Before I had kids, I tried to imagine the type of parent I would be. In all scenarios, I feel pretty confident I was the coolest, most inspired and creative mom ever! I also feel fairly confident in none of my Norman Rockwell-esq Mom visions was I referred to as the “food dictator” or “nutrition tyrant”. But, sadly, these terms have both been used to describe aspects of my parenting. I all at once resent and resemble these remarks. It is true, trying to make sure my family is eating healthy and not ingesting poison hidden in food has been a primary goal in my parenting strategy. My kids would say the goal consisted more of terrorizing them with whole grain bread and massive amounts of broccoli. But the truth is, I just want them to be healthy, strong and not have strange tumors growing out their ears by the age of 20.
Like any good dictator worth his/her salt, I have had to work very hard to protect my subjects from themselves. Along the way, this has meant not only supplying them with healthy foods, refusing to purchase foods deemed unworthy and limiting questionable foods, it has also required declaring the occasional all out Ban on the most harmful and unacceptable food creations.
For instance, there was the “Sugar Ban” for my first born when he was 0-2 (he maintains the applesauce sweetened cake I made him for his first birthday party is a clear cut case of child abuse) and “Sugar-Ban #2” for my second born when he was in preschool (he says he will work it out in therapy later). Then came the “Soda Ban” , the “Artificial Sweetener Ban” (seriously, ants won’t even eat it), the “Hydrogenated Oil Ban”(it does such great things for the butt), the “Nitrates Ban” (who cares if your lunch meat is gray?), the “All Plastics and Canned Goods with BPA Ban”, the “Microwave Popcorn Ban” (that one really hurt), the “Doritos Ban” (I believe this was when the term “Nutrition Tyrant” emerged), and the “Gatorade Ban” (because what better way to reward an athletic body than by dumping flame retardant into it?), to name just a few.
However, the most recent ban left all my subjects shaken and cowering in fear on the kitchen floor…”The Microwave Ban.” You see, a few months back, I decided we had dumped enough microwaves into our bodies for a lifetime and pulled the plug on the microwave – literally. Playing right into my hands was the fact that the monster had taken to running with the door fully open and at times, refused to shut off.
As if we had never warmed food in the dark ages before microwaves, I began to come upon bizarre and disturbing scenes in the kitchen – soup being heated up in the oven, beans being burned in a frying pan on the stove, blank stares at mugs of water needing to be heated, whole dinners in the oven on the actual dinner plate – or even worse, person trying to eat off the scorching hot dinner plate after coming out of the oven. But despite begging and pleading on the part of my minions, I unrelentingly held my ground on “The Microwave Ban”.
History will tell you, every dictator must endure his/her share of rebellion and subversive decent. I don’t fool myself that there haven’t been plenty of insubordinate acts occurring behind my back. Lucky for my kids, they have always found a willing co-conspirator in their Dad. However, with help from sometimes eager informer (Pre-Teen) and my keen sense of observation (empty Doritos bag in the trash) many of these mutinies did not go undiscovered.
But, with age and oppression comes ingenuity. One morning, several months into “The Microwave Ban”, I walked into the kitchen to find the microwave missing from its place on top of the refrigerator. You see, even though I had relieved the microwave of its duties, even my tyrannical heart had not been able to evict it altogether.
Me: “Where’s the microwave?”
Teen: “We were doing something with it.”
Apparently in the night, Teen had found a willing rebellious accomplice in a friend staying for the night. They had decided, somewhere after the midnight hour when the dictator was fast asleep, to haul the microwave outside onto the back porch a do what they had always wanted to do…zap stuff you are not supposed to zap in a microwave…ever!
Later the next day, these videos appeared on Facebook:
and the crowning glory – two rebellious acts all at once (I am sure there were some empty soda cans nearby as well)
Because, every good rebellion deserves to be documented.
More tyranny on Sweet Spot: Down With Fish Tyranny
Payback to the Food Dictator: The Rebellion Rages On