As parents, we’re constantly faced with any number of decisions that need to be made every hour, every minute, every second, of every day.
He’s tired and cranky so should I let him take a quick cat nap even though its 6:00pm and his bedtime is at 8pm, so knowing that if I do, he’ll never go to sleep on time tonight? It’s cool in the mornings and hot in the afternoon so should I put him in long-sleeves and no jacket or short-sleeves with a jacket? Do I hear a sniffle? Should I give him children’s Benadryl or Dimetapp? He’s hungry but I haven’t had a chance to cook yet so should I give him oatmeal even though yesterday he decided he hated oatmeal?? Decision after decision after decision. All. Day. Long.
A couple of days ago I was faced with a decision that made me question myself. At my son’s little daycare/school, they were celebrating Valentine’s Day. As I dropped him off, there was a little sheet of paper on the desk that asked if your child could have a cupcake to celebrate. A check yes or no kind of thing. Normally, I would have said no without any question. Hubby and I have made the decision that we won’t give our son sweets right now while he’s so young. Before you talk about me, hear me out. Both sides of our family are overweight and riddled with health issues. There is severe diabetes on my dad’s side of the family. I’ve seen firsthand the devastation of diabetes including numbness in the hands and feet, decreased immunity, declining eyesight, and decreased liver and kidney functioning that results in weekly dialysis treatments, just to name a few. I also know that many habits, good and bad, are developed and cemented during childhood. So we decided very early on to try and give our son the best start we can give him and avoid sweets. He loves pureed fruits and the occasional juice with breakfast but that’s it. So like I said, normally, I wouldn’t have let him have a cupcake and wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But…
As I perused the check yes or no sheet, I saw that every other parent checked yes. So if I decide to say no like I normally would, my son would be the only child not eating a cupcake. I thought about what that would feel like for him. To see all of his little friends being given a cupcake by the teachers and him being passed up like he did something wrong. To see all the other kids licking their fingers in glee while he was given his sippy cup as a sad substitute. He wouldn’t understand that me saying no to the cupcake was me saying yes to his future health.
So, I put my son’s social wellbeing ahead of my desires at that moment. At that moment, it would have been more harmful to deny him the cupcake. I told my husband what I did and immediately he knew why it bothered me so much. But, he too, said he would have done the same thing. Sometimes, one cupcake is just one cupcake and not the beginning of a lifetime of health issues. Sometimes it’s ok to relax the rules a bit.
Sometimes, you just have to check yes.