Priorities # 2
I've been sitting on this post for awhile because I've been trying to get it sorted in my head. The more and more time I spend with people who are not "like minded", the more frustrated I get. While I try my best not to judge other mothers and the choices they make for their children, I will openly admit that lately I'm failing pretty badly.
I don't consider myself to be an overly judgemental person, but there are times when I can't help myself. Trust me, I'm trying to work on this, because really...what does it matter what another mother is doing with her own children? The fact is, I care. I care about the health and well-being of the children in my life. I care deeply about their emotional development, and I care about their physical development. With all the information that is out there, I find it frustrating that so many people make uninformed choices when it comes to the health and well-being of their children. I like to refer to this as "willful ignorance", and this is my biggest pet peeve. How can you not be aware of how the choices you make are affecting your children?
Let's take nutrition as an example. Recently, my mother-in-law commented that we must spend a "fortune" on our grocery bill. And yes, in our overall budget, we probably spend more on food than the average family household. Part of this is due to our desire to eat as organically as possible (and when not organic, we go out of our way to support local farmers), and partially because allergies require us to shop as specialty stores. Even before the allergy diagnosis for both my eldest son and myself, both my husband and I were very contientious about what we were putting in front of our children. We've always limited sugar (especially refined sugar) and been very careful about the kinds of foods we're exposing our children to. Namely, I believe in offering FOOD to my kids. That may sound trite -- I'm sure you're thinking "yes, I serve food too, you crazy lady". Personally, I don't believe pudding and pop tarts are food. We don't eat processed convenience meals. And I definitely don't make desserts and "treats" part of my children's vocabulary. Of course, this hasn't ensured that my kids are good eaters. Quite the opposite right now, which is frustrating. My three year old is turning into quite the picky eater. But, my job is to serve him healthy meals and it is his job to decide how much he wants to eat. I'm just hopeful one day he decides he wants to eat more than he is right now!
What is my point? The more I learn about food, the more I realize the importance of being careful about what I put in my own mouth, let alone the mouths of my kids while they're developing. While I admit I sometimes rely on what's easy (eggs for breakfast every day anyone?), I do try and ensure that fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains are offered.
Maybe I'm more sensitive about this because of all the issues we've been through with my son. It now appears that my second child has food allergies as well, and we've recently gone through the testing process for him and are awaiting results. The test isn't cheap, but I'm fortunate that my husband's benefit package through his employer covers the cost. But the bottom line is this -- I don't care how much the test costs, if we're talking about the health of my child, I will spend the money.
If you suspected your child might be suffering, wouldn't you do the same? I encountered someone recently who suspected her child may have allergies, but after taking the first steps to investigate getting the child into see someone, she abandoned the process because the allergy testing was going to be "too expensive". She decided she would chalk the issues up to sensitive skin, and wait things out. The next day, her Facebook status said she was going shopping.
I'm sorry....what?!?!? Why is it okay to spend money on clothes and toys and THINGS, but the cost of a simple test is too much? My children are too young to know if the clothes they're wearing are designer, but they DO know when they aren't feeling well. They deserve to have functioning systems and skin that isn't sore and itchy. Nothing makes me more upset than thinking I may have unknowingly given my son an allergen that has messed his system up. The pain he is in just isn't worth it.
So maybe my priorities are out of whack. Maybe you're judging me for being so uptight when it comes to food. Believe me, I know that my inlaws think that I'm uptight for being so rigid about sugar. Maybe you think "what can it hurt?". But the more I know, the more I realize that it does hurt them. A lot.
Maybe that's why so many people bury their heads in the sand. It's easier to whip out that frozen convenience dinner than to actually put effort into meal preparation. It's easier to change your laundry detergent because of your child's "sensitive skin" instead of actually finding out what's wrong. Because once you know, you have to change. And change isn't easy and requires work. Maybe it's easy for me because I'm at home and can devote the time.
All I know is that I look at these little people that I created and believe with my whole heart that they deserve the best that I can give them. Regardless of cost or effort.