Moms run tirelessly after their little ones to feed them
Moms and Their Struggle to Feed Picky Eaters
By Mansi Zaveri
Every visit to my mom’s house is filled with questions about my kids’ eating habits. I always tell her the kids eat everything but she insists on making something special for them. Each time she calls, I put down the phone in a frenzy saying I am busy feeding the kids and will call back later. An hour later when I call her back she will ask, “Did the kids eat well?” In her mind I know she wonders why I get worked up about the kid’s meals. She will often say “I raised four kids but didn’t ever need to feed them. And they eat so healthy! Wonder how we did it?”
I know she empathises with me on how I manage my kids in today’s time but I also know that she wonders why it is so difficult to feed children today. Our parents probably didn’t spend half as much money or time in feeding us. Picky eaters were a novel concept back then. So really what has changed?
The other day I made dosa for my daughter and she insisted on having it with cheese. I growled like a mama bear, “How can every food item have cheese in it?” How do you know what it tastes like if it’s loaded with cheese and butter?
When I was a kid, I don’t remember cheese as a food item at all. I don’t remember butter even, except the white butter that we had with bajra roti.
Maggi, which was probably only Rs.5 back then seemed so expensive that our parents bought it only once in the summer holidays. Today, our kids grow up eating organic fruits and vegetables, cage-free eggs and gourmet foods but still it takes us an iPad, high chair, favourite TV show and a dedicated person to feed them. Parents are so particular about the source of food and where it comes from, how it is cleaned, where it is bought from and so on.
If you Google picky eaters in the 80s, it will be hard to find an article, and if you Google it without the year, you will find lots of ideas on how to feed them. There were no food art ideas, no blogs that helped you feed picky eaters and no time to wonder and discuss which food group your child is probably missing out on. My mom believes that it was because we had respect and discipline, but no compulsions.
I don’t think moms back then had the time or the help to blend all the vegetables the child needed to eat. I never heard of a child back then saying I don’t eat fruits and never saw moms running tirelessly after their little ones feeding them a garden snack.
As a Gujarati girl, I don’t remember my mom telling me not to eat jalebis, gathiyas or chakris because it’s junk. I made that choice. And in hindsight, the way our parents raised us seems way better than what we are doing today. As I serve more dosas to the daughter, I search for answers and think whether it is a choice that has really spoilt them or awareness that has us troubled. I am still wondering if it is the limited patience both in parents and children or manpower and money at disposal that makes food, a basic necessity for some, such an important part of an urban parent’s life.
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