Today’s rant is about all the well-intentioned people out there who think I need their help parenting my own kids. People who think sugar is bad so they want to ban all sugary foods from schools. People who think fat is bad and want to ban toys in Happy Meals. People who think prayer is good and want to tell my kids to pray in school. People who think exercise is good and want to weigh my kids at school.
Most of the time, these folks are genuinely trying to help. I appreciate that. But … sometimes they irritate me. Like the people trying to ban toys in Happy Meals. We don’t eat McDonald’s that often. When the kids were little, if they had a special toy in the Happy Meal, we would eat there. I would even buy extra toys. The next toy would be stupid, and we’d quit going. That’s the point — not every kid out there is going to want every toy they have. And hamburgers aren’t a bad thing occasionally. Neither are french fries. Adults eat french fries all the time, but people act like fries are poison to small kids. I think it would be cool if they put a little applesauce in the meal, but my kids love fruit, so they eat lots of it at home anyway. Plus, you can get apple slices instead of the fries. And you don’t have to go to McDonald’s if you worry about the nutrition anyway, so why make the Happy Meal less happy for everyone else? Oh, because you don’t want my kid to get a Happy Meal. It has nothing to do with your well-parented kids. You want to protect my kids from my bad parenting.
A lot of schools let you opt out for “extras” like cookies, so you can keep your kid from eating them at school. Why remove them from the menu? Oh, because you want to prevent my kid from eating them. I get it.
My mother in law and I argue politely about prayer in school. She thinks the lack of prayer in school has caused a lot of the problems kids are having these days: bullying, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity. If you agree with her that prayer is a great thing, you can have your kids pray whenever you want at home. Why do they need to be directed to do it at school? Oh, because you want my kids to pray. You know yours are already praying, so you’re trying to reach the kids with bad parents who don’t have their kids pray.
What about the push to remove all cartoon characters from cereal boxes? Look, I supported getting the cartoon camel off the cigarette boxes, but this is completely unnecessary. My kids don’t like cereal because of a cartoon. They like the way it tastes. Removing cartoons from the boxes won’t change that. Just let other parents make their own decisions!
See, here’s the deal: You don’t know my family. You don’t know how I parent in the privacy of my own home. My husband’s family has a lot of weight issues, and I struggle with controlling mine as well. When my son started having weight issues at six, along with acne and body hair, I knew we had to live differently for his health. (And yeah, we had blood work done, which was normal :).) I figured it would be really unfair to expect him to not eat foods everyone else in the family was enjoying, so I stopped buying chips, cookies, snack cakes, and snack crackers. Ice cream and puddings are sugar-free. I try not to serve carbs with dinner, just salad, meat, vegetable, and fruit for dessert. So McDonald’s would be a special treat. Soda in a restaurant is a special treat. My kids without weight issues can have a cookie at school where their brother isn’t watching.
I’m parenting this issue. I know what I’m doing. So let me take care of my own kids, and you take care of yours.
And I wish the schools would quit weighing kids if they don’t want to do it. Do you really think the fat kids don’t know they’re fat? That they’re going to look at the scale and say, “Oh my God, I had no idea! Thank you for pointing this problem out to me!” Does it really help to humiliate them in front of the entire class? Gym class is Hell for fat kids already.
As for prayer, I don’t need my kids to pray in school because they pray at home, and I don’t want the Jewish and Muslim and agnostic kids to feel weird anyway. We all have the right to raise our kids as we see fit, so we need to let people raise their kids without imposing our ideas on them.
As long as I’m not hurting anyone or breaking laws, I don’t like anyone telling me what to do or how to do it. That goes for the government and concerned strangers. I appreciate your concern. But please butt out. (Except my MIL — she gets to make all the suggestions she wants.)
So, does this piss you off too? What’s pissing you off today?