Everyday Exceptions


Everyday exceptions. It’s an oxymoron. A contradiction in terms. How can something be an exception if it happens every stinking day?

This is my junk food battle.

I’ve been preaching, “It’s okay to have a small treat once in a while. You know, like Christmas, Halloween, a birthday party…things like that.”

But the problem is, that “once in a while” somehow enters our lives every single day without warning. I’m talking about daily uninvited junk food that my kids feel both delighted and obligated to eat. I feel like that early 90’s infomercial when I say:


All I want is just one day. Just one. Just one day when my kids aren’t presented with prepackaged partially hydrogenated goodies against my will. I control our kitchen. No worries there. I used to think that was enough in order to raise healthy kids, but I’m coming to find out it’s not.

There’s candy at the friend’s houses, treats after games, goody bags at parties, paper plates of sweets left on our doorstep by well meaning neighbors, the list goes on and on and on and on! It never lets up. Somewhere out of left field, right field, it doesn’t matter. I have no idea what will bring on their insulin spike tomorrow, but I can promise you that something will cross their paths. It always does. That sugary sweet siren’s song blares all the live long day.

My problem is that I feel like the sugar police for saying, “No, you’ve had enough.” Other parents look at me like I don’t know how to have fun. I don’t want to be the mother who bats junk food out of the hands of her children with a “tsk, tsk” and a glare. I don’t want my healthy food habits to back fire and have my kids feel “deprived” so their mission in life is to binge on pop tarts as adults.

But really, enough is enough. I want these fun treats to be exceptions, not the rule. Do I really need to be the kind of parent who writes the teacher a note saying “I’ll thank you not to reward my child with Laffy Taffies.” Do I really need to call friends’ parents and check on what they will be serving for snacks that afternoon? Or worse, send them to their friends’ houses with a paper sack full of mom sanctioned munchies? How embarrassing.

My new message to my kids is this: multiple treats will come into your lives everyday completely uninvited. You must decide what you’re gonna do each time. Be choosy. It’s okay to say, “No thank you.” It’s okay to ask for an apple instead.

And when the kids aren’t looking, it’s okay to toss it in the outside garbage.

(That last bit is hard the first couple of times, but after that, it’s liberating. Trust me.)


3 responses »

  1. Don’t worry Margaret, I ‘ve assumed the role of Junk Food Police for your kids in your absents. It hasn’t even been that long and I’m sure all of the kids are sick and tired of me saying “Thats enough.” So have a good time knowing that at James’s B-day party they all just had one cupcake, instead of the five that Ben and I ate, because there were so many left over.

  2. I know, I know, I KNOW!
    Enough is ENOUGH!
    Make it STOP!
    I want to be the one to give my child a sanctioned treat, not the neighbor, not the coach, and not their primary teacher.
    When the ice cream truck finally comes around our neighborhood (believe me, we’ve been listening) I want to be able to say to the kids, “lets go track that thing down!” Not, “no, sorry kids, you’ve had too much junk today.”

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