Validate me...or tell me I'm overreacting...I just need to know - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 05-27-2012, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I have 4 yo DS. DS and I are vegetarian...always have been. Has never been a problem. Tonight we go to a party and I have to leave and come back. When I get back DS says he had a hot dog for supper and DH says "there weren't a lot of options". (which is silly because he had the option of asking the host for a slice of cheese or some peanut butter or something).

I'm irritated, upset, and pretty pissed. And I can't seem to properly express myself. Am I overreacting? I can totally hear it if I am.
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#2 of 18 Old 05-27-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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Well...I can see this happening at our house.  I'm not vegan, ftr, but I do feel pretty strongly about some things, and dh has totally not stayed on board with me.  And, I've been furious.  But, also, usually unreasonable.

 

If this is a first time thing, even if you feel your dh knows exactly how you feel, maybe a discussion of how far he's willing to go is important here?  And some concrete ideas and examples of what you'd like to do/have happen in similar scenerioes.

 

There are a few things that I really want one way or another, and dh really doesn't care, but has agreed to back me.  But, I have agreed to trust him if he makes a different call about something sometimes. 

 

It's tough, but I think this occurance might be a good springboard for conversation between you and your dh, even beyond being vegetarian. 


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#3 of 18 Old 05-27-2012, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think once I calm down I may be more able to have a discussion. I'm still pretty furious.
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#4 of 18 Old 05-28-2012, 03:46 AM
 
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A couple of facts: 

 

1. In the grand scheme of things, one hot dog every now and then will not be a problem. 

 

2. His kid too which means he gets to make dietary choices that are not yours once in a while.

 

I think you can have a fairly calm, nice conversation with your husband about how you feel. It does not sound like being a vegetarian is his choice of lifestyle. Therefore, you need him to cooperate with you but remember that you can not force him to. You can not hoist your personal choice on him. 

 

This is how I see it. If my spouse got upset because I gave OUR child a hot dog, my reaction will be to quickly remind him that he is MY child too and I get to make decisions however I see fit on something like a random hot dog.

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#5 of 18 Old 05-28-2012, 10:44 AM
 
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2. His kid too which means he gets to make dietary choices that are not yours once in a while.

 

 

 

I can definitely understand being upset, but I have to agree with what Emaye said above. This is something I've struggled with too--I'm a vegetarian while DH is not, which means we have to compromise when it comes to DS (who's 2.) I do most of the cooking, which means we eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but once in awhile, DH will cook meat, or ask me to (which I'm ok with) and DS will eat some. I'd prefer that DS was raised strictly veg, but I also understand that I have to compromise, because he's OUR son. Also, I realize that in a couple years, DS may decide that he loooves meat, and even if I share my beliefs/ethics with him, he may decide to follow a different path than mine. I have to be ok with that. 

 

Just some thoughts. Hopefully this can lead to a meaningful discussion between you and your hubby. 


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#6 of 18 Old 05-28-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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I would be pissed. Your anger is completely justifiable. "There weren't a lot of options" is a generic excuse that really just means "I didn't feel like trying." And there's a reason it happened when you left, not while you were present.

 

But you have to step back and ask how you'll be able to get through to your husband. Your anger is reasonable, but it might interfere with your ability to teach/negociate/communicate with your husband. Your ultimate goal here is to get your husband to respect your desire to raise your child vegetarian, right? So think... what will help him do that? How can you get through to him?

 

Perhaps he needs a reminder of your former agreement to raise the kiddo vegetarian? And/or he needs a list of easy vegetarian foods. He probably also needs you to prepare food for events like that party so he doesn't have to think at all and can just feed your child the food you prepared. And enlist the help of friends and family who are veg-positive. Encourage them to help out your hubby when he can't figure out what to feed your kiddo.

 

Or perhaps this is your husband's passive agressive way of rejecting vegetarianism. I know a lot of omni dads who have kids with veg*n moms and the omni dads often push the kids to eat animals, even if the kid doesn't want to! This is especially true for boys. The dads get worried that eating compassionately will turn their kids into effeminate wimps. If this is the issue then it can be helpful to introduce your husband to healthy, strong vegetarian men who boast about their improved health on a vegetarian diet.

