Ever since the little monsters arrived, I’ve been a mother. I’ll continue to be a mother every day for the rest of my life. Today that means that I read them books, teach them to tie their shoes and ensure that breakfast consists of grapes and eggs instead of Lucky Charms. Tomorrow it will likely mean something different—except for the food thing. The food thing is always a challenge I will face.
I’m ok with that. It’s not only my job to make sure that they eat right, but also that they are developing healthy habits so they continue to eat right when they aren’t under my direct supervision and start making these choices for themselves.
Sometimes selling grilled chicken and carrot sticks for lunch versus a good ol’ blue box of mac and cheese is a hard thing to do—I’d rather take the easy route myself if I’m being perfectly honest with you. (Anything cheesy gets my vote.) But I rarely concede and my kids are tortured with snacks from the produce section instead of the highly processed pre-packaged treats that can be the norm for lots of kids.
I’m pretty good about keeping things healthy on the regular, but when we are traveling, all that goes out the window. I’m sorry, I’m not sorry.
When we are traveling—by car, by plane, by train—whatever the case may be, I’ve got to pack for all the children (my husband included), make sure the electronics are all charged, the necessary documents have found their way into my bag, the dogs are cared for and even clean up around the house so I’m not a big ball of stress when we return home. Plus, I have a full time job. Slicing up cucumbers and purchasing low-fat cheese sticks are on the absolute bottom of my to-do list. I’ll throw a box of Cheez-Its in the cart and call it a day.
Once we’re on vacation, you won’t catch me making dinner—or any other meal for that matter. Some families save a ton of money by staying in units with kitchenettes where they can make their own meals while on vacation. I think those people are super awesome—I’m just not one of them. I cook all the time during real life (well, most of the time); I’m not about to start doing it while I’m on vacation. It’s my vacation too, dammit. Someone pass the Cheez-Its.
Going out to eat is one of my favorite things in the world, and I’m not about to skimp on the cheese sticks while I’m escaping reality for a few days, so I don’t expect the kiddos to either. Vacation is a time to relax and not worry so much about the normalcy you strive for at home. We travel to get away from the normal, and that includes our food experiences.
Whether it’s trying a new and scary looking dish in a location that we’ve never been to before or picking up some McDonald’s on the car ride home, I refuse to feel guilty for letting my children indulge while traveling. Healthy eating is part of our “normal” and traveling together is not normal. It’s wonderful, exciting, tiring, challenging and fulfilling—but never normal.
Besides, I’m a mom. I’ve got plenty of other things to feel guilty about.
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I’m with you. Life is about balance. We eat healthy at home but get a burger from 5 Guys once a month or so and enjoy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s here and there. I have great respect for those who keep to a strict diet no matter where they are but I’d much rather enjoy the break when we get it.