“What are my options?” my friend’s 5-year-old asks preceding most meals.
“Mac n’ Cheese, Nuggets, Toast with Cream Cheese, Special Pizza,” his mom answers.
“I want 100 options.”
“You don’t like 100 things”
“What are my options?”
Ah, the joys of mealtime. There should be a parental warning for the frustration and anxiety you will feel in simply trying to get your kids to eat. Parents start with the best of intentions, we buy (or make) baby food with all the vegetables and fruits available. We follow the advice of experts having the child try it three times before giving up that they don’t like it.
But then we get tired. We lose the ability to come up with more “options”. We stick with what we know works and the list of options gets shorter. In fact, one day “dinner” is a piece of cheese and a popsicle. And on that day, we celebrate the child put something in their mouth and vow to try again tomorrow.
Like so many things, this too comes back to expectations. We expect our kids to eat well rounded meals, with all the food groups. However, reality hits and our kids have different ideas of what tastes good. Parents then adjust and do our best to give them food to keep them healthy.
All this talk about options and expectations, I can’t help but think about how this also relates to the holidays. The year’s list of options is shorter. Our expectation is we want to continue traditions, make it look like it always has in the past, and that just won’t be possible.
Please be gentle with yourself and the others around you. Over these next couple days, look at your expectations. Give yourself a chance to reflect, reset and remember what is truly important to you. This year is going to look different, even if it’s cheese and popsicles, it’s still a reason to celebrate.
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Photo by Sunrise Photos on Unsplash
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.