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Not an issue for a while, but.. (meat related) - Page 3

post #41 of 99
ITA, limabean. I was once the first time mother of a 4 month old, and am now the first time mother of a 26 month old who has never had any meat. I don't understand why, on this particular issue, some people (and not just here but IRL as well) expect that it's something that parents can/should compromise on--especially when to a lot of us it is a lifestyle choice based on moral or ethical considerations, as stated previously.
post #42 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I feel like this comes off as me not supporting you in eating vegetarian yourself and in feeding your child vegetarian foods. I DO support that. But you are the only vegetarian adult in her life, and if you want other adults to have important caregiving roles, then you may want to consider letting go of the control a bit.
Yeah, it does come off in that way. If you were the only GD person in your child's life, would that make it inappropriate to insist that the child not be hit? If you were the only pro-breastfeeding person in your child's life, would that make it inappropriate to insist that the child not be fed formula? As the mother of this child, OP has the right to set her own priorities and have those priorities be respected. As a first time mother, of course she may change her mind at some point. But her decisions should still be respected, and if MIL disagrees with them she should raise that issue in a respectful way.
post #43 of 99
We are not vegetarians but we seldom have meat because I only let my children eat organic meat and we are, well, poor. And we don't feed our babies any meat at all. My MIL has a problem with this but the no meat thing was dh's idea so there's that.
I do know a few people in real life who are vegetarian but their partners aren't. In all the cases that I know, the kids aren't vegetarian yet. I think that there's a good chance that they will be later.
post #44 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
I personally would be more angry if my mom gave my son a teeny piece of meat than if she took him for a 5 minute ride in the car without his seat.
Really? Even though most car accidents happen within minutes from home?

I think when you elevate philosophical issues (food, toys, tv, etc) over actual safety issues, those around you are going to not only be disdainful of your philosophies, but ignore everything else you say, too.

This is what picking your battles is all about- put the stuff that will kill your kid on the top of the list, then stuff that will injure your kid, then stuff that will emotionally harm your kid, then everything else goes below that.

Saying that you'd rather have your child put in direct physical danger over your child getting meat/ a Disney toy/ an hour of TV calls all of your choices into question by those who don't agree with your every choice.
post #45 of 99
Husband and I are religious vegetarians and so is our daughter.


All our family members know this and respect this.

I feel like this.

It goes so far beyond dietary wants. If I were Jewish and my mother who was say Mormon came in and started telling my child not to believe what we believe I would hit the roof.

For many of us, eating meat is direct violation of our spiritual beliefs.
If my mother or MIL ever acted like the OP's my daughter would never be unsupervised with her. Thank god they respect my choices.
post #46 of 99
"... but what if a family's food habits were associated with their religion? Would you think it was unrealistic for them to expect to "control" their child's adherence to those religious-based food values, at least through toddlerhood?"

I think it totally depends on the nature and extent of the dietary laws, whether or not it's a two-parent or one-parent religious conviction, and whether or not you have access to caregivers/schools/activities where your preferences will be accommodated. Where I live, only the Chabadniks keep glatt kosher and it's a huge ongoing effort. In Boro Park, I could keep glatt kosher with very minimal effort and who knows, I just might!

Again, the OP may have a conviction here that rises to the level of a religious conviction, in which case having the rule followed is more important that facilitating relationships with extended family who she doesn't trust to 100% follow the rule. But if her DH doesn't share that conviction, then she and he need to hash it out, arrive at a position and present a united front. I do not believe I could get my husband to support me in something like this, not because he's a bad guy or picks my mom over me, but because he doesn't have any dietary convictions. But if his mom was saying the n-word or something around the kids, that would be both of our hill to die on. That would be worth curtailing the relationship. Everybody has their hill to die on. I just want the OP to do some hard thinking about whether this is hers, whether she and her spouse are in accord, and whether resentment of other, unrelated MIL issues is bringing her to a fever pitch over a hypothetical.
post #47 of 99
My guess is that the mil's issue (right or wrong) with not giving the baby meat is that the baby's daddy (her son) is not a vegetarian and so she probably views keeping meat from the baby as the DIL being overly-controlling. I'm not saying that's the case but it's probably hard for her to see it as solely an ethical choice when one parent does indeed eat meat.
post #48 of 99
Ugh, I am not sure you will ever be able to avoid the comments.

My children can't have pork. Luckily, political correctness prevents most people (I assume) from commenting, but yes, we do intend to control that until they can decide themselves whether they want to be in their father's religion.

