Enlightened Mama Disclaimer: I share these things not to say “THIS is the ONLY way.” I believe that every mama has wisdom in her own heart and does what is best for her family at any given time ~ it will often change (as it has with me!) and it will look different for everyone. I share these things to show ONE possible way ~ the way I follow my own heart.
When mothering my first son I took pride in the fact that he didn’t like candy all that much ~ I’m sure I used it for bragging rights, like I’d done something amazing in my parenting. So of course when my second son came along he was immediately “My Candy Man.” He couldn’t get enough of the stuff, providing me endless opportunities for reframing my ideas and ideals about food.
Have you ever noticed how much mothering energy is spent around FOOD? Have you ever felt judged (at least by yourself) every time you go to the grocery store with the contents of your cart on display? You know what I’m talking about! Being militant about food has become a significant signpost of being a “good mother” (or even just a “good person!”). The current generation of mothers has been programmed to believe that to be “good,” you and your family must eat only organic food or be gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, or some other version of deprivation. At the very least you MUST control the sugar intake of your children or you’re bad, bad, baaaaaad.
Well, let me tell you, society at large would call me a VERY bad mother because I follow NONE of those things. I may not have always known what I was doing, and yes, constant candy eating was a challenge when I was young in mothering, but ONE thing I always knew for sure: I NEVER wanted my children to be afraid of food.
So I decided NOT to program them with society’s food rules. We never discussed “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Dessert was never a reward for eating their vegetables, and they were never forced to eat anything they didn’t like. When they were younger I’d make them a big tray of snacks, and sweets got equal billing next to veggies. I never judged food in their presence and hoped they wouldn’t end up judging food either.
Food rules are hard to escape, though, you see them EVERYWHERE. So, every now and then one of them would ask “Is this food healthy?” My rote answer is the same now as it was back then: “If eaten in JOY, ALL food is healthy.”
It’s truly NOT about the food, it’s what we BELIEVE about the food. If we believe what we’ve been programmed to believe, then yes, some food is healthy and some is not ~ and we will live out that reality. But to me, those sorts of beliefs are based on fear, judgment, and limits..and THAT is where I choose NOT to live.
Back in November of 2011, when I was in the midst of what I call my “Soul-Merger-Initiation,” I was told two things specifically about food:
1.) There will come a time when food has no impact on your health or weight.
2.) There will come a time when you go to the grocery store and say YES to everything your boys want.
Nine years ago, both those ideas seemed like QUITE a stretch, if not down-right miracles. But now it is absolutely TRUE. It has taken me nearly a decade of spiritual growth to embody these freedoms, with a whole lot of unlearning, rescripting, and TRUST. Slowly but surely, though, true food freedom started to come naturally and easily. Just the other day I realized I’ve been saying YES to whatever they want for quite awhile now.
I was told something else back in November of 2011, and it was SO important I wrote it in sparkly letters and put it on my wall: “Trust children. Allow them to be the MASTERS they are.” That notion is the cornerstone of my mothering. I trust my children ~ I trust their ability to self-regulate, I trust the wisdom of their bodies, I trust them to follow their own inner guidance, and I trust that, if I stay the hell outta their way, they will always listen to the limitless, fearless voice that is inside them.
So Halloween candy? No guilt, shame, or limitations here. They don’t have to trade it in, give it away, or have it doled out to them in small quantities. This year we decided not to trick-or-treat (because 2020 seems to be a year to do everything differently) and instead I spread hundreds of pieces of candy around the house for the boys to gather while costumed up. I had a blast buying all their favorites ~ so much so that I made three separate trips out just for Halloween candy. And it was a success. They got all the good stuff with none of the crappy stuff no one likes, deeming it the best Halloween loot ever.
This morning I asked my youngest, “Do you want me to make you some food, or are you having candy for breakfast?” He answered, “I’m having candy for breakfast.” And that was simply that.
I’m choosing to live in a limitless world ~ one that doesn’t back-fire on joy nor make me pay for freedom. In Enlightenment I’ve come back full circle to my childhood innocence (with A LOT more experience and wisdom), where food is something to be fully enjoyed without judgment nor fear of reprisals! And what is childhood for if not to enjoy candy for breakfast? Right, I’m off to eat a Baby Ruth….
P.S. When my “Candy-Man,” turned 11 years old he apparently had his fill. Seemingly overnight, he traded in candy for carrots. Now instead of sweets for dessert, he eats a big raw carrot after every meal. Of course I use this for bragging rights, “You see, you stuff ’em full of candy for 10 years and then they start craving vegetables!”