Recently a comment I made about how being a food allergy parent seems from the outside (I know I look like a “helicopter mom” to others) contributed to a post by Asha Dornfest on her Babble Voices blog “The Accidental Expert” – feel free to check it out: When your “balance” looks different
I think this passage in particular is applicable to both the food allergy parent and the veg parent in me:
To the naysayers, experts, and well-meaning people who still think we’re nuts: we appreciate your opinions. They help us clarify our own. We know you mean well, but you’re only seeing part of the picture.
Here’s what would help more than your judgement: your confidence in us as intelligent, conscientious parents. We don’t need your agreement. We need your support. Your continued honesty and friendship. Your willingness to keep talking.
But in the end we will always declare: we know our families best.
I was talking with a friend on Twitter (she runs the website Multiple Food Allergy Help) last month and she had written that her son was distraught over a karate teacher telling students they need to go without sugar for 7 days as that meant he couldn’t eat one of the treats that was safe for him: pop tarts. (Sources: 1, 2, 3) It is a perfect example of someone on the outside not getting the unique circumstances of a family. In this particular instance it made a sweet little boy feel bad about what he could safely eat.
Ages ago (okay, two years ago) I read a post called “When Clueless People Attack” by Amy Corbett Storch that really stuck with me. In it she describes how people judge parents for putting their “older” children in strollers. For, say, an autistic child, it just might be the only way their parent can keep them from running into the street or out of a store. There’s no way to know, especially from what is just a momentary interaction. Now, if you see something that raises your concern, like child abuse or the like, then of course that is a different situation but as far as choices like what treat my child gets or whether someone else’s little one has a pacifier in their mouth it is best not to judge.
On the flip side there is my internal dialogue, the one that looks at what other moms are doing and thinks I am not nearly that fabulous. If that is also something you struggle with, Jessica at VegBooks.org shared this article with me and it made the great point that “Your Children Want You.” So even though I am probably my own worst critic (who doesn’t worry when all their child wants for dinner is the same thing they had for lunch and for dinner the night before?) I am doing my best and hope you are getting the support you need to do your best as well.