- Not having a battle at the table
- Saying they must try at least one little bite
- Hiding food within food
- Just cooking sausage rolls for a week, hoping they will get sick of them. Trust me, they don't!
- Making them go without
- Making tiny portions
- Making smiley faces
- Letting them choose what they want. Tomato sauce please mum...yummo!
Saturday, January 07, 2012
I HATE dinner time.......
I have what you would call "fussy eaters" in my house and I'll be totally honest with you when I say that I dread each and every meal time.
But before you all but in with your tried and tested Super Nanny advice (can you tell I'm over it?)
YES, I've tried.....
been there, done that and bought the self help book to boot!!
As modern parents of today, we are bullied and bombarded with a ridiculously huge amount of info with regards to children's food issues and obesity/anorexia/bulimia e.t.c As a result, we are so scared silly of getting it wrong, that I actually think we are nurturing new food problems for our children.
this got me thinking about my childhood.....................
In the good old days (my day) our parents gave us no food choices. It was, sit at the table, use your table manners, eat up, shut up and don't complain, and we got told most nights "do you know there are children in Ethiopia who have nothing to eat" Sounds like tough love, but i'm o.k now and I eat most things that you put in front of me. The only issue I have with the "old fashioned" way is the idea that you must eat everything on your plate. I believe everyone should have the right to say when they are full up.
But back to reality and I really do think that I have exhausted every trick in the book. And do you know what my conclusion is?
it's all my fault...............
I know, I know, you are all queuing up to be nice to me, to cyber cuddle me and be the lovely supporting mums that I know you are, but I have to realise that after 5/6 years of battling over the kitchen table, three times per day with my fussy cherubs, that I should have been much stricter from the get go.
Now don't get me wrong, I started off being the model parent. When I first introduced food to my little ones, they were served up with only the best money could buy. No ready meals in a jar for my beauties thank you very much. NO! I spent hours loving preparing first taste foods from extremely expensive organic fruit and veg. I cooked up a storm in every shape, colour and texture you could posibly imagine. And they loved every mouthful.
Next came second tastes, where again I lovingly made mouthwatering, homemade meals from scratch, distributing them into Tupperware dishes and labelling and freezing them in batches. Just like a good mum should! I was determined that my crew would eat food even Jamie Oliver would be proud of!
going pear shaped.......
The next stage is where, I believe, it all went a bit pear shaped to say the least. At that time I worked as a fitness instructor. So as my hubby came home from work at 6pm, I would race past him and head off to teach a class at the gym. I had to be very organised as my hubby was a bit useless at getting the kids ready for bed (mmmm....still is come to think about it??) The kids were fed, bathed and PJ'd up all ready for story and bed when he came home. JOB DONE! Well almost, when I got home from work, I would then have to cook my hubby's and my meal.
YES!! I know, I know, madness!!
What we should have been doing was sitting together, eating the SAME meal and chatting about our day (you know, just like the Walton's do!!) But tell me how we manage this as modern parents living in todays world. Work, after school clubs, gym, FB obsessions and not to mention a love for HOT curry that the kids won't even smell!
the light came on..................
It wasn't until I was out recently with some friends that the subject of food and kids came up. Now when you are in the toddler phase of parenting, you are mixing with mums every day and discussing your issues, mainly food. But as the kids grow, the issues change and so do mums discussions. And by the age of 5, most parents have got their fussy food eater under some control and are now thinking about school and how many worry lines that topic can give them. Many, trust me!
So back to the meal out with my friends. As the discussion continued, I was shocked and rather embarrassed to hear about the way these very competent (no kids with food issues in THEIR houses, thank you!!) ladies had their little ones, or rather big ones now, on the most strictest of routines. Home, schoolwork, dinner at the same time every night, bath, story and in bed for 7pm!! 7PM!!!!! That has never happened in my house, or ever will sadly.
My first reaction was ARMY. Where was the fun, the cuddling, the chilling out watching Octonauts together. My little darling had been away from me for 61/2 hours and I'd missed her. But my next reaction was that they were of course right and I had...
been doing it all wrong..........................
I didn't have the best of childhoods and so I think that mothers guilt plagues me a little more so than others. From the very start I wanted to be the BEST mother. I, to put it bluntly, had a rubbish mum and I certainly didn't want to be one of those.
But you can't be the BEST mum. But you certainly can try your very damn best. Being the best mum is an impossibility and will only lead to you wrangling and tearing your hair out with mothers guilt as you come up against each and every step and obstacle when bringing up your children. So I realised that I had to stop trying to be the perfect mum. I was letting the children basically rule the roost and it had to stop! I had to make some changes to the way I was mothering.
things were about to change big style.........................
So I went home a little shell shocked, but energised (kids fussy eating can wear you out like nothing else known to man!) I went home and decided that things were about to change BIG STYLE in my household. There would be a strict routine implemented. The kids were going to sit at the table at the same time every night, with me (hubby works until 8 most nights) use their table manners and we will all eat the same thing. Come what may!
now does this sound a bit similar to you?
Too right! It sounds just like the good old days! Maybe our parents generation did know a thing or two and maybe we should be putting the many self help books down, stop trying to sneak goji berries and wheat germ into out kids food (!!!) and just go back to cooking basic meals, make the effort to sit together, teach our kids some manners and then let them go and run off some energy at the park!
my kids like chicken korma........hooray!!!!
And do you know what?? It was/is still very, very hard to get my kids to do all those things, but within a couple of weeks of the new rules, I had both my children eating things like chicken korma and chicken byrianni. Now that's a miracle.
What do you think? Agree that if we tweak the old ways a little, they are better for our children? How are meal times at your house? A battle or a scene from the Waltons? Would LOVE your feedback.
Cheers - Ali xx
Labels: Family life
Hello, I'm Ali, a down to earth Mancunian textile designer and author. Passionate about pattern, colour and design I could design all day if you let me. Subscribe and I promise I won't talk about self love and the universe talking to me - I hate all that nonsense - don't you?!