself. I don’t recall if I ever bitched at her directly, however I’m sure I had a vibe. What I didn’t consider, was the fact that running was important to her, and made her feel good- why would I rain on her parade? Maybe I was grouchy because I felt like I should be joining her, yet I had deemed other things as more important. Or maybe I would rather have taken that time to just sit and relax with her- whatever the reason, the bottom line was I wasn’t supportive, so Jessi- I apologize. I get it now. You don’t win first place in the NYC triathlon Athena division by skipping workouts, and I certainly won’t be able to carry my nutrition certification forward if I make myself small to appease the haters.
So where am I going with today’s vent? I’m jumping on the “stop judging” parenting bandwagon that’s been building over the past few years. We all say we get it, but it’s easier said than done sometimes, especially when you feel strongly that your choices are the best. But as I said before, we are a nation of families doing the best we can to make healthy choices- it’s just that what’s best for each family is going to be different. And the next time I find myself raising an eyebrow at what I’m hearing, I will make more of an effort to react supportively. If I can’t find something nice to say, then I’m just not trying hard enough. xo.