During a serious parenting conversation with one of my favorite Roaring Moms, she divulged a problem with one of her children frequently stealing food from her siblings and hiding it. Stuff like treats from school parties or special snacks would disappear. Then they would find the wrapper in the culprit’s room. My heart went out to her as she was truly disturbed by what had become a real point of contention in her family. I racked my brain for the right thing to say, but my mind was stuck on one thing: the contraband two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper I was currently hiding in the trunk of my car!
When she asked how long I thought her daughter would have this problem, I came clean. Yes. I’m forty-something and fabulous and I hide soda in my car, smuggle it into my home, and hide it from my kids. All the time.
I have food issues, and I have successfully passed them on to my kids.
Back when I was a married Roaring Mom, it wasn’t uncommon for us to sit down to dinner and have at least one kid ask for soda. I would explain we didn’t have any soda. Water was better for them anyway. Then one would lean forward and whisper, “Go get it from dad’s secret stash.” Then another would take me by the hand to their dad’s closet and point to the top shelf.
It’s also not uncommon to find sticky notes in the fridge threatening death or worse to anyone who touches the last helping of banana pudding. My kids are not above the Lick Method, either. “I licked that cookie. It’s mine!” As for school party treats? Anything not eaten within 24 hours of said party is fair game. Halloween candy? Well, you better sleep with your bag under your pillow if want to have anything other than popcorn balls left in the morning.
Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to teach will power by frequently reading Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Story “Cookies.” They try everything to not eat all the cookies. Finally, they give the cookies to the birds. They have no more cookies, but lots and lots of willpower. So, Toad goes home to bake a cake.
After all, what’s willpower without cake? (Click here to check out the story for yourself.)
All I can do is try to set a better example, right? So when I bake the weekly cake because I’m an emotional baker and I still get depressed when the kids go to their dad’s, but there’s no one there to eat it but me, I work up my willpower! I don’t eat a single piece. I do take a nibble, just to taste, but I don’t actually serve a single slice. A day later when I notice it’s half gone (even though I never actually served a slice), I realize I’ve got a problem. I can’t let them come home and see I’ve eaten half a cake myself, so I do the right thing. I make the sacrifice. Then I have no more cake, but lots and lots of willpower.
Just so we’re clear…I didn’t feed it to the birds.
It’s sad, but the best advice I can give my Roaring Mom friend is a wish for willpower. In the meantime, go buy a case of sticky notes.