DISCLAIMER: I was not paid to write the post by Babble or McDonald’s. My words are strictly my opinion and not those of Babble or McDonald’s.
This month I am working with McDonald’s, serving as a paid event hostess for a Mom’s Nutrition Workshop in Chicago. It’s has me thinking a lot about my kids, their health and what I believe to be my truth in parenting them. There is no denying that McDonald’s plays a part in fond memories of childhood for my kids. When I asked them to describe cherished everyday moments of childhood, outside of birthdays and holidays, they mentioned reaching for the clouds from park swingsets on hot Summer days, road trips to hotels with integrated waterparks, waking up to notes and money from the toothfairy, and surprise trips to McDonalds for the latest Happy Meal complete with a toy. The golden arches are just synonymous with happiness and childhood. A treat that brings with it a smile. However, in the last decade though McDonald’s has experienced a lot of backlash in the wake of the childhood obesity epidemic and general expanding waistlines of American society. With the advent of social media there has been visible push back, not only against the company, but against parents who speak positively about the fast food chain.
If you know anything about me you know that I am a huge advocate for increasing the health and well being of children and their parents. As a mother of three children myself I am intimately aware of the struggle it can be day to day to meet the nutritional and nurturing needs of our children. But I don’t evaluate my children’s nutrition by bites, I evaluate the totality of what they consume in a day. Because childhood is a compilation of moments that should be healthy, but I believe they should also feel good, smell good, look good and yes, taste good. And I don’t feel the need to apologize to anyone for believing that, nor should you. Funny thing, I have had the same amount of people turn their nose up at me for not allowing my children to have soda on a regular basis as I have had people argue with me about my feeding my kids McDonald’s on occasion. It’s crazy what we criticsize each other for. I would rather have parenting partners because life is too short and parenting is too hard for the alternative. That’s why my loyalty lies with brands that I feel are taking ME into account not just what they can get from my wallet. I feel strongly that McDonalds is just that, a parenting partner.
Look, I don’t expect my tennis shoes to take care of my black tie dress needs, nor do I expect McDonald’s to be my fine dining. It’s fast food, plain and simple. But as a fast snack, an occasional treat, or quick meal on a harried day, it’s fine. It’s up to me to make sure that I balance out the rest of my days’ nutrition with the other meals and snacks that I decide to ingest, or feed to my kids. It’s up to me to compliment my McDonald’s choices with the right amount of protein, carbs, veggies and fruit in the course of my day. It’s up to ME. Yes, the golden arches are world famous and can be seen for miles, but they are not a magnetic force that physically draws you to them against your will. You go there by choice. You can’t get mad at McDonald’s for a decision you are free to make. And you don’t have to feel bad for making the decision to drive thru, dine in, or carry out either. In fact, I have twelve reasons why you can actually feel good about it.
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Yes, we need to teach our children about a balanced meal, the importance of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, but we don’t have to deny them treats either. We want our children to grow up and be able to manage their own health and nutrition. We don’t want them to live a life of deprivation or gluttony. We want them to have the knowledge and the confidence to live happily in the middle. So instead of criticizing each other for our parenting choices why don’t we partner together and parent as a team. I’m lovin’ that!
Disclosure: Miss Lori is serving as a paid event hostess for McDonald’s for March 2013, however, the opinions expressed in this post are completely her own.
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