Before I was a mom; there was a lot of things I said I would never do when or if I ever had kids.
All you pre-parents out there, you know what I’m talking about. You see a mom in the grocery store looking like a hot mess (or cold mess considering we live in negative-500-degrees-South Dakota) and she is scolding a little human for hurling a grocer item out of the cart. And even after the clenched-teeth scolding, wouldn’t you know it, that little human looks that mom straight in the eye and does it again. And you think to yourself, “yah, I will never allow that to happen. I will rule with an iron fist!” Or, you see a mom at the coffee shop with a girlfriend having coffee and whirling around on the floor beneath her is a hyper, disheveled child chewing on a stroller tire. The mom, seeing the chomping out of the corner of her eye, breezily ignores it. And you think to yourself, “how could she ignore such an unsanitary activity? And more importantly, why is that child so messy?” And finally, you encounter a mom with three children who are wailing incessantly because they were denied a cookie. With a roll of your eyes, you say mightily in your head, “kids shouldn’t be eating sugar anyway, I will never feed my kids sugar.”
Now, I must confess. These are real stories. And at the time, it was me. I was was the judging pre-parent in the corner eating bon-bons and tweeting on my super clean i-phone screen.
Then, I became a parent.
I no longer tweet (ridiculous use of time), my i-phone screen is practically a biohazard, and I tell you what; I rue the day that I ever judged any mom.
Especially about the sugar topic. I did, really and truly, say to myself that I would never allow my children to consume anything where the top ingredient was sugar. And for awhile, I stuck with it. I made all my daughter’s baby food, probed ingredient lists with an eagle eye, and kindly declined any sweet offered to her by those unenlightened by the “sugar equals death” mantra.
But, suddenly without warning, I was slapped with reality.
I was at the grocery store (why am I always at the grocery store?) and my once perfect, well-mannered baby was quickly becoming a far-from-delightful shopper. On that very day, she morphed into a strong-willed toddler straight before my eyes and oh, was there screaming. There was shrieking. There was no cause and there was no cure. I tried all the things my flowery discipline books told me to do. But it was hopeless.
Before long, some onlooking gawkers must have told the management about the spectacle that was my life, because all of a sudden an angel of God (also known as a store employee) came floating down Aisle Six carrying a lollipop. Tossing my embargo on sugar — and probably all my credibility as a disciplinarian — out the window, I offered that forbidden candy laced with artificial color and flavor to my daughter. And …
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Somewhere, someplace, an angel got their wings and there was momentary peace on earth. Or at least, there was peace in Aisle Six.
I had never seen my daughter’s eyes light up with such pure bliss. She looked at that lollipop with misty eyes and with just one taste, she was transformed back into that gentle child I had previously known. Better yet, there was sweet silence for the fifteen minutes that followed as she savored every taste of that poisonous concoction and I shopped in unadulterated peace.
And yes, you better bet your britches I rounded the corner to the candy aisle and bought two three-pound bags of organic lollipops for future use.
The complete ban on sugar ended that day. That doesn’t mean we are funneling sugar down her throat by any means, as it is still used and given very sparingly. But through all of this, I learned an important lesson: Never say never before you have kids and judge other moms. Because one day, it might come back to bite you in Aisle Six.