Sending My Healthy Eater Out Into The World and This Mom is FREAKING OUT
Ah, the end of summer is approaching. (Sniff, sniff) I really don't even want to think any aspect of what the end of summer will bring, but I have to. The main thing I need to think about is my little girl starting Kindergarten. Now, that topic has about 1,000 subtopics that could each send me into a panic but that is also more than I could handle in one post. However, something that has really got my anxiety level shooting through the roof is the idea of sending my healthy eater out into the great wide world. Sure I plan on sending her to school with a big, pretty lunchbox filled with all the whole, healthy foods she is used to eating here at my kitchen table. Yes, of course, I am already going nutty on Pinterest searching for ideas to keep her lunches fun and exciting. But in a lunchroom where other kids might have orange powder covered chips and brightly colored juice boxes, the stress is not as much about what color lunch box to get and how do I make a cute little mouse out of an apple slice, some raisins and a cleverly slices piece of kale. My stress is really, truly about my complete panic about whether I have laid enough ground work to keep my healthy eater eating healthy! How does her lunch box, that I will work painstakingly on, mind you, going to complete with her classmates Lunchables and bologna sandwich, chocolate milk, bag of chips and Oreo cookies? I am not going to lie. I am consumed with this problem.
Look, I have been fueling my daughter's little body with the most whole, organic foods I could find and afford since before she was born. My interest in nutrition took a big leap forward once my husband and I wanted to start a family. I tried to make all the right moves, I breastfed, made my own babyfood, I bought organic. We began our CSA organic farm share because we had children. I mean, really, I tried so hard to keep my daughter and all our children as toxin-free as possible and fueled by the healthiest food I could get my hands on. And now, I am just going to send her to the wolves. Maybe, I said maybe, that is an exaggeration, but I don't think so. Her lunchroom will be full of lots of strategically packaged goodies, lunches and juices, with their clever designs and mascots corporations choose simply because they will draw kids in and make them scream and kick until their desperate parents leaves the supermarket with a shopping cart loaded with their products. On one hand, it will be my little girl against Corporate America. Does she stand a chance?
But on the other hand, it will just be a case of her vs little Susie who says, "Eeew, what's that?" when she sees her kale chips. Have I given my little girl enough confidence to say, "Oh, they are kale chips. They are delicious and super healthy." Or is she going to come home, hating my guts for making her and her healthy lunch the oddballs.
I suppose I need to accept that there is a balance. I think that balance is between continuing to do all I can to inspire all of my kids, including my soon-to-be Kindergartener, to eat healthy foods and accepting that she is about to make her own choices, good and bad. That doesn't make me feel all that much better but I believe that is the situation as it currently stands. Sigh.
If you are a parent with some of these same worries, I wanted to write a post for you with all the answers on how to quell these feelings and anxieties, but I can't. All I can do is tell you that you are not alone. If you have some answers, oh,please, do share. But if you, too, are just full of worry how starting school is going to effect your healthy little eater, feel free to share that as well. Maybe our shared experience will reveal some great wisdom but if not, it will at least be nice to know we aren't alone.
Thank you for reading, peeps! You all rock.