Friday, April 10, 2015

Nugget of Happiness

I have never been the completely uptight mom. I think my more laid-back manner comes from being slightly overwhelmed with twins. You don't have time to think about the decision you're making when you're squeezed between two hungry or filthy babies. Every decision is simply made with one goal in mind: survival.

So I never worried too much about anything except for a few things. 1. Germs: I didn't take any of the kids to church when they were too young. 2. Safety: Yes, we skinned grapes and cut them in half, at least for the twins. After that we realized just how stupid we really were. 3. Routine: Putting the kids to bed by seven o'clock every night, even when traveling? You bet. The routine saved me in more ways than one.

But I like to think of myself as a good parent, one who wants the best for her kids. I breastfed the babies, I bought them fresh fruits and vegetables. I tried to steer clear from artificial preservatives, nitrates, and high-fructose corn syrup. Making my own baby food? I tried it. Canned beans? No, we'll used dried, thank you very much.  As you know, I draw the line at Goldfish. I like those crackers, and so do the kids. Artificial ingredients be damned; we eat them.

As time marched on, though, and the kids grew older, life changed. Instead of dealing with two hungry or filthy babies, I had four hungry and filthy children, four piles of homework, more laundry, after school activities, and all the tasks that went along with my own work. I still believe in fresh fruits and vegetables--organic when I can--and what we eat on a normal day is, in fact, pretty healthy.

But the other day, I admitted to my sister that I had, indeed, served the kids frozen chicken nuggets. (The horror, right?)

"Wow," she said. "You must be really busy."

That week, I was so busy, I barely had time to sit for the few moments it takes to post this drivel. And in that one moment when I spoke to my sister (even though she didn't say what she said to make me feel bad), I felt awful about giving my kids all white meat nuggets that hadn't been chopped into pieces from a fresh chicken breast and dipped into breading by me.

Just one moment, though. And then I laughed at myself.

Because why should I worry that those frozen nuggets and french fries that I baked in my own oven (it doesn't take any effort to throw nuggets and fries in the oven) will have an impact on my kids? They won't. I served them with green peas, a fresh and full green salad, and strawberries, and I'm sure I insisted that before bed they choose a healthy snack in addition to the small dessert they always seem to desire. That shortcut that night allowed me the time to revel in my kids instead of falling under the weight of everything we still needed to do before bedtime. That night, chicken nuggets = no worries. No worries = happy mom. Happy mom = happy kids. Happy kids = all is right with the world.

Why am I sharing this? Learn from me. If my kids can survive frozen chicken nuggets, yours can to. Live a little.

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