Thursday, August 15, 2013

A simple explanation for why I don't eat in front of my children

"Hi Mom."

"Good morning, sweetie. Are you hungry?"

"No, not really. Not right now."

"Okay. Just let me know."

Lucy wandered off down the hall.
I opened the refrigerator and pulled out an egg and some bread. I put the bread in the toaster and dropped the egg into boiling water to poach. Three minutes later I retrieved a plate from the cupboard and set it on the counter just as the toaster dinged.

Lucy was standing in front of me, eyes pleading. "Can I please have some toast?"

So, by "not right now" what she meant was not right now - as in, not right that very minute. But 3 minutes later? That is a different story. A different story entirely. Especially if there was a hot breakfast available.

Except, see, there wasn't.

"Sure, you can have some toast. Lucky for you we just got this 4-slice toaster!" I continued buttering my toast calmly.

To her credit, Lucy was unfazed. She went and got herself some bread and put it in the toaster and waited patiently. But that is not the point to my story.

The point is that everything I consume in front of my children is noted, commented upon, and requested. If I am eating it, they want some. Not sharing makes me feel guilty, sharing means I am still hungry. And I am starting to get hangry. (hangry [HAN-gry] adjective feeling or showing anger because of extreme hunger).

I am tired of having my food intake so carefully scrutinized. I do not want to have a separate mealtime, nor do I want to be afraid to feed myself because I am then going to have to feed everyone else first, further delaying my own meal.

Please do not misunderstand. I feed my children constantly. I always have snacks in my purse and in the glove box and I frequently have a cooler in the car. They each carry a water bottle at all times, and the refrigerator and pantry are fully stocked and easily accessible. I feed them 3 square meals, plus numerous snacks. I simply cannot stress enough: Food is readily available to them at all times. But they don't want just any food - they want MY FOOD. It's as though they are royalty, waiting for someone to test the food for poison, and then stepping in and graciously taking the plate for their own (because my children are almost always very gracious as they help themselves to my food).

My frustration is definitely made worse by the fact that I have been with them almost non-stop since June 1st. My whereabouts tracked, my location reconfirmed every few moments by one or the other:

"MOM! MOOOOOOMMMMMMM? Where ARRRRRE YOUUUUUUUU? Oh, there you are. What were you doing? I couldn't find you?"

"I was right here!"

"No, no you weren't. I was just here and you were GONE!"

"You mean, when I walked over there to refill my glass?"

"WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING MOM?! I am so thirsty! Can I have some?"

"Water. It's just water. Why don't you drink your own water?"

"I can't find it."

"It's in your hand. Your left hand."

"Oh. I forgot. I need more ice. Can I have some of your ice?"

or maybe:

"MOM! What are you chewing? You have something in your mouth. What is it? Are you having a snack? Can I have some? Gum? You have gum? I LOVE GUM."


"If you are getting a cup of coffee, can I have a hot cocoa?"

It just never stops, and I don't think I can take it any more. So if you need me, I will be sitting behind the house quietly, eating some breakfast. Please don't tell my kids.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Ugh,yes! That's me and my 3 kids. I have to sneak food and eat it secretly so they don't pester me about it. And when I make a meal for them, serve it and get ready to sit down with the with my own plate, they are already done and I have to do the second round of serving, and my dinner waits and gets cold. They are huge, huge eaters and all skinny kids. Where does it go? And I treasure eating my own feed in peace and quiet all by myself. Heaven!