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#7 of 18 Old 05-28-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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Imagining myself in your situation, yeah - I'd be majorly pissed off about that, and hurt.  Dh here has helped me negotiate finding enough vegetarian food before the kids, cooked things, and gone on to do the same for our kids despite not being vegetarian.  (I'd be pissed if anyone else gave the kids a meat hot dog too, to be fair.)  

 

 

However, not knowing your dh's role in the family-feeding routine:  

 

I'd consider: if (your dh) eats meat he may not be as knowledgeable about pulling together a vegetarian 'meal' when there aren't a lot of options.  Tips and/or practice about that would help.  Your ds might have asked or been curious about the hot dogs, your dh may have mentioned they were meat hot dogs or figured it would be like a veggie dog (assuming your ds has eaten veggie dogs) and so he'd tolerate it okay.

 

 

I would have a talk with your dh about your ds remaining vegetarian, or not, and all that.  Assuming he agreed to it out of reasons you talked about together, what has changed or what does he feel differently now about it.  I'd also consider talking to your ds about it - does he want to be vegetarian, does he want to eat things his dad eats sometimes, does he know how to make his own vegetarian choices?  (I have gone over this pretty fully with my kids, because of relatives we have who aren't knowledgeable about vegetarianism and don't always respect it - my kids know many foods to ask about or avoid or ingredients to ask about). 

 

 

Just speaking about our family, our two kids are being raised vegetarian because we both think it's an ideal foundation for healthy eating - and that's what we want to pass on.  So if/when either our children are interested in eating meat, that will become another lesson in learning about all kinds of aspects of eating meat.  If we'd had an experience like this, I'd feel blindsighted about the issue and that wouldn't have been fair.  You deserve to talk about it as a family.  

 

PP's above have some great points.  Spend some time thinking about it yourself so your conversation can end up constructive.  

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#8 of 18 Old 05-30-2012, 08:18 PM
 
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Okay.. he has never had a hot dog? Yes, yes, yes.. I think you totally CAN be upset!!!!! You need to talk about next time. I am hoping that your DH will think with you (my usual problem is I feel like the thinker and I hate that feeling). 

 

The host KNEW you guys are Veg and this happened? Really? I mean - I actually had a thai place incident where I was in between stages with my DH about food out and food at parties - DS orders chicken soup (new to veg past 2 yrs for him). DH orders this for him. His totally veg 4 yr friend asks for a bite - DH says yes and I burst out "NOOOO!" The child knew without a doubt that even though this different Thai food was different, it had meat and he does not eat animal. The friend was totally cool about it and didn't say a word. Also, my friends came over to my vegan b-day party and a different friend's daughter was not interested in all the raw food going on. I gladly made her a slice of PB on bread. So really, you might be thinking that DH wanted to be cool about the whole thing and not "put anyone out of their way." But you need to talk about the future. It will happen again - I can tell. It happens here. The best bet I have is that my DH is a animal taste lover but hates the feeling of them inside his body. I did not encourage that process with facts and guilt but I did give him tons of raw food and juice. I do give my children lots of snacks (all the time right?) but mostly in the car and in between times. You might want to try feeding them lots of great fruits and making DH (maybe) stop for a special healthy treat before you get to the party. Unless you are sure the host is going to be veg you must totally assume that the food will be meaty. I also pack extra for festivals and fair days. I would dearly love for all of us to be totally Vegetarian but I feel the relationship, the harmony, may really hurt too much if I am so eager to limit. I try to celebrate what I eat, what I bring, and when these things happen I quietly make note that my food needs to step up and be more celebrated. 

 

Saying that the hot dog made you super sad is something I would totally say! It is a @$%@$^@ hot dog! That is just about the worst first taste of animal anyway! And the 1# childhood food that is linked to cancer. I am sure all of this stuff didn't rack up in his brain at the moment, but DH should respect your wishes.. I feel.. because usually when you think long and hard, plus do lots of cooking and shopping to make everyone happy and healthy..then Bam! A hot dog moment! It is shocking. Even if you had to write it down to tell him without yelling, I would tell him. If you act casual about it or just mad but silent.. it isn't constructive. 

