School’s back. And that means school lunches need to be packed. Like other parents, I am quietly stalking blogs, Facebook pages and Pinterest for inspiration. On my way to finding an alternative to sandwiches, I am finding a fair bit of judgement which is in turn being met with a fair bit of judgement on said judgement. Then there is judgement on calling out the judgment. It’s a bit much when all I wanted was a recipe for some zucchini and carrot muffins.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we make such a big deal of something as innocuous as lunch boxes. Why do we jump to the conclusion that one person’s choice is a judgement on our own?
I am vegetarian but if I wasn’t brought up with that diet, I’d probably be eating meat. As it is I sometimes eat fish to make it easier on my family. It’s fascinating to watch reactions when I tell people I am (sort of) vegetarian. Some people say “Oh, I don’t like meat either but I have to eat it for the iron.” Others say, “How do you get all your nutrients?” Others say, “well you eat fish, so that’s not really vegetarian then is it?” I can feel it when people think my choice of diet is silently judging their choice of diet. They enter into fight mode, ready to defend themselves. Truth is, I don’t care one whit if the people around me eat meat or not. My decision has nothing to do with them and I certainly don’t expect them to adopt my diet. But on the flip-side, I shouldn’t have to explain my choices either.
When a person chooses a paleo diet or quits sugar or commits themselves and their family to a whole food diet, I don’t believe they are expecting everyone around them to do the same. People get excited about things they think are awesome and naturally want to share their excitement. Like minded people share things they are interested in. That act of sharing information isn’t inherently judgemental.
If someone posts a picture of a yoghurt packet and points out the amount of sugar involved, they are sharing information they think is important. I find it annoying because my kids like that brand of yoghurt and here I was thinking it was a relatively healthy choice. But it’s not judgement. It’s just inconvenient information. When someone makes a comment like “I can’t believe any mother would knowingly feed that crap to their children”, then we enter into judgemental territory.
When I am around someone who has made their child home-made protein balls and I am offering my kid pre-packaged snacks marketed as “healthy”, I do feel awkward. But that’s everything to do with me and nothing to do with the mum who is just wanting the best for her child. I do what I can. They do what they can. We are all just trying to do our best for the kids we love.
If you are feeling a bit meh over your lunchbox choices, consider the fact there are kids that go school without lunch and without breakfast. If you want to give those kids a helping hand, you can through the Smith Family.
I think we need to keep things in perspective, make and own the choices that are best for our families, live and let live and not confuse someone else’s choice with judgement on our own.