All of my blog drafts lately have been long, ranting messes. Thus, their lack of “Published” status. I don’t enjoy reading angry run-on blog posts, and I reckon most other people don’t either.
That said, I haven’t published a post in a while. So, I’m just going to talk about something sucky that happened at the zoo today, and if it gets a little ranty, well, sorry. Mostly, I just want to see what other moms think of this.
Bowie and I went to one of the handful of food stands they have at the zoo. I had brought food for him, but not for myself. So, I ordered the chicken strip basket, comes with fries. Got the kid a juice. We sit down at our table, he’s drinking juice, I’m eating food. He’s eating some of the cheddar bunnies, applesauce, cheese stick and raisins I brought. But, he is picking up a French fry every now and then.
A mom comes over with her brood of 4, and from what I could surmise, her mother-in-law. She denies her son a snack from the food stand, they’ve just come to sit at the tables and eat the lunch they brought. Totally fine. But, then she goes on a long tirade on the food at the zoo, deeming it “some of the worst stuff you could put in your body” and “probably even dangerous, this place CAN’T be clean.” And she gives them each a big thing of Yoplait.
Eventually she notices us, we’re only a few tables away. I get a long, purposeful stare from her, and a look at our tray followed by a dramatic and audible “TSSSSK.” But that wasn’t it! She KEPT giving us the stinkeye, probably a half dozen times. And, she started saying things to her kids like, “Doesn’t it feel so good to eat healthy foods? We’re helping our bodies with this healthy food!”
I mean, let’s just push aside the fact that the healthy food she was having them eat is riddled with sugar. And let’s also bypass the totally useless passive-aggressive method of delivering her “message”. And, let’s instead focus on the fact that, from her vantage point, she couldn’t see the food I’d brought for Bowie and put on the tray for him to eat. She also got there long after I was finished eating, and there was a fair amount of food leftover. So, from first glance, it looked like I had intended for my 3 year old son to eat all of that fried, greasy food. But, the whole time she was there, not once did he put a fry into his mouth.
If she was truly that concerned about the food that a complete stranger’s toddler eats, then she could have tried a little harder to assess the full situation. That’s the whole thing about judging other people: most of the time you have no idea what their situation is, you have no back story, you have NO IDEA. And it’s best to just leave well enough alone.
What’s more, we are at the ZOO. If I want to let my son have some junk food during our fun day out at the zoo, then what the hell business is it of hers?! We certainly don’t eat like that all the time. When I go somewhere like the zoo, or an amusement park, or the movies, somewhere fun like that where going is kind of an event, I like to indulge a little. If my kid eats a handful of French fries at the zoo, he’s not doomed to poor health for the rest of his life. I know it’s not great for him, I know it’s not the most nutritious lunch, but I’ll make up for it at dinner.
That woman acted as if she saw us every day, for every meal, and saw the same lack of nutrition in front of us each time. What she should have reminded herself of is the fact that she’s never seen us before a day in her life.
Have you ever encountered something like this? Not just with food, but with any of your parenting? I hear a lot online about moms getting judged, but this is the first time it really happened to me. And such a seemingly innocuous situation. Would you feel the same way if you saw us sitting at the zoo today?