 

Parties are the worst thing for being veg. It makes me want to live in a commune. 


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#9 of 18 Old 05-30-2012, 11:42 PM
 
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2. His kid too which means he gets to make dietary choices that are not yours once in a while.

 

I try to avoid coming off as controlling B**** mom. Asking my husband nicely to consider other options in the future would be the most respectful response I can think of. 

 

As far as being upset with the host  (I don't know if you are, but I've seen references to that in the responses)...you took your kid to someone else's house and you didn't bring special food along and you expected them to accommodate your food preferences? I NEVER go to food events without food in hand unless I have specifically been told there will be food we can eat there. I don't see any way that it is gracious, or even okay, to expect everyone to cater to your diet. And to take a child someplace without a food plan doesn't sit right by me. 


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#10 of 18 Old 06-01-2012, 10:48 PM
 
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This is how I see it. If my spouse got upset because I gave OUR child a hot dog, my reaction will be to quickly remind him that he is MY child too and I get to make decisions however I see fit on something like a random hot dog.

 

I'm curious if you are a vegetarian? Because sometimes it's hard to empathize with somebody's position when you're not a part of their group, but replace the words "hot dog" with . . . "spanking" or "cigarette" or "Satanic bible" or whatever other choice you might feel strongly about, and maybe it becomes more clear why one would be upset.

 

I'm assuming that anyone raising a child in a partnership, who has made it 4 years into parenting together, has had a conversation about food choices. If they decided that the son would be raised vegetarian (for now), then I think the OP is absolutely 100% completely and justifiably right to be mad. I would feel incredibly betrayed by my parter's lack of consideration. 

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#11 of 18 Old 06-02-2012, 07:44 AM
 
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Ummm..yes I would be furious.  We have the same situation, the kids and I are veg, dp is not (though we do eat fish, see below for clarification :) ) What I would be angry about is not just hte hot dog itself, but the feeling that your dh went behind your back and did it without discussing it.  Dp does not necessarily agree with being vegetarian, but we have talked about it and come to a compromise that the kids can eat fish and can choose to eat meat once they are old enough to decide-but that it has to be "good" meat (i.e. free range, hormone free, etc.)  Hot dogs, fast food, etc. are so not on that list. 

 

I assume that in the 4 years of your child's life, you guys have had many discussions about this topic and it is not cool for him to just go ahead and make a unilateral decision about something he knows you feel very strongly about, no matter what part of parenting it falls under.  Yes, he is the dad and can make decisions about his child too, but if one parent feels strongly about it, I think it is reasonable for both parents to discuss and, if possible/appropriate, come to a compromise, not just go ahead and feed them the hot dog and then act like it wasn't their fault/no big deal/etc. 

 

Good luck OP!


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#12 of 18 Old 06-05-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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I can definitely understand being upset, but I have to agree with what Emaye said above. This is something I've struggled with too--I'm a vegetarian while DH is not, which means we have to compromise when it comes to DS (who's 2.) I do most of the cooking, which means we eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but once in awhile, DH will cook meat, or ask me to (which I'm ok with) and DS will eat some. I'd prefer that DS was raised strictly veg, but I also understand that I have to compromise, because he's OUR son. Also, I realize that in a couple years, DS may decide that he loooves meat, and even if I share my beliefs/ethics with him, he may decide to follow a different path than mine. I have to be ok with that. 

 

 

 

I'm glad this discussion is here, and I am in a similar situation to and feel similarly to Gitanamama. Our son is 2 also, been vegetarian up til now, and just a couple weeks ago DH, when I wasn't there, gave DS a bite of Frikadelle (it's like a homemade hamburger which my MIL had cooked, we were at her house). We had a HUGE fight about it later and although we "made up", this issue has not been resolved. But I agree that sooner or later DS is going to make his own choice and I will not stop him if he chooses to eat meat. So I knew this day was coming and I was frankly amazed he was veg for 2 whole years seeing as DH and his family and our entire culture (we are in Germany) are very meat-centric. Luckily our DS didn't like it and didn't ask for more, but DH would've given him the whole darn thing had he. Luckily I do all the cooking in this house and my in-laws are pretty respectful and don;t offer him meat.

