No, You Can’t Have My Food: My Life as A Selfish Mom
I was raised as an only child, so from my earliest moments, I admit I may not be the best at sharing. I do try, but I’d really rather buy two packs of peanut butter m&m’s and give you one, than have you all up in my bag. Sorry, not sorry.
With that said, I try try my best not to snack too much anyway, or eat too late, or overindulge, especially with my metabolism slowing and summer in NYC calling. But after two years in Argentina, this lifestyle has definitely taken ahold of us. We do everything late, including eating meals, so we’re all big on snacks to get us through the day, especially the kids. Luckily for me, they LOVE fruit, and eat it often, but they are kids (big kids at that) so we have the cupboard stocked with granola bars, crackers, nuts, rice cakes, cookies, and God knows what else. Everything out here tends to be overly sweet, and while I do have an affinity for candy, I don’t care for cakes, pastries, cookies, chocolate, or any of the other needlessly sweet things they have out here.
My snacking primarily consists of things brought from home, or the rare US visitor. So nothing boils my blood more than when I sit down to a bowl of Lucky Charms or Blue Diamond smoked almonds, mixed with Trader Joe’s Sesame sticks, when one, then two, then all four damn kids have surrounded me asking for bites. It may sound harsh and selfish and rude, but whatever. I DO NOT WANT TO SHARE.
I wanted to pose this question to my mom friends but I figured they wouldn’t understand since they likely replace and replenish whatever food and snacks their kids have pillaged, so they probably would share and think I was a terribly mean mommy. Then I thought of posing the question to my WAG moms who may understand the plight of having a small amount of supplies to last 8-10 months, but I felt like only a dope would pose a question asking other moms if they were as horribly selfish with their own children as I am with mine.
Okay here’s my thing. When I sit down to have these sacred snacks, as I call them, it’s all very calculated. I make sure that the kids would have had a nice filling lunch, complete with some kind of chippy side. This is not the time for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that would fill them for all of 20 minutes. No, I’m talking tuna melts with a pickle and Doritos or pretzels on the side, or 3 egg sandwiches with fruit salads and a rice cake for good measure. I make sure they’re good and full, and I’ll often even offer an apple or banana to fill any void.
Then I create a scenario that I hope will entice, and usually does. I let the older kids play games on daddy’s Ipad, which rarely happens, so they go to a bedroom and barely look up. Then I stream ABC songs and nursery rhymes from Youtube onto the living room tv, which usually keeps the younger ones occupied for at least 30 minutes. Once I hear the singing along to “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” I know I’m golden and I quietly retreat to the kitchen to enjoy the peaceful solitude of what feels like a forbidden snack.
But make no mistake, the second I sink my teeth into the smokey saltiness of an almond, or the glorious processed cheesiness of a cheese doodle, a child has magically appeared, lustfully sniffing my bowl. Once one appears, they all appear, like lions pouncing on their prey.
Them: “What’s that sound mommy? What are u eating? Can I have a bite?”
Me: “First, how did u get here so fast? Next, why would you want some if you don’t even know what it is? But no, leave me alone”
Them: “But mommy it looks good, can I have some?”
Me: “No, you JUST ate!”
Them: “But mommy I’m hungry”
Me: “That’s impossible, I fed you like you were going off to war!”
Them: “But it looks good, can’t I just have a bite?”
Them: “Just one?”
Them: *Sad faces* “Aww”
At this point, I’m in full defense mode and every child I’ve ever had is staring down my 8 almonds and 10 Sesame sticks. Its a chorus of “why mommies?” and they try to break me down. I don’t want to yell but I want this army to retreat and they just aren’t capable of doing so until some concessions are made, but I’m just not willing to make any. They eventually leave, one by one. Each one walking away looking sadder than the last, while making sure their “aww’s” are especially poignant.
So one would think that at this point I would find a way to compromise and share a little, since we lead by example and yadda yadda yadda. Yeah, no. I fattened them up just so they wouldn’t want my food. I put baby songs and cartoons on when they should’ve been doing work, just so I could get a break. Heck I even gave them Doritos so they would feel like they were getting a treat, especially when compared to my boring almonds. But one thing I’ve learned thus far is that kids don’t care what it is,….. if you have it, they want it.
So there should be a nice moral to the story, something about me learning that my kids are an extension of me so I should treat them as I do myself. Or that snacks and food items are nothing compared to the love I have for them. Or maybe that as the parent I should put their needs first?
What I have learned is that to truly enjoy something without 8 grubby hands in my face, I have to move in silence, like a ninja at night.
Prepare. Distract. Force a nap or two. Anything to prevent my children from partaking in my rations.
So do I feel bad about going to such lengths? Define bad?
My resolve is strong.