There are so many things that other parents might see "wrong" with this picture of my kids eating dinner. I see judgmental comments on social media constantly about what parents feed their kids for dinner, how and when they eat, and point out other areas where parents like me could be doing better.
But these comments don't take into account the whole story of what's happening behind the scenes in our home. This picture is just a still shot of one moment in time. I want people to understand that there's more to our lives than just this mediocre dinner and unkempt household.
For example, in this picture you see deconstructed spaghetti. Some may say I shouldn’t modify meals for my kids. Some may point out the lack of vegetables. But what you don’t see is that I offered salad (which was obviously declined) and the alternative to this meal would be fast food, so I’m proud of the meal I served.
Then there’s the paper plates. Some people would be horrified to know that I serve the majority of the kids’ meals on paper plates. Clearly I hate planet Earth. Truthfully I can’t keep up with all the dishes with 5 people eating 2-3 meals per day here. That’s a lot of plates. Some might say, “Just have your kids do the dishes.” I do. There’s still a never-ending supply of cups, bowls, and pots to wash.
Then there’s the kids. One is looking at the meal in horror and disgust. He’s stalling eating his food, complaining, and has his elbows on the table to boot. You might think I’ve spoiled my children and taught them no manners. The truth is I’ve been working on this for nearly nine years and it’s still like this. One of my children has sensory issues and eating is ALWAYS a challenge. EVERY DAY. So much so that I can’t even count the number of times I’ve left the dinner table in tears, and so has he. It’s a work in progress (he did end up finally eating, by the way).
You might notice one child is eating with his hands. Honestly, I just don’t care about that. He’s eating.
The table is messy and full of crap. You see Legos spilling over everywhere left over and tons of dried up play doh. What you don’t see is HOW MUCH FUN my boys and their dad had building with those Legos over the weekend, and how they were so proud of their play doh creations that they wanted them to dry up like this.
There’s more that one could see “wrong” in this picture, but what you may not see that this is the best I can do today. I battle daily with depression and frankly it’s a miracle we are sitting at the table together eating dinner at all.
My best may seem like it sucks, but it’s still my best.
My kids are alive. They have consumed calories, and happily moved on to coloring and reading books. They are great kids.
So the next time you see a snapshot of someone’s life that looks like questionable parenting, remember you’re not seeing the whole picture.
We are not snapshots. We are people. And most of us, really and truly, are doing our best.
This post was originally published on the author's Facebook page, Driving Mom Crazy.