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Not an issue for a while, but.. (meat related) - Page 4

post #61 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I would eat veal before I would do that. (And I am NOT a person who eats veal.)
Yes but why don't you eat veal? Is it the taste, texture or some other reason? Surely it's not b/c of a philosophical or moral objection, so this antecdote is inappropriate to the issue.

I think you're giving OP's MIL a little bit too much credit. I think it's pretty clear that she, specifically, isn't interested in feeding the daughter meat (or preparing some special, much labored over meal that contains meat) out of some great sense of love or wanting to express her love through food. It is quite clearly a power struggle. Otherwise, she wouldn't be snarky and would approach the issue in a mature fashion.
post #62 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
"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.
Smithie: please first understand that I totally know where you are coming from. I have a Jewish/German background and I live in an area of Brooklyn that is, let's say, predominately Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Jewish, Russian, Polish, Egyptian and everything in between (which is only possible in Brooklyn!). I have never encountered, either neighbors or friends or family, who have exhibited any distress in the area of food choices. In fact, most of my contacts, either familial or non-direct, celebrate food in a much different way. Food, while important, is secondary to the celebration. While it is food that brings us together, it is the experience of being together that is paramount. Now, on the other hand, there is the issue of healthy appetite and cleaning one's plate. To snub a good pasta dish, well, that's a different story.
post #63 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
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.
No judgment. Heaven only knows I've got my fair share of dysfunctional family dynamics. I do think that you need to recognize that if indeed this is such an important issue for your family, that is not true for all/most families. I think that most people are able to recognize that others may have varying tastes, preferences, allergies, and other dietary restrictions. In most families people express their gratitude and respect in other ways, and I didn't see anything in OP's posts indicating that her MIL is coming from this perspective.
post #64 of 99
"Yes but why don't you eat veal? Is it the taste, texture or some other reason? Surely it's not b/c of a philosophical or moral objection, so this antecdote is inappropriate to the issue."

Actually, I DO have a moral objection to veal. It's just that I have a greater moral objection to criticizing the food laid out in front of me, or teaching my children that such criticism is socially acceptable. I'd never force a child to eat anything offered to them in another house (family or not), but I also wouldn't interpose myself between hostess and child for anything less than an allergy. I am not invested in controlling what my children ingest when they are being served by somebody other than myself. And I don't think that's dysfunctional - I think it is HIGHLY functional and saves everybody involved a good deal of hassle. Me most of all.

But that's not the ONLY functional approach, which is why I suggested that the OP "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."

You can't GET what you want, until you really KNOW what you want and what the other parties involved want and how that can all be pulled together into a negotiated truce. We're assuming that MIL is an ogre, DH is ineffective in dealing with her and the OP is a beleaguered saint. That approach helps no one, and certainly doesn't help the OP's dd, who deserves to have a strong relationship with her father's loved-and-respected mother. That's only going to happen in OP and her husband change how THEY are acting. MIL, as some have already pointed out, is not a parent and is not ultimately in charge - which sort of limits her ability to take the lead in establishing a healthy family food culture, which I'm going to broadly define as "not having an ongoing power struggle over food."

Several PPs have pointed out that they are part of healthy family food cultures where they are able to impose dietary restrictions without giving offense or being circumvented. It's certainly possible, but I'm sure that if you're starting from a place where your relatives just.doesn't.get.it., there's some work to be done to get there. It's work that's worth doing IMNSHO, so that a baby today isn't a toddler getting negative, conflicting messages about food a few years from now.
post #65 of 99
ooh. That situation would burn me up!
I'm not a veg*n, but i have been. we farm, so the meat thing isn't really going to be an issue.
however, to me, it doesn't sound like a meat/veg issue. it sounds like a disrespect and manipulation issue. You make choices for your child. Your mil made choices for her child, and she's done. She needs to listen to you and respect whatever you ask. The bacon-y jibes are over the line, as is the implied secrecy, which only serves to make you uneasy-- i don't see how that sort of comment could be interpreted in any other way except for a passive aggressive way of telling you she intends to do things you disagree with.
I would just straight up say to her that you will not allow unsupervised time with your child if she is unwilling to respect your choices both physically and verbally. Tell her that you expect her to enforce YOUR rules and not hers. Tell her this in such a way that there is no animosity nor any room for argument, just in an A = B sort of way. I wouldn't play those games, because if you open the door to that behavior that's what you will get for the REST of the time.
post #66 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Several PPs have pointed out that they are part of healthy family food cultures where they are able to impose dietary restrictions without giving offense or being circumvented. It's certainly possible, but I'm sure that if you're starting from a place where your relatives just.doesn't.get.it., there's some work to be done to get there. It's work that's worth doing IMNSHO, so that a baby today isn't a toddler getting negative, conflicting messages about food a few years from now.
ITA. I guess that's precisely why I am so confused by your strategy. I don't get how seeing you eat something that you don't like and that you have a moral objection to for fear of offending another person helps your children to develop healthy attitudes about food.
post #67 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
ITA. I guess that's precisely why I am so confused by your strategy. I don't get how seeing you eat something that you don't like and that you have a moral objection to for fear of offending another person helps your children to develop healthy attitudes about food.
or even healthy attitudes about their extended family.