I agree fully that both parents need to be united in this.

And in my experience, the vast majority of vegetarians are vegetarians for the same reason most of us don't eat people. Now, I'm a specist, and I'm happy to eat a goat. Nonetheless, I think most people of GenX and younger understand this.

I do not think that older generations see it that way and I have only sympathy for the OP.

All I can suggest is that hopefully by three your child will be able to recognize meat, more or less, and you can explain to her that it is an animal that was once alive, so does she want to eat that?

My three-year-old seems to have stopped eating most recognizeable meat after I explained what it was. I don't mind as we eat a lot of legumes anyway. But there is a chance your own child will be able to make that decision long before eight.

(Oh, and FWIW, it's my husband's religion, Islam, that doesn't allow pork, and I choose to respect that and ask my children do as well. I do not see that as controlling. He doesn't force. He never had to ask.)
post #49 of 99
"I think when you elevate philosophical issues (food, toys, tv, etc) over actual safety issues, those around you are going to not only be disdainful of your philosophies, but ignore everything else you say, too.

This is what picking your battles is all about- put the stuff that will kill your kid on the top of the list, then stuff that will injure your kid, then stuff that will emotionally harm your kid, then everything else goes below that. "



Improper car seat use or inadequate supervision - life threatening. Spanking, CIO - emotionally damaging. Being told that mommy's going to hell because she doesn't worship Jesus - emotionally damaging.

Sharing what you eat, what do for recreation, what you believe about God with your grandchildren - for me, the benefits of all that stuff outweigh any downside. The relationship developed in that exchange is more important than maintaining absolute control over the foods, images and ideas that my toddlers take in. And the example I give of showing respect for Grandma's values is also very important.

(Again, nontoxic nonfundie safety-conscious grandparents here! And they are very respectful of any suggestions and requests I might make! That most definitely influences my viewpoint!)
post #50 of 99
OP--from the responses, you can see that you are not alone in your feelings and that your frustrations and concerns are validated by many of us who have the same/similar lifestyle choice and a couple others who do not, but can put themselves in your position. I think you have gotten some really great advice from certain posters. Have you consider x-posting this in the vegetarian/vegan forum?
post #51 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Sharing what you eat, what do for recreation, what you believe about God with your grandchildren - for me, the benefits of all that stuff outweigh any downside. The relationship developed in that exchange is more important than maintaining absolute control over the foods, images and ideas that my toddlers take in. And the example I give of showing respect for Grandma's values is also very important.
I would never put food, recreation, & religion in all the same category.
Beliefs about God are of primary importance to us and I won't go into that further since it's kind of OT. But as for food -- OK for ex., my inlaws eat almost exclusively heavily-processed-artificial-devoid of nutrient-foods. I see absolutely no reason for my DS to be exposed to kool-aid & hot dogs. What is the benefit to that? We eat food for nourishment & there's no nourishment in there... and I certainly don't want chemicals, dyes, etc. fed to my child. And yes, we 'eat' vegan (I won't say we 'are' vegan here because we aren't ethical vegans, I won't get into it but anyway...) and that's a lifestyle choice we make that we view on par with GD, no CIO, etc. My DH does eat meat but eats 100% vegan at home and is actually considering not eating meat anymore because he doesn't want to have a negative influence on our DS (though I don't think he's ready to quit altogether, he does enjoy meat quite a bit). Even though he eats meat, he feels it's very very important that DS grow up without eating meat, until he can make a fully-informed choice on the ethical & physical (health) ramifications of eating it. Sorry I am rambling... I don't understand why it's being overly controlling to say my DS can't have meat, or that he can't eat artificial colors, or whatever. I want my DS to be healthy & I want him to be raised with our beliefs, because they are vitally important to our family. We can still show respect for Grandma's values... we don't openly criticize or ridicule her food (or religion or choices etc.). We don't serve Grandma broccoli & a veggie burger, or say we're going to feed her carrots when she's not looking. We have a lot of respect for others, and part of that respect is not forcing our values on them. Doesn't the OP deserve the same respect, that MIL doesn't force her 'values' (i.e. eating meat) on her grandchild?
post #52 of 99
"I would never put food, recreation, & religion in all the same category."

I take it you are not Jewish

"I see absolutely no reason for my DS to be exposed to kool-aid & hot dogs. What is the benefit to that?"