 

Anyway OP I totally would be pissed, I was pissed when a similar thing happened to me recently and I know how hard this is. I wish I had better advice for you, but seeing as my partner and I struggle with this I don't have much to offer but sympathy. Good luck!


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#13 of 18 Old 06-10-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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I'm curious if you are a vegetarian? Because sometimes it's hard to empathize with somebody's position when you're not a part of their group, but replace the words "hot dog" with . . . "spanking" or "cigarette" or "Satanic bible" or whatever other choice you might feel strongly about, and maybe it becomes more clear why one would be upset.

 

 

I guess I kind of see this as the crux of the issue.  On a list of things important to you, how important are your dietary choices?  How strongly DO you feel about this?  I think you need to communicate to your hubby, if you haven't already, just exactly how important being a vegetarian is to you.  I have been a vegetarian for 14 years and have been raising DS as a vegetarian too.  DH isn't technically a vegetarian, but RARELY ever eats meat (maybe a few times a year).  I, personally, wouldn't be happy about DS eating a hot dog, but I certainly wouldn't be as mad about the hot dog as if he had given him a cigarette or satanic literature or spanked him or something.  For me, being a vegetarian is important, but not smoking or spanking is a HUGE deal to me.  I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons that to a large extent, DH shares as well.  I would view his blatent disregard for the moral code I live my life by and am trying raise my child by as being very disrespectful.  Having said that, DS is his child too, and even if I don't like it, he does get to make some decisions that I won't necessarily always agree with (assuming they aren't harmful).  I have a hard time believing that ONE hot dog is going to cause any harm to your child.  So, in that respect, I think i disagree with some of the other posters that said they would be livid.  I don't think you have a right, as a member of a team, to be soooooo angry at something that is a legitimate life choice, even if you don't agree with it.  And eating meat is a life choice just like being a vegetarian is.  Again, though, I would still be pissed.  It sounds like he was just being lazy and kind of a jerk to snub strongly held beliefs like that.  Ultimately though, you need to be judicious about the battles that you pick.  If it were me, I would probably let him know how much it hurt me, (and I would require an apology and an "I'll never do it again" promise) and move on with my life.  Don't let this hurt your relationship.  And pack DS a bag of snacks to take over to guests houses for future use smile.gif.


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#14 of 18 Old 06-12-2012, 07:13 PM
 
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Hi there.  I was just drawn in by your title--"Validate me or tell me I'm overreacting", but it turns out that this is a post that I can totally relate to.  I'm the dad and my wife and I are vegetarian, so we're raising our son vegetarian.  We're usually on the same page, but I'm more strict than she is--no gelatin for him, etc.  So if something like this ever happened, it would be a big, big issue.  You're not overreacting.  

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#15 of 18 Old 07-03-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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I could see letting it slide if it was a healthy piece of chicken or fish, but a hot dog of all things? even meat eaters shouldn't be eating those.

 

careful not to make too big a deal of this around DS, lest you turn nonveg food into a coveted secret treat for he & dad to share.

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#16 of 18 Old 07-06-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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Hi there.  I was just drawn in by your title--"Validate me or tell me I'm overreacting", but it turns out that this is a post that I can totally relate to.  I'm the dad and my wife and I are vegetarian, so we're raising our son vegetarian.  We're usually on the same page, but I'm more strict than she is--no gelatin for him, etc.  So if something like this ever happened, it would be a big, big issue.  You're not overreacting.  

 

Molepoblano, this was interesting to me, because we're in exactly the same boat here -- DH is a new vegetarian, and I've been one for 15 years, and we're raising our kiddos veg, but I tend to be a little less strict about some food additives (lard, gelatin, rennet, etc.) while DH will avoid them for himself and prefers that we avoid them with the kids.    We haven't really had much conversation about this (as I said, it's a fairly new lifestyle for DH), but I've been thinking lately that I should really work on eliminating some of these things from mine & kids' diets, since DH would prefer to avoid them.  

