S.T. asks from Kearney, NE on June 22, 2012
Am I an Over-bearing/controlling Mother...
I still currently nurse my 23 month old son...evenings and mornings only...I try my hardest to feed him well, apply his sunblock when he's outside, and give him constructice things to do when we are together. I value the time we spend with one another since I am a student and I work. I feel like I still have to justify to my husband's side of the family, as well as my husband, why I feel like our son should not eat junk all the time. His idea and my idea of good food is very different and I feel like I am beating my head against the wall. I allow our son treats...but they are for special occasions...birthdays, family gatherings, holidays...and even occasionally during the week. I do not think chicken nuggets and tacos and pizza and macaroni and overly processed foods are things he should have daily. Okay...so here's the dilemma...the last time family got together my husband's aunt decided to feed our son cheetos before dinner. I politely said that "I know i'm such a picky mother, but I really don't want him to have that right now." She insisted it was okay. I said not before he eats because it will be all he will ask for. She shoved one in his mouth. I fumed silently. She said "it's all about balance, isn't it?" My son then refused to eat his meal and continued to ask for cheetos. He had never had one up until that point. It has become hard for me because I see what the older cousins snack on and I know my son wants to do the same. We do allow treats, but I do not feel they should be offered on a daily basis. I don't know if I am weird but my husband was standing right there when this occurred. I am not normally an assertive person...I'm rather quiet and go with the flow but when my child is involved I hate feeling like I am not respected as his mother. It's such a small thing, I know...but I am working on establishing good eating habits...my husband prefers processed foods to anything so i feel like I am fighting for healthy eating on my own. Should I lower my standards? I mean our kid has ice cream, some candy, cookies...but it is only per occasion. Not daily. I offer fruits...crackers...hummus...peanut butter...smoothies...to take the place of junk food. Ugh! Why cabn't I relax about this? Hubby's entire family seems to get one big kick out of giving my son junk food. I turn around and there he is with chips or chocolate or a cookie...when I speak up I am looked at like an alien speaking strange words.
So What Happened?™
We had been around the family for three days at that point. He had already had gummy bears, cookies, and cake. By no means is this ok for a 23 month old. I may sound like I am contradiciting myself...one treat a day is a limit...if that. He doesn't need sweets at this point. And he does love hummus as a matter of fact. He's been snacking on that with crackers since he was 18 months old...he likes to dip it. However, naturally if he sees a pile of mm's he will go for that...the point is that is should be a treat and not given just because...i know about balance...and I also know what too much junk can do to a person...let alone a toddlers stomach. Why is it that mother's, who put in the time everyday...have to be disrespected when it comes to their wants. It wasn't and isn't really about control...it's about common sense. I am sure most of us were raised with "no sweets before meals"...that's all I had asked for. There is not need for a two year old to have so much junk...and that's the truth...when he gets older it will be different with birthday parties and friends and sleepovers and every other thing a child does...but right now...my job is to use my judgement...read up on how our bodies use food and why it is doubly important to set good habits up now. We give him treats...so that's not the issue...the issue is being undermined as a parent. And then feeling like crap because I spoke up about it...and then feeling worse when she fed his cheetos anyhow.
A.A. answers from Tulsa on June 23, 2012
No, you are not being an overbearing or controlling mother...you are being a good and responsible mother. Good luck!
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J.S. answers from Austin on June 22, 2012
My SO sometimes calls me the "fun police" and sometimes "nag"... sounds like we are in the same boat =)
I just smile... as long as I can maintain good, healthy habits 95% of the time then I let the others go.
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J.S. answers from Hartford on June 22, 2012
I really don't think it's so much the food that's an issue, but the fact that you've been disrespected as a parent by your in-laws AND the fact that your husband refuses to back you up. He just stood there and allowed his family to disrespect you? Unacceptable. I have a feeling that this isn't the first time this has happened, nor is food the only time they do this sort of thing when it comes to your son.
I would have a serious talk about this with your husband and try to be determined not to get emotional or lose your temper. Make your points about nutrition, but your main points should probably be about being respected as a mother and a wife. It should have been a united front at his family's house with him supporting you, and I would bet that his aunt wouldn't have handed the Cheetos to your son.
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K.F. answers from Salinas on June 22, 2012
I totally disagree with most of these responses. I would not have allowed my kids to eat cheetos before dinner at under two years old. No difference between that and letting them eat dessert before dinner.
My kids are not deprived of anything and never have been. They get lots of treats and trust me as they get older there seems to be junk food everyday at parties, school and family get togethers. He is young and it should be very easy to keep that stuff out of his hands as long as your family isn't trying to get to you through feeding him junk. Let him develop his palate and grow mature enough to understand those things are occasional indulgences.
Next time do not say "I know I'm a picky Mother but..." Just say I do not want him to have cheetos before dinner, enough said. If they continue that's a problem in my book and I am the farthest thing from a picky Mother. I just truly believe that stuff, when consumed regularly and in place of real food, is dangerous. There is a lot of research to back that up.