If you don't see a benefit to your in-laws spending time with ds, preparing meals, eating together, alone without you and dh "supervising," then our values are so wildly divergent that I don't think either of us can appreciate where the other is coming from. I would sooner slap my mother or MIL across the face than tell her that the food she had prepared was not good enough for my kids. The emotional effect would probably be about the same, too, although they'd both forgive a slap a lot faster.
post #53 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I would sooner slap my mother or MIL across the face than tell her that the food she had prepared was not good enough for my kids.
But telling certain grandparents that CIO is unacceptable and will not be permitted would be like a slap in the face too -- they'd get defensive and say that's how they raised their kids and they turned out perfectly fine thankyouverymuch. And some parents who are on the fence about CIO might even say, "Oh, the occasional CIO isn't going to have any lasting damage. Isn't it more important to have a good relationship with the GPs than to stand firm on this issue?"

In our house, we eat everything including junk food, and like you, all of my kids' GPs' values are close enough to ours that we've never had to have a conflict about anything and they're all welcome to spend time alone with our kids, but I have no trouble understanding that for some people, food really is that important.
post #54 of 99
Smithie, and I mean this very gently, but I think you can have a good relationship with your inlaws and have them respect your parenting choices as well. I really don't see why the two have to be mutally exclusive.

I grew up in a large, close extended family (3-4 families in the same zipcode, and more in the same city)

I am an aunt, and older cousin to 12, an older sister, a daughter, a neice and a wife. Not exactly a grandma, but I still have great relationships with most people in my family; because I respect them, and their views, even if I don't agree with them. That means that I know that my aunt #1 kids can have chocolate, but my aunt #2's can't. And that aunt #1 follows a strict schedule, but no one else in the family. When I was a kiddo being cared for by my grandma, my same age cousins could have tea, but not me, because my dad didn't like us having caffine. My mom routinely makes special food for DS, even though I bring my own, because she respects me.

It's not difficult, it's not hard, or mean, or rude (or a slap in the face!) It's having relationships with someone based on respect-- especially with that which is most dear to them (there kids!). I say if OP's MIL values her relationship with her grandkids, she needs to start respecting her DIL's role as a mother.
post #55 of 99
Oh-- and i just want to add that my family is not very sophisticated or formal. This approximates the family dynamic that I've seen in most successful joint family(more than one brother, wife and children living together)/multigenerational households.
post #56 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
Smithie, and I mean this very gently, but I think you can have a good relationship with your inlaws and have them respect your parenting choices as well. I really don't see why the two have to be mutally exclusive.

I grew up in a large, close extended family (3-4 families in the same zipcode, and more in the same city)

I am an aunt, and older cousin to 12, an older sister, a daughter, a neice and a wife. Not exactly a grandma, but I still have great relationships with most people in my family; because I respect them, and their views, even if I don't agree with them. That means that I know that my aunt #1 kids can have chocolate, but my aunt #2's can't. And that aunt #1 follows a strict schedule, but no one else in the family. When I was a kiddo being cared for by my grandma, my same age cousins could have tea, but not me, because my dad didn't like us having caffine. My mom routinely makes special food for DS, even though I bring my own, because she respects me.

It's not difficult, it's not hard, or mean, or rude (or a slap in the face!) It's having relationships with someone based on respect-- especially with that which is most dear to them (there kids!). I say if OP's MIL values her relationship with her grandkids, she needs to start respecting her DIL's role as a mother.


I seriously am having the hardest time comprehending why certain posters are fighting so hard for the MIL to be able to feed the child meat. This is seriously beyond me. How on Earth does it affect the MIL if her GD is vegetarian? The fact of the matter is, it doesn't. If it is so difficult for the MIL to prepare foods w/o meat, I am sure the OP will be more than happy to send along prepared meals. I suppose I don't have adults (presumably in their late 40s or early 50s) in my life for whom this would be that big of a deal--it's not like OP is asking her to make CF, GF, vegan etc meals (which, btw, would also be fine, my point with that it just might be more difficult for the MIL). But seriously, it is of absolutely no consequence to the MIL to not feed the child meat. Period. And it is seriously annoying to me, and others I'm sure, to have our feelings on something so important poo poed by others.

