A lot of research has been done on nutrition for children. Hundreds of books have been written. I offer my two pence here…on the eating habits of mothers.
Of course, if I could write a book on it I would title it “Swinger”. Nothing would be apter.
The minute we see the two lines on the stick of the pregnancy kit, we start… well, swinging!
One minute we think – healthy, healthy, and healthy. The next we think pizza, pizza, and extra cheese, please.
Our cravings and our good intentions to offer our unborn child proper nutrition go to war.
Broccoli versus Biryani.
Porridge versus Paani Puri.
Milk versus…wine. Milk usually wins this one.
Not to forget the good intention of family and friends – don’t eat street food or you may fall ill, drink a lot of milk and your child will be born fair, eat a lot of ghee and the “delivery will be smooth”… swoosh!
But every time we put broccoli in our mouth we think of Biryani.
So we swing – one meal healthy, the next not.
Ouch, junk food is followed by two healthy meals. But then comes the craving. Bring on the bag of chips.
Then the baby comes along and we don’t know what hit us. We walk around with the worst hangover of our lives, without even drinking.
The battle wages on.
We eat healthy because we are nursing. Gosh, wasn’t 9 months of taking care long enough?
The good intentions of those around us don’t reduce – drink loads of milk and you will give out loads of milk! Moo.
Baby burps and we are questioned, “Did you eat anything spicy?”
Baby farts and we are questioned, “Did you eat cabbage?”
And all this while, we only want coffee and chocolate…or was it chocolate and coffee. Without sleep, it’s difficult to remember.
We swing aimlessly. And dream of spicy chaat.
Six months and it’s time for the solids. Yippie, get out the baby recipe books and Google is our most visited site. Google search “healthy baby foods.”
Mashed potatoes, mashes peas, mashed bananas…
This is the phase when we mothers taste everything before it is offered to the child, no matter how yucky those mashes and purees look and taste.
Nursing stops. Bring on the wine.
It takes two to tango, and three to… survive.
Days and nights are spent swinging from mashes to coffee to wine.
The good intentions of people around … well, doesn’t diminish. Oh, you have stopped nursing, now you should try to lose the baby fat you put on. Stop eating this and stop eating that. Eat this and eat that.
Well, that is why we need wine! To survive this.
Our child gets older and more independent. They start eating only what they like. And that is rarely (unless you are especially favored in the eyes of God) healthy.
And we are swinging again.
We cook healthy food. The child refuses to eat. We try – threaten, explain, plead.
We can’t let the child go without food. We give in. Let the child have whatever.
Healthy food… we can’t let it go to waste, so we eat it.
Wait! The child has been served too much of the unhealthy lot and cannot finish it all. We can’t let that go to waste either, so we eat it.
We visit restaurants and feel guilty about our child wasting food, so we eat it.
We attend parties and feel guilty about our child wasting food, so we eat it.
We also eat what we shave served for ourselves.
We have officially moved from tasting the food before it is served to our children to eating it all after our children have tasted it.
We worry that our child is not getting enough nutrition. Worry makes us sneak in chocolate to calm us.
We worry about looking fat and drab in front of the other hot-looking moms at school so we drink a glass full of cola to cool off.
We worry about what our in-laws will say if they see food being wasted. Worry makes us open the fridge at night and sneak in left-over pizza.
We worry about our moms noticing we have put on more weight. Worry makes us take the bottle of wine with you to the shower. They won’t hear the gulps with the sound of the water running.
And then suddenly we worry we might have a heart attack because of all the worrying, so you eat a bowl of broccoli.
The child learns how to say why. You go back to the chocolate.
The child learns how to say no. You go back to the pizza.
The child learns how to say ****. You get the wine and berate yourself for having said it in front of your child in the first place.
Then we see a post about how lemon juice helps lose weight so we head out to the market to buy a dozen of them. We choose the juiciest ones.
On the way back, we smell the cheese sandwich from Bhaiya’s shop being grilled. We can almost see the cheese bubbling.
One sandwich for fat time’s sake. We will swing by to the lemon tomorrow.
About Dragon Mommy: She is an IIM alumna who left the corporate world after 15 long years to raise her twin sons in a small town because she wanted to enjoy the simple pleasures of motherhood. Besides she didn’t really have a very successful career in the city. She is single by choice. Not hers. She used to be fun. Now she writes about parenting.