Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Friend or Foe? Either Way, Why Are We Attacking Each Other?
First, let me thank everyone who read this week’s Tuesday Timesaver. Thank you, thank you! I’m really honored that you took a few moments to check out the post. I hope it was helpful to you and if not, well, maybe another post will be more useful. It’s thrilling to have this opportunity to share the special experiences I’ve had cooking for my son with all of you. It truly makes my day when a reader tells me that I’ve helped her/him by offering a fresh idea or a delicious-sounding recipe. And when a mom actually makes the recipe and reports back on what her kids thought? Bliss! And, hey, if your kid doesn’t like a recipe, let me know. Your feedback might inspire a variation that other kids will like too. As for this morning’s post, I have to admit, some of the reactions to it really surprised me. When I decided to write about making a big batch of macaroni and cheese ahead and freezing the leftovers to save time on busy weeknights, I never imagined it would spark a debate. Or that debating the merits (or lack of merits) of mac ‘n’ cheese would lead to moms attacking other moms. Then I logged onto Facebook.
Here’s a snapshot of what some of you had to say. At last count, more than 200 of you say you “Like” the post (thank you, so happy you enjoyed it). Some moms had great ideas for jazzing up mac ‘n’ cheese. “We love mac and cheese at our house!,” said Casey. “I always add diced broccoli, carrots, or peas for veggies and sometimes tuna or chicken cubes to it too.” Other moms were excited to have a new dinner idea. “Will try it today!” Sandhya exclaimed earlier today; tonight she posted on Facebook that the recipe “came out perfect…My LO who was on a Sabbatical from eating finished her dinner plate clean.” Amanda also made the recipe tonight: “It was awesome!!!!!” she said. “My son went wild over it!!!!!” You made my night, Amanda and Sandhya! I’m delighted your kids enjoyed their mac ‘n’ cheese. Then there were the moms who weren’t quite so, um, enthusiastic. “I would never ever make that gross thing for my kid,” said one. Fair enough, you don’t have to. Another mom was opposed to feeding her kids frozen food, even if it’s homemade then frozen (this one perplexed me but to each is own). Then there were the arguments ranging from food allergies to organic foods to vaccines between some of the moms who weighed in. Oy.
Of the 65 comments I’ve read so far, both positive and negative, only one bothered me–not because I felt that it was a personal attack but because it sounded to me like another way for a mom to judge other moms: “What a good idea if you’re too lazy or busy to cook a fresh hot meal!” Really? Moms who take cooking shortcuts from time to time are lazy? What about all the time they spent making the food in the first place? What about the fact that they’re invested in what their kids are eating? Even if dinner comes from a box or a jar, who are we to call another mom lazy? We judge other parents, especially moms, on so many issues–breastfeeeding, working outside the home, sending their kids to daycare, letting their kids cry it out a night and now we’re going to judge how they cook for their own kids? Really? In my opinion, if a mom is taking the time to make a meal that she feels is nutritious and that her kids will enjoy then she should be applauded. Hopefully she’ll even get to sit down and enjoy that meal with her kids.
So here’s a new idea for us all. What if we step back for a minute and give other moms a break? What if we invite another mom and her family over and enjoy a healthful meal together? What if we strike up a conversation with that mom on the playground who breastfeeds or bottle feeds or does the opposite of the ideal we’ve set for ourselves? What if we just stop criticizing each other and instead embrace the sisterhood that comes with bringing a new life into the world? The next time I’m at the playground or the baby gym or the local coffee shop where all the moms hang out on Sunday morning, I’m going to hold my judgements and be a better friend to the moms around me. What about you?