 

OP, I would totally be pissed about the hot dog, because it does sound to me like your DH is being sneaky about slipping your DS meat when you aren't looking.  "There weren't a lot of options" is never a good reason to eat meat, IMO, and that's kind of a lame excuse.  If your DH wants to give your DS meat to eat, then you need to talk it over together before he does it!  


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#17 of 18 Old 07-06-2012, 07:04 AM
 
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You definitely have a right to be upset!!!  I'm not a vegetarian, but whenever my husband does something with the children that I don't agree with without consulting me it really feels offensive.  Also, to have to hear it from your son, and not from your husband first...that would also be hurtful, because I would feel as though something had been deliberately done behind my back.  These are two things that I would try to explain to him when you are ready to have a conversation.  

In the grand scheme of things--it will all be ok, and your husband didn't really do anything that most husbands aren't guilty of.  And, furthermore, he will probably do it again and again and again (not necessarily with meat but with roller coasters or high-fructose corn syrup or letting him drive the car when he's 11...whatever) because often men are "just that way."  

While I totally get your frustration and feelings of betrayal, there's a part of me that has learned that this kind of frustration is futile.  I think part of this hot-dog incident is just "a boy thing", as someone else had posted.  He probably thought that it would be neat for the boys to just have a wiener together at a picnic like real men do--and I don't think that the symbolism of wieners and guys is just ironic either.  But that is all just a characteristic about husbands and their sons which will likely happen more and more as your son gets older--men don't bond by talking like we do.  They bond through shared experiences like "eatin' hot dogs at picnics", building things, or "havin' a cold brew at the baseball game".  Whatever it is, they rarely talk...they just get closer through doing.  And often those events that they share get a little bit naughtier as the boys get older.  Better, however, that boys get a little bit naughty with their dads where things are under control rather than doing it by themselves or missing out on the whole paternal experience together!!  

 

Anyway, try not to talk to your husband until you can calm down about the whole thing or none of the things that need to get said will come out.  You have a right to be upset and, if you say it to him carefully and without anger, he'll hear it a thousand times better.  At least you have a bunch of sisters here online who can get upset at him with you until you're ready to use your nice words ;)

I hope you're feeling a little bit better after reading some good responses!!
 

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#18 of 18 Old 07-20-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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Any update, OP?  I don't know if you've figured out the details of your DH's motivation (whether it is about rejecting vegetarianism, mistaken ideas about masculinity, or just social pressures) but I, too, would be furious.  I agree with others that say that energy isn't going to get you anywhere, though - I hope you've had time to talk to him on a (slightly) calmer level to figure out what's up.

 

I do think that taking a backseat to your vegetarianism at home is alot different from having to leave his comfort zone to support it in public.  To him, it may feel like waving a banner for something he doesn't really believe in.  And in a social situation, that may be really uncomfortable for him - to have to say something to other parents about it, not knowing what they might think or say, or whether other kids at the party might think it's weird and isolate DS.  It's easier for someone who IS vegetarian to ask about other options, etc., because we believe in our choices, and have loads of reasons and responses for others who raise an eyebrow.  But he may not have that and need help (i.e., some lines he can toss out there, or facts to back it up).  

 

It's also FAR easier, as others have said, for a vegetarian to scan party food and concoct something resembling a balanced meal from a bunch of random appetizers.  We're used to it, especially in social situations.  For alot of people, if it's not a "meal" food, it won't count (hence the classic, "But...what DO you eat???" from others).  Is it possible he was more afraid of not feeding DS a real "meal" than of feeding him meat?  If so, he may need reassurance that you don't hate him for this one mistake, and some recognition that he was thinking about DS - but also lots of suggestions and lots of guidance on what to do in the future (including packing food).

 

Of course, this may not be the first time he's been in such a situation, and his decision to feed DS a hot dog may have been quite deliberate, I don't know. shrug.gif


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