Fine, some people don't understand it. The good thing is, you don't have to understand it. I think there are enough of us here who do that OP has gotten some really good, valid advice and won't feel invalidated, despite some PP's comments.
post #57 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
If you don't see a benefit to your in-laws spending time with ds, preparing meals, eating together, alone without you and dh "supervising," then our values are so wildly divergent that I don't think either of us can appreciate where the other is coming from.
Well I didn't say that -- DS is only 1.5 but already both sets of grandparents know what foods they can make for him. My mom is figuring out vegan ingredients so she can bake cookies with him when he's older. She & I cook veggies etc. together while DS 'helps'... He doesn't yet spend time alone with them but that's not because of the food issue. I don't have a need to 'supervise' meals as long as I can trust them not to feed him 'non-approved' foods. If they don't want to respect our family's lifestyle, they don't have to, but then no, DS wouldn't be spending time with them unsupervised. I also wouldn't let him stay with anyone who won't bring him to church on Sundays, or someone who would let him watch R-rated movies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I would sooner slap my mother or MIL across the face than tell her that the food she had prepared was not good enough for my kids. The emotional effect would probably be about the same, too, although they'd both forgive a slap a lot faster.
In some ways this makes me think that food is a lot more important in your family than it is in mine. I have been vegetarian for 15 years and it has never once interfered with me having a great relationship with my (omnivore) parents or in-laws... or my grandparents, for that matter.
post #58 of 99
Quote:
I am an aunt, and older cousin to 12, an older sister, a daughter, a neice and a wife. Not exactly a grandma, but I still have great relationships with most people in my family; because I respect them, and their views, even if I don't agree with them. That means that I know that my aunt #1 kids can have chocolate, but my aunt #2's can't. And that aunt #1 follows a strict schedule, but no one else in the family. When I was a kiddo being cared for by my grandma, my same age cousins could have tea, but not me, because my dad didn't like us having caffine. My mom routinely makes special food for DS, even though I bring my own, because she respects me.

It's not difficult, it's not hard, or mean, or rude (or a slap in the face!) It's having relationships with someone based on respect-- especially with that which is most dear to them (there kids!). I say if OP's MIL values her relationship with her grandkids, she needs to start respecting her DIL's role as a mother.
I could have written something very similar to this! And yes, respect is a two-way street. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept that it isn't. I also come from a family (both direct and extended) where food plays a huge role, and although we are chided occasionally for our choices, I have not had one family member (either direct or extended) who have disrespected our choices. The same standard applies to me as well: I was more than glad to let my mother cook a turkey in our house when we hosted Thanksgiving. The same mother, my mother, brought about six vegan dishes that she had prepared beforehand so her "poor daughter's family could have something to eat!" I can't describe how much that meant to me! (considering that my family is so unbending in so many other respects).

The point is, my family recognizes that there are certain choices that are important to us (whether they agree with them or not), and I too must make an effort to respect their choices. That, however, doesn't mean that either has to compromise the very core of beliefs. To me, it boils down to a meeting of the minds of how one approaches certain situations. A meeting of the minds doesn't necessarily mean doing anything objectionable. It means coming to terms with the others' choices, and working around them.
post #59 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
In some ways this makes me think that food is a lot more important in your family than it is in mine.
If my mom made something I or DD or DH couldn't eat, she'd say, "Oh well," (and mean it) and we'd go scrounge for something else. It'd be such a tiny thing. In fact, it has happened, more than once. Sometimes because we're veggie, and sometimes because of food allergies. You must have a very odd family dynamic if you'd rather hit someone than refuse to eat the food they'd prepared.
post #60 of 99
"You must have a very odd family dynamic if you'd rather hit someone than refuse to eat the food they'd prepared."

I don't think the tone of judgement is necessary, but yes, I suppose that I'm coming from a place where gratitude and respect and important and expressed through eating mama/grandma's cooking at the communal table with the whole family. I can't be the only person here with an Italian MIL. To refuse her the right to choose the foods to lay out on her table would hurt her. Badly. It would call into question her competency in an area of life that she greatly values. I would eat veal before I would do that. (And I am NOT a person who eats veal.)

I don't think it's important for the OP to "allow" her child to someday eat meat, with Grandma or not, but I do think it's important for her to take the time to understand and empathize with her MILs feelings about/around food, and her husband's feelings about/around food, and her own feelings about/around food. Chicken nuggets may be a hill to die on. Are French fries? Industrially produced milk? Candy? Baked goods made with white flour? It's good to know what your issues truly are, where the line is, and whether it's YOUR issue singular or something on which the other parent supports you.

Food's an emotionally loaded commodity, is what I'm saying. It can communicate acceptance and rejection very powerfully.
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