"my husband prefers processed foods to anything" Hmmm, do you ever wonder how your husband his developed his taste for that stuff?
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A.F. answers from Fargo on June 22, 2012
Stand your ground. If you say no, then they need to respect that. Your husband's aunt doesn't get to choose what is "balance" for your son, YOU do. She had no right to give your son cheetos when you said no.
People will criticize you no matter what you do. That's a hard part that comes with being a parent. Be confident in the choices that you make as a mom and decide what is important to you. If something is important to you, then people need to respect that.
Apparently your husband's side of the family did a crappy job of feeding their families since your husband always wants processed foods. Good for you for wanting to change the cycle.
7 moms found this helpful
K.C. answers from New York on June 22, 2012
I am so sorry that you are going through this. You are right in serving him fruit, hummus, etc.
I agree that a young toddler should not be feasting on junk food.
Would it be possible to take your husband to the next pediatrician visit and bring up a toddler's intake of food?
My MIL is the same way. She sees nothing wrong w/ junk food, fried foods, fast foods, etc...But, I do !
7 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from St. Louis on June 22, 2012
Ya know you are contradicting yourself all over the place here. "I allow our son treats...but they are for special occasions...birthdays, family gatherings" Then you go on to say you didn't want to let go at a family gathering.
My advice, let go at the family gatherings! Unless you are going there five days a week it is okay to let go at family gatherings. That means let the boy eat cheetos! Let him do whatever, let the family spoil him, that is his treat for the week.
Why put yourself through that? You say why do they fight you on such a small thing, why do you fight back even when you say you let it go at those events?
Oh and I love Hummus but sorry, no kid on earth thinks that is a substitute for junk food, sorry, prunes rate higher as a junk food substitute. :)
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C.M. answers from Chicago on June 22, 2012
In our house we are just like you. We eat very few processed foods. I buy organic when I can. We don't eat high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or artificial dyes. I avoid MSG.
Many people are NOT enlightened about how the pesticides and the GMO foods affect our health. Artificial dyes and preservatives are harming our bodies. And MSG is a neurotoxin! It's awesome that you understand that and are teaching your son about good eating habits.
Our bodies are not meant to eat preservatives or artificial dyes or MSG. And we sure aren't supposed to eat meats or milk from cows that have been fed hormones! And then we wonder why we get cancer and other diseases later on.
Cheetos have MSG in them. MSG is addictive. MSG stimulates your nerves to make you crave more. No wonder your son wanted more!
That being said, my family and my husband's family seem to think that junk food is a GIFT. They are giving my child the GIFT of Doritoes or candy. We have given up fighting it, and we just let them do it. As vigilant as I am about buying all organic foods and foods free of dyes and preservatives, we allow our daughter to "live it up" when at the in-laws. Yes, she eats pies and cookies and Cheetos and things full of bad stuff when she's over there. AND the in-laws LOVE seeing her eat the junk food. Yes they make comments like "You poor thing, you can't eat Doritoes at your house, you can have as many as you want here."
We don't fight it. And now that she's older, she is very educated on why we eat the way we do. The funny thing is, she now refuses to eat Cheetos and Doritoes ON HER OWN. She knows about MSG, and that the MSG causes her headaches.
We will never lower our standards in our own home. But we do allow the inlaws to offer the the junk food. I'm pretty sure a little junk food now and then at the in-laws isn't going to hurt her.
Also, she LOVES our organic food and swears it tastes better than the other food. She thinks my homemade yogurt salad dressing is better than the stuff in the bottle. So your soon will grow up just fine.
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M.C. answers from Cincinnati on June 22, 2012
You are not alone. Don't give in. Stand your ground....and speak up. Force them to respect you as his mother. If they want to undermine you, they lose the privilege of having him around.
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X.O. answers from Chicago on June 22, 2012
I am totally with you there. We were on vacation with my in-laws, and on day 4 my MIL (who is EXTREMELY health-conscious when it comes to what adults eat) kept insisting that my 2 yr old could eat coffee cake for breakfast. Nevermind the fact that he was already happily eating scrambled eggs and had some ham and was eating a banana as well. When I asked her to not offer it to him, she ignored me, asked him if he wanted some, and he promptly shoved his plate to the side and grabbed the gooey pastry from her hand. Thanks MIL! Now we're going to head out the door for a LONG day and he's just had a sugary snack for breakfast, rather than the sustaining meal that we had just paid $17 in freakin hotel restaurant food to feed him. ARGH!!!
And then she wonders WHY I don't want them to move back in with us again. Um, because I don't want to be undermined in my own home and on a daily basis.
Guess what I am trying to say is, yes, I feel your pain :) Thanks for letting me vent a bit. I feel better now ;-)
ETA: My frustration with my MIL got so bad that at one point I had jokingly listed her in the "Free" section of Craigslist. Writing that ad was very cathartic :)
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