I Don't Let My Daughter Eat Birthday Treats At School

by Shelby
Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Shelby

It’s funny what moms go through for their littles. First it’s pregnancy, then the labor aspect, learning to feed and making sure our babes thrive, that they’re stimulated. And of course, there’s mom guilt. A living, breathing entity that will suck out your soul.

In my circle of friends, I’m the hippie mom. The DIY mom, the natural remedy mom. I’m a strength coach, nutrition coach and classic hippie. I’m the mom who sobbed the first time her three-year-old had Cheerios. I’m that mom. And truly, I’m okay with it.

Unfortunately, that mom holds herself to a ridiculously high standard of parenting. Which is really just setting up for failure.

You see, my oldest started junior kindergarten this year. It’s been a whirlwind of new experiences, but she loves it. I, however, was not loving the amount of candy and cupcakes brought through the door.

Birthdays, rewards, holidays – hell no. So in my nicest voice, I asked her teacher to print me off a list of birthdays. On birthday days, instead of my daughter getting a cupcake, I send her with special treats of her own.

Now, before everyone tells me I’m depriving her, I’m not.

We sat down, chatted about why we didn’t need cupcakes three times a week, and she understood. She’s excited about her own treats and she does get typical treats at home too. But between school and our personal celebrations it would have been nuts.

The system worked.

Until the day I forgot.

As cupcakes were being passed around, she realized she didn’t have her own cookie. The teacher, knowing I didn’t want her to have one of the normal treats, had to deal with a very upset little girl (which she handled very well and distracted her with a tasty, homemade muffin).

Courtesy of Shelby

And later on, my husband had to deal with a mama who felt horrible. Beyond horrible.

I had completely failed in the worst way. I was ostracizing my kid over a stupid little cupcake. I was making her feel un-included which was the very aspect of her starting school that I initially feared.

And so, I bawled.

After the pity party I sat my four-year-old down, apologized, hugged it out and came up with a solution. Everything worked out.

However, this mom fail is still on my mind. Why? Because it’s in our nature to find our weaknesses and poke at them.

But here’s the thing: it’s okay to fail. In failing, I taught my daughter three ultra-valuable lessons:

1. Her mom is human.

Gasp — insanity! But it’s true. We hold ourselves to high expectations because our kids do.

But our kids need to see the human side of us too. The side that’s not always prepared. The side that forgets the permission slips, the boots or the day.

Courtesy of Shelby

My little one needed to know that the reason things normally run smoothly is because I try, really hard. It’s not easy and there are slip ups.

I’m not perfect and she won’t be perfect either.

2. Even adults say “sorry.”

I think our kids believe that we set this rule just for them.

But when I brought her home that day, even though she was in a great mood by then. I sat her down and apologized. I owned up to my mistake, took the blame, and told her I was truly sorry for what happened.

Rule of life right here: it sucks to apologize. But you can’t move on until you do. It doesn’t make you weak, it means you value the relationship, and it’s okay to tell people you were wrong.

And my daughter learned that lesson that day.

3. We’re all still learning.

She’s my first babe, and I don’t have all the answers to every situation. I’m still learning how to navigate this crunchy mom world I’ve been thrown into.

Both of us could have done things differently that day, but we’re both still learning.

In a matter of minutes, my kindergarten girl was fine. We hugged it out and went on with our day. But my fail sat with me for the rest of the weekend.

The truth is, we’re going to fail sometimes. Parenting is a hard gig. But I’m a big believer that if you learn a lesson from the slip up, it wasn’t a fail, but a stumble.

No journey is smooth traveling and parenting is no different. Little does my daughter know, I learned some valuable lessons myself that day:

I could be a teeny bit less rigid on the sugar/food front. This is a work in progress and because I read so much, I think it always will be.

I learned that my daughter will be okay. That she’s super strong and while she was also very upset, she moved on. There’s more to being included than a cupcake — and her ability to not sweat the small stuff, or at least move past it quickly, is far better than mine.

I need to let her make her own choices more often. On birthdays, she’s now given the option if she wants to have her own treat from home or the standard one. So far, she’s chosen the home one 2/3 times. She knows why I strive for health and what healthy means. I need to trust her on that.

So really, my major mom fail wasn’t a fail at all. But the onset of some valuable lessons.

Mamas, mom guilt is real. It eats at you, consumes you.

But the truth is, we’re all just trying our best. We place our expectations unrealistically high and we come down hard on ourselves when we don’t meet them.

But it’s okay, Mama. It’s okay to struggle, stumble, and fall, because it’s getting back up that matters.

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