I don't know why I'm so bothered by your posts, Smithie. Honestly, I feel that you are saying that those of us who adhere to food restrictions (or restrictions of any sort) are doing so at the cost of our children's relationship with our parents (or other relatives).

It really hits home, because I very much value extended family relationships. But, I have seen in my own home, what happens when someones role as mother or wife is not respected. It's a recipe for disaster.
post #68 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post

I don't know why I'm so bothered by your posts, Smithie. Honestly, I feel that you are saying that those of us who adhere to food restrictions (or restrictions of any sort) are doing so at the cost of our children's relationship with our parents (or other relatives). .
to this and no5no5

I'm going to just be done with this thread after this b/c I think OP has gotten enough valuable advice and words of comfort from those of us who have been in similar situations, but I just want to give OP one last . You are completely justified in your feelings and know that I, too, would not leave my child unsupervised with someone who joked about giving them meat. I think hildare had a great way to deal with it, but if you are uncomfortable being so blunt about it, I would definitely talk to your husband and ask him to speak gently to his mother about how uncomfortable that makes you (hopefully BOTH of you so you don't come off like the "crazy" DIL) and she needs to respect the choices you've made for your family.
post #69 of 99
"I don't know why I'm so bothered by your posts, Smithie. Honestly, I feel that you are saying that those of us who adhere to food restrictions (or restrictions of any sort) are doing so at the cost of our children's relationship with our parents (or other relatives)."

I truly to do think that the OP and her husband are headed down that road, of valuing extremely strict adherence by their child to a lifestyle choice made by one of them over healthy extended family relationships. I think that's a bad idea nine times out of ten. I tend to agree with PPs that this is not really about food. It's about people not valuing each other's roles in the life of the child they all love, and I think that all three members of this triad are doing less than they could be to create a healthy extended family dynamic.

This family has a lot of time and space to work things out before there's any real question of Grandma preparing meals for grandkid, but this enthusiastic chorus of "she is dissing you! Restrict access! You are the parent and The One right Way is for you to make all the choices 100% of the time, present or absent, in your home or in somebody else's home!" bothers ME. I think it fans the flames of a hypothetical conflict between two women who shouldn't be fighting, and disappears the dad, without whom a lasting peace deal cannot be brokered. The OP feels attacked. MIL probably feels attacked, too. Dad feels caught in the middle.

OP can't change MIL's approach, but she CAN change her own approach. That doesn't mean giving up on raising a vegan kid if that's truly where her heart lies, but it DOES mean she needs to start caring about the feelings and perceptions of the other party here, rather than waiting for her to "go senile" so that she won't be bothered by her any more. The woman who did a good job raising your husband is not disposable, even if she is imperfect.

It doesn't concern me that the OP wants veto power every bite that goes into her child's mouth. To each her own. It bothers me that she apparently values that control at 100% and having a good relationship with her husband's mother at 0%, and that nobody but me has suggested that she do the work with her husband and with MIL to get to the point where they have an agreed-up set of standards for child-related issues that everybody can live with. It might not work, but that doesn't mean that it's not the central problem here. I really think it is. She'd be just as happy if MIL ceased to exist tomorrow, and MIL probably feels the same way about her. That's no way to live.
post #70 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
It doesn't concern me that the OP wants veto power every bite that goes into her child's mouth. To each her own. It bothers me that she apparently values that control at 100% and having a good relationship with her husband's mother at 0%, and that nobody but me has suggested that she do the work with her husband and with MIL to get to the point where they have an agreed-up set of standards for child-related issues that everybody can live with. It might not work, but that doesn't mean that it's not the central problem here. I really think it is. She'd be just as happy if MIL ceased to exist tomorrow, and MIL probably feels the same way about her. That's no way to live.
I think you should go back and reread this thread, if that is the impression you got. I got the impression that OP very much wanted MIL to be a part of her child's life and that that was non-negotiable. I read many people's responses, my own included, as advising that she focus on improving the relationship dynamics in her family. Obviously we have different ideas of what constitutes a healthy relationship with the grandparents of one's children, but I don't think that you can fairly take credit for being the only one who recognizes that there is a problem that this family should work on.
post #71 of 99
Fair enough. Maybe I've gotten too hung up on one phrase typed in the heat of anger.
post #72 of 99
Quote:
I have a greater moral objection to criticizing the food laid out in front of me
What if it was people? Like, a human head?

