Before I had a child, I had rules about motherhood. I wouldn't be the kind of mom who bribed her kid with cookies. You wouldn't catch me out in public in my sweatpants. I wouldn't be the mom who used spit to comb back hair, or the kind that forced children to wear sweaters even if they swore they weren't cold. And I would never, ever be the mom who nibbled around at the leftovers on her kid's plate and called it "lunch."
I'm doing OK overall. The cookie thing is still in check. Sweatpants to the grocery store? Maybe once in a while, when I'm sick or exceptionally sleep-deprived (or when the laundry situation has gotten out of control, oops.) We live in southern California, so sweaters aren't usually an issue. But the worst has happened. There she is, in my kitchen, lurking over my daughter's high chair, eating leftover bites of chicken fingers and string cheese. Mom-Who-Picks-At-Her-Kid's-Food. Ugh.
The situation has been snowballing, and I've been ignoring it. I have to eat sometime, right? And since I'm on my own a lot, there's a lot of toddler food in the house -- and not much else. When no one's around to peer dejectedly into the fridge and ask "What is there to eat?", trips to the market become less inspired. I've never mastered cooking for one, and while I'm proud of my culinary efforts when J's home, I've resorted to scavenging when he's not. Why mess up the kitchen and cook a healthy meal when it's just me? I'd rather eat ramen.
Now my nutritional needs have changed, and as bad as it is to ignore my own healthy diet, it's much worse to make another developing human suffer through canned soup and PB&J sandwiches night after night. That one prenatal horse pill I choke down with my morning coffee can't keep the baby healthy all on its own. At the rate I'm going, #2 is going to come out with neon orange, Kraft macaroni and cheese-colored skin.
A million years ago, I was the healthiest person on the planet. The queen of flax seed and steel ground oatmeal, spirulina and organic fruits and vegetables. E's diet is great, despite the chicken fingers. And when I'm actually trying, I feed my family -- myself included -- fresh, healthy meals that taste great. Surely no matter how hectic life gets, I should be able to find a happy medium and squeeze in some extra servings of protein between bowls of Cheerios, right?
We all want to do pregnancy "right." Sometimes it seems like there are hundreds of rules to follow when it comes to prenatal nutrition, and whether you have children or not, life is often too busy to remember them all. Extra dairy, extra vegetables, no deli meats, watch out for mercury, check the labels on your cheese. Ease up on sugar and salt and caffeine -- and those are just the beginning. Even when we're doing our best, it can be overwhelming to achieve the ideal diet. What are your secrets for maintaining a healthy pregnancy -- and a healthy lifestyle -- when you're on the go? How do you squeeze in all the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains? And most importantly: How do you stop picking food off your kids' plates? Because I don't want to be that mom anymore...