Let me preface this article with 2 things – 1) This is simply my opinion and only meant to shed light on this matter and possibly make others think about this issue, and 2) I am not a parent, so I don’t know the ins and outs of caring for someone who has a mind of their own and a mouth that can scream quite loudly.
I got to thinking today about the sayings “My kid is a picky eater” or “my husband just won’t eat healthy” and, as I sometimes do, I started to over analyze what our roles as wives and moms really is.
Where is the line between allowing our families to make their own (possibly unhealthy) choices and enabling them to do it? When I first started my clean eating journey, my husband was supportive, but somewhat startled by the fact that the chips, cookies, and Eggo waffles had left the house and even more startled by the fact that I wasn’t up for takeout or pizza 5 nights out of the week. So where did that leave him? Did I stop on my way home from work to get him fast food and then still prepare a healthy meal for myself? To be honest with you, the answer to that question was YES for quite some time.
Now here’s where my opinion comes in; take it or leave it. I wouldn’t stop at the store to get cigarettes or Jack Daniels for him, and I certainly wouldn’t swing by a dark alley to collect drugs, so why am I going to enable him to fill his body with equally bad (or maybe worse, seriously have you seen that pink foam article from McDonalds… cocaine looks healthier) food? I am a big, HUGE, believer in living your truth – all the time. How could I possibly commit to this journey with my whole heart or ask my challengers to commit to the clean eating meal plans, but still be smuggling fast food in for my hubby? And so I quit doing it. I told him that as his wife, I felt like it was my responsibility to fill him up with everything good – love, strength, faith, kindness, and health. Yes, health. If he chose not to eat what I was preparing, he had a car and money to get whatever he desired, but I wasn’t going to be a part of it. Not to mention the fact that I was still able to use him as an excuse on the nights I decided that Chinese sounded too good to pass up – “What do you want from me, my hubby won’t eat healthy!” Sound familiar?
Fast forward 6 months -> how does this look for us? How did my ultimatum work out? Honestly, it wasn’t the easiest transition in the world. Are there times that he wanders out into the world and comes home with his own pizza? Yes, absolutely. But 6 nights out of the week, he is happy to have food that’s prepared for him. Or he’s too lazy to get something else. Either way, I feel like my job is done. Because although in so many areas of life, he takes care of me, this is my place to ensure that he is taken care of. I am one of those women who believe that it’s my job to keep a clean house and have dinner ready because my husband goes out every day and earns a living for us. He supported my dreams when they couldn’t support themselves. When I told him I wanted to quit nursing to work as a health and fitness coach, he didn’t bat an eye at me. He puts on his tie perfectly every morning, he returns work calls and emails long after he’s left the office, he spends his free time studying for extra certifications and letters that mean nothing to me, but so much for my wellbeing. And so I make sure that he is cared for properly. Because as wives, as women, don’t we know that sometimes what our husbands enjoy is often different than what they need?
As I said earlier, I am not a mom. I have 2 dogs who eat the same Blue Buffalo dog food every day. So does this same rule apply to our kids? Here’s the part I’m probably not qualified to speak on, because I have never been involved in what looks like a war between a mother and child at a grocery store or restaurant. However, I was one of those kids causing a war at one point in my life. And when my parents gave in and allowed me to fill my body with junk, that followed me through most of my life. Through my teenage years, into early adulthood, into the beginning of my marriage. After fighting long and hard to lose 27 pounds and educating myself on what should be going in my body, I think it’s fair to say that a little more push back about my daily trip to McDonalds might have avoided that long, hard journey I had to take.
My point is that when we have loved ones … husbands, kids, dogs even, they become a part of us. So.. is it our responsibility to make sure they are whole? Where’s the line between guiding and controlling? Is this decision something that should be ours to make? After all, aren’t wives the backbone of a family? Aren’t we the ones who can be trusted to make sure that everyone is taken care of, the ones who are up scrubbing bathrooms way before everyone else, and still cleaning long after everyone is tucked in at night? Our families, no matter how big or small they might be, rely on us for everything – including good nutrition. Even when we want to go to sleep without doing the laundry, we know our husbands and kids won’t be ready without their clean clothes for the next day, so we push on. And at the end of the day, if something happens, even something minor, to one our “responsibilities” aren’t we the ones filled with guilt and sadness? Is good nutrition for our families something that we should be more adamant about pushing on with? Why do we accept a “no” on this when we wouldn’t accept a “no” about taking out the trash or doing homework?
Like I said, this is just the way I live in hopes of being the best wife to my sweet, loving husband; a man who deserves so many things, and keeping him healthy and with me for as long as possible is my main priority. So.. what do you think? Do you also feel that good nutrition in your family is your responsibility, or do you think I’m crazy and over controlling? Seriously, I would love to hear how other wives like to see their household work.