Because moral vegetarianism is for many based on the belief that all animals deserve the same reverence we accord people, at least with respect to whether or not they may be killed for food.

Do you believe it's wrong for Jews and Muslims to politely decline pork or other non-kosher or non-halal foods? ("Thank you, I do appreciate it, but I really can't. The salad looks fantastic.")

I think that you are really not taking the vegetarian ethic very seriously. You will see that I argue very much for grandparent's rights, even to feed candy, watch TV, etc. but I also think that asking someone to abandon their parent's philosophical beliefs or religion is just not right.

And I do think that is probably where the grandparents here are not getting the point either. They simply do not and can not understand the moral objection to eating meat, that it's not like, "Oh, don't hurt a cow!" when life is full of pain and vegetarians know that.

It's something much different, an entirely different way of looking at animal life.
post #73 of 99
"What if it was people? Like, a human head?"

Actual (Catholic) and symbolic (Protestant) cannibalism is a pretty common thing, actually, and something I don't partake of because I'm not a Christian. Nor do I criticize it. Would I stop my kids from doing it? Probably not - I certainly wouldn't rudely interrupt a religious service to keep them from munching on what I regard as a piece of bread! - but I wouldn't think much of the person who offered the Eucharist to a Jewish six-year-old. It wouldn't bother ME, but it would surely be offensive to the other Christians present!

(I know that isn't what you're talking about, you're thinking more along the lines of a grisly severed head, and I honestly can't tell you how I'd react to that. Nobody has ever served me or my kids a head. But I don't have an inherent moral opposition to eating the dead flesh of any animal. The cannibalism taboo is a cultural more.)

The kosher issue is something that's very much present in my life, and I am strongly opposed to strict kosher observance. I think it promotes insularity and intolerance - once you take it too far, you and your kids literally cannot eat in the home of anybody outside of your own sect - not even other Jews. I don't observe strict kashrut, and I don't accommodate it. Nor do I attempt to force people to eat pork. Not am I forced by others to eat pork.

Anybody who's presenting their veganism the way the Orthodox present their kashrut is going to get a hostile reaction from me. But you know what? In all my years of adult life, I have never met a single vegan who copped that kind of attitude or criticized the food I was serving. It hasn't happened once. Vegans are easy to feed. Half the time they start by bringing their own food, and then once they get to know you enough to trust you not to feed them lard-fried beans, you know THEM well enough to have a short mental list of things you should provide. I don't know how seriously is "seriously enough" to taken veganism, but I certainly take it seriously enough to be able to accommodate it without calling attention to my vegan guest.

OP, we are now ranging widely from your original issue.
post #74 of 99
Catholics are not cannibals. This is a misunderstanding of the Eucharist & transubstantiation. Out of the scope of this thread but I just wanted to point that out.
post #75 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
"What if it was people? Like, a human head?"



(I know that isn't what you're talking about,

No, not at all. I'm saying, presumably, you find it ethically repugnant to kill people for food, and vegetarians, in the same way (well, some of them) find it equally repugnant to kill other animals for food.

Quote:

Anybody who's presenting their veganism the way the Orthodox present their kashrut is going to get a hostile reaction from me.


Why? Because you don't view philosophical vegetarianism as a "real" religion like Judaism?

I don't get this. I think you just don't take vegetarians seriously.

What about a Buddhist or Hindu? Would you let THEM raise their kids vegetarians?

You keep going back to "lifestyle". Vegetarianism is not a lifestyle for many. It's a choice based on ethical beliefs about what kind of beings animals are, and how we ought to treat animals and other kinds of sentient beings.

How many tens or hundreds or thousands of years does vegetarianism have to be in the family before you can accept it?

