I had an interesting conversation the other night. Pretty much the same conversation I’ve had with quite a few mums.
The conversation around “I took the kids to Maccas because I couldn’t be bothered cooking” conversation. I never intend for it to happen, but it usually comes out at some point that I/we never grab Maccas for dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast for that matter. Or anywhere in between.
We’re not restricted to Maccas, either. We don’t do fast food takeaways – whether its Hungry Jacks, KFC, Red Rooster … and whatever the others are.
These conversations go one of two ways.
The first is usually “You’re such a great mum” and all kinds of talk about how “good” I must be, because I will cook up a meal (I use the term loosely in some cases!) rather than resort to drive though, subsequently leading to the other party a) berating themselves along lines of “I’m such a bad mum doing that” and “wish I could do ….” etc etc and/or b) justifying why they haven’t gone home and cooked, or chose a “healthier option”
The other, much rarer, direction of conversation is how I’m a “bad” mum and things along the lines of depriving them of a “treat”, or making life hard on myself. Ultimately, this one also ends up in justification of why they’ve gone the fast food option. Although the focus is now on the kids, special treat etc etc, rather than the “I just don’t have time” argument.
Now, before anyone gets on their high horse about feeling judged for utilising these outlets, let me explain a few things.
First up, personally, I don’t care what you do for dinner and there is no need to feel as though you need to justify it to me. The only reason it comes up that I don’t purchase from these places is because people say “have you tried the blah” or mention something about the latest toy in the latest Happy Meal, and I have to honestly say I don’t, because … well, I have no clue.
My not going to these places is not first and foremost to do with Brazilian rainforests, the environment, the slaughter (tasty, tasty slaughter) of animals or any kinds of socially responsible high-horsing.
It’s not about the obesity epidemic (although that is of great concern to me and something I’m extremely passionate about), the modes of advertising of these companies, the ethical or unethical practices, or anything like that.
I understand and appreciate the convenience and time saving it offers. I understand why people use these outlets.
First and foremost for me, is the food.
I am, and I’ve said it before, a self-confessed food snob. My only regret is I wish I were more of one, and spent time with some of the greats learning more about food.
I. Love. Food.
Mostly, I love nice food.
Having spent time as a personal trainer for many years, specifically in the area of obesity, and having a fundamental understanding of how food works in the body, I learnt to enjoy and appreciate food.
I don’t consider “food” from fast food outlets as “food” in some cases. And definitely not “good” in all cases. Barely mediocre.
Basically, if I’m going to stuff anything in my face – and I do a fair bit of face stuffing – I want it to be great!
If I’m going to significantly up my caloric intake and add a couple of extra fat cells to my bum and thighs, I want it to be worth it! I want to enjoy every moment of it. Savour it.
And like every “good” mother – like when Mum is cold, everyone has to put on a jumper – if I don’t like the food, there’s no chance in Hell I’m going to take my kids to eat it.
That’s not to say we don’t ever have takeaway, and that sometimes we don’t “slum it” (my words, for my family).
But, man, am I regretful afterwards if it tastes even remotely crap.
What a waste of calories!
I also won’t say “never” go to these places either, because that would be a lie. We have (very rarely) fallen into the promise of quick and easy, toilets and play areas, not cooking and not spending a fortune. Then not eating half of it and spending the next half hour discussing how we won’t be doing that again!
This is, of course, all about personal preference, not about good mothering, bad mothering, mediocre mothering or just mothering generally. To be honest, I really, really don’t understand why anyone purchases “food” from these establishments.
I also don’t get why people eat mushrooms – bathroom fungus, as far as I