This is what happens when my kids get hold of the camera: Me, caught in a moment of mom fatigue, surrounded by piles. Definitely not suitable for posting on Facebook. After all, there’s a reason it earned the nickname “Fakebook”: We put our very best selves on display for the world (or at least our “friends”) to see. We keep the rest–the messy stuff, the whiny kids, the photos showing flabby arms or double chins–to ourselves.
That’s why I loved this post on The New York Times’ Motherlode blog. In “The Food Writer and Her Picky Eater“, Debbie Koenig details the agony of being a card-carrying foodie but having a child who will eat little more than noodles, yogurt, hot dogs, and sometimes chicken. She writes:
After a particularly tense meal, I’ll dwell on all the ways I’ve failed my child, how I’ve dragged out this battle of wills long past the point where I should’ve stopped fighting — years past it. Clearly, I am a terrible parent.
I love that post because of the honesty. I don’t feel like there’s enough of that when it comes to the topic of food and kids.
When I started this blog four years ago, I wanted to focus on the realities of feeding kids. And I knew that to really do that, I’d have to be totally honest too. That meant admitting to making mistakes and to having kids who didn’t eat perfectly–and yes, admitting that despite being a dietitian with a bunch of initials after my name, my own eating habits weren’t perfect either. I know not everyone in my profession likes that. I know some of them think it hurts my credibility when I fess up to having a sick love for candy corn or a son who has tasted (and thoroughly enjoyed) Cool Ranch Doritos.
I try not to focus on those people.
Because I think honesty is helpful. Wouldn’t you expect that the son of a foodie writer in New York City would be an adventurous eater? And isn’t it a relief to know that even foodie writers in New York City struggle with mealtime frustrations? It is to me. (The advice Koenig gets from Ellyn Satter is wonderfully reassuring as well, so be sure to read it.)
So while we’re at it, here’s some more honesty:
1. My house is frequently a Lego-strewn wreck.
2. My 5 year old had a bowl of cereal for dinner Sunday night.
3. I haven’t washed my hair since last Friday.
These are the realities of having kids. As much as I try my best every day, I never approach perfect. Because perfect doesn’t exist, especially where food is concerned. No matter what Pinterest or Fakebook say.