I find your views on philosophical / ethical vegetarianism quite bigoted. Something not need be codified in a major religion to be a serious belief worthy of respect!
post #76 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Why? Because you don't view philosophical vegetarianism as a "real" religion like Judaism?
Actually she just said she was very opposed to strictly keeping kosher. So that means that her treating vegetarianism the same way *is* giving it tons of respect. Just not in the way you want her to.
post #77 of 99
"I'm saying, presumably, you find it ethically repugnant to kill people for food, and vegetarians, in the same way (well, some of them) find it equally repugnant to kill other animals for food."

Oh, OK. I didn't get that.

That's an interesting question.

If somebody sat down at a table, saw the roasted haunch of murdered Uncle Fred on the carving platter, and jumped up shrieking "You people are monsters!" I'd be in total sympathy with that. I would also run screaming from the room.

The same scenario with the Thanksgiving turkey? I'd think, "Wow, what a UAV. Who invited that jerk to dinner?" and then I'd eat my turkey.

If that means that I don't respect the beliefs of people who consider animal murder to be the moral equivalent of human murder, OK. But I have NEVER met a vegetarian or vegan who has in any way indicated that they believe that. Ever. EVER. I have, in fact, never been treated with anything but the greatest courtesy by non-meat-eaters who were trying to figure out how to share the social experience of eating with my omnivorous family.
post #78 of 99
I think comparing ethical vegetarianism to religious dietary restrictions is a bit off base. Making an ethical choice to not eat animals really should be compared to other ethical choices we might make for our children. For example if I chose not to dress my child in clothing made in sweat shops. Or if my child only could have fair trade toys. These are wonderful choices, but would it be worth ruining my and my child's relationship with their grandparent if they continued to buy gifts of clothing and toy that didn't meet my ethical standards. Obviously you don't want to compromise on things that could do emotional or physical harm to your child, but this isn't the case here. Also I think the grandmother is probably pushing on this issue so hard because she feels judged. When someone vehemently argues that her child won't eat meat on moral/ethical grounds, it seems pretty easy to interpret that as "And we are morally superior to you because you have not chosen that path." I'm not saying the OP is being judgmental, but I surely can see how the MIL might interpret it that way. Also it is interesting to me that obviously both parents don't see eye to eye on the moral/ethical implication of eating meat. So it seems odd to me that the path of greatest restriction was taken rather than least restriction. Now in all fairness I'll admit that I don't see dietary issues in absolutes. I try to buy humanely raised meat when we can afford it. I feed my family mostly homecooked healthy food. But my attitude for my kids has always been when in Rome, do as the Romans. So if Nana wants to take my kid for a Happy Meal, big deal. And even if we got to the point where all our food was locally grown/produced and all meat was humanely raised (which is an eventual goal for us) I wouldn't complain about the occasional factory farmed steak that the kids might eat at the grandparents house. I suppose if I really felt that eating animals was on par with eating people or murder in general I might feel different. Of course if I honestly felt it was the moral equivalent of murdering people, than I don't think I would be able to maintain my relationships with non-vegetarians because I know I couldn't be friends with actual murderers.
post #79 of 99
I see this issue as equivalent to the decision to breastfeed rather than formula feed. I can't imagine anyone on the MDC boards responding with an "Oh, well, when in Rome" to a situation in which a mother who had chosen to exclusively breastfeed was dealing with a MIL who was joking about sneaking her baby a bottle of formula. Sure, the MIL may feel that formula is healthier. Sure, she may feel that the mother is judging her for using formula with her kids. Sure, she may honestly believe that it would be better if the mother just stopped breastfeeding and used formula instead. But none of that can possibly excuse the kind of behavior the OP has posted about.
post #80 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
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.
But, why does only mama/grandma deserve respect? If someone deliberately cooks something for me that he/she knows I don't eat - especially if I don't eat it for ethical or health reasons (ie. not just being "picky"), they're not treating me with any respect. Why on earth would they expect me to show them the "respect" of eating it? This makes no sense to me at all.

The OP's MIL is being really disrespectful of their choices about their parenting and their diet. I don't see any reason why the OP should respect her MIL's disrespect. I also can't see any reason to be grateful for the "I'm going to feed you stuff your parents don't want you to have as soon as I can pull it off behind their backs" type of attitude.

And, I say all this as someone who isn't even remotely vegetarian, has never even considered being vegetarian and whose family eats meat at almost every dinner.
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