vegan trust issues...help
I personally have been raising my daughter vegan for almost a full year...his parents pretend they understand but how come they think we are making our children feel left out. Last night I was so pressured into making her eat animal produced cupcakes and animal secretion cheeses that even her own father started to put pressure on me. And when I emailed his mother about how Christmas time is not an excuse, she put guilt on me and made me feel like i didnt trust her....well, how can i trust you when you are making constant guilttrips on me and more jokes about how you will sneak her some when i am not looking. Not to mention the poopies my daughter had today after i witnessed her being snuck a piece of animal secretion cheese.
I cant handle it anymore, i am luckily having her bday dinner at my house on tuesday and making her a vegan mac casserole and vegan strawberry cupcakes, but i have absolutely NO want to bring her over for christmas eve.....im sooo sick of it. They make me feel like I am a bad mother when I KNOW i am basically saving my daughters life not to mention showing her how to save thousands of other lives....how do you do it?
ps. my daughter is two and has ONLY had the sniffles three times, once when she wasnt vegan, and twice when i had let pressure of others influence her eating.
how do you do it? i just want to become a vegan hermit or go to a commune for refuge
I know exactly how you feel. It is SOOO hard when they can't speak for themselves. Once they can turn things down on their own and ask the right questions (is there meat in this?) it makes it so much easier. I used to feel the pressure too. They pretty much have stopped now that he is older, and they see how smart and healthy he is. My dad used to (and still does a little) constantly crack jokes about showing him what a pig was really for, and saying how horrible it was that he didn't get icecream for dessert, etc....
Personally, I want the veg-lifestyle to be a positive thing in our lives. It totally has been. The way you sound, it seems as if in ways, it makes you miserable (not your fault...the behaviors of others). I used to stress out over things too, but as he got older, I let some things go, and he has the occasional cupcake at a party, or cheese on a pizza (at a party). I don't really like it, but at the same time, I don't want to turn my 8 year old completely off to vegetarianism by always making him feel left out. I make substitutions when I can (brought our own frosting to the cookie decorating in his class the other day), but if I can't I just let it go. My mind has actually been a lot freer and happier since I made this decision. I can't control everything...
not to mention, I know some vegan parents who were way too militant, and now their kids eat meat (at a young age too!). I'd rather have it my way than have that happen.
I do hope that as he gets older, he will say no to the cakes and cheeses on his own. he always turns down the icecream at parties already. He eats vegan the other 97 percent of the time, and that just has to be good enough right now.
This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but try to stay positive, and not to stress out too much. If your daughter senses that, she may not see veganism as a positive thing.
Good Luck! I know the holidays are the hardest....Have a great bday party! vegan style!
Thats hard MJ, my daughter's allergies to milk protein have forced my family to take it seriously. Like L2A my Dad loves to joke that PETA stands for you-know-what but luckily the people around her are pretty good at asking me about exactly what she can eat, our friends are vegetarian too, so all the birthday parties she has been too people have broughten her vegan dessert, which is so nice, but I always bring something for her too. I know this won't always be the case, and that everyone wouldn't be so careful if I wasn't constantly reminding them about her allergy and telling them where the Epi-pen is. It is frustrating though there have been countless times where my non-immediate family members have prepared food and been like "theres no milk in it, its fine" and I will literally SEE butter on it, when I ask they are like, "oh well its just a little"---um, well, then there IS dairy in it isn't there!!!! (sorry about the rant, but I hate that)
Anyways, don't stress about what other people tell you, you know whats best for yourself and your child. Being positive is good advice, I know some people that have been super strict about vegan-no sugar, and their child, at 11, now loves wholesome foods like McDonalds, and has began to gain a lot of weight. So, the moral of the story is to make veganism a lifestyle, not a restrictive diet, and make it fun. My daughter is 2 as well, and we do lots of cooking and baking together. It makes a big mess and takes much longer, but I love and she loves it!!! We have pets and talk about loving animals and being kind. We also have quite a few potted herbs we let her water and care for.
it does get annoying going to others' houses and ALWAYS having to bring all of your own food, and its also annoying when others are eating foods in front of her that she can't eat, but so far it doesn't bother her, and hopefully it won't be a bog deal as she grows up.
Have a fun party!
This is such a common issue-- I've posted in a couple other places about very similar things, so if I'm repeating, please forgive! but I think it's important...
1. Family relationships, especially with in-laws, are often about control. 'I know better than you about raising children; I have more power than you within this family,' etc. Politely but firmly stand up for yourself, and make sure it's clear that this is an ethics issue which is important to you; that even if they disagree, if they insist on disrespecting you by blowing off something so important to you, it will cost them your relationship -- & ultimately, will hurt their relationship with their grandchild(ren). Make sure your husband understands this is non-negotioable-- the occasional dairy snack WITH YOUR PERMISSION may not be 'that big a deal;' but them going behind your back IS a TREMENDOUSLY HUGE big deal, and can ONLY ruin your relationship.
2. Kids before about 8 years old do NOT have the cognitive capability of abstract thought & objective cost-benefit analysis. They are eating out of habit, or based on what someone else says, before this point... any talk of 'letting them choose for themselves,' before this point in their development, is meaningless. So, if it helps defuse the situation, I think it's safe to say "After 8 he/she can decide for him/ herself..." (they won't!)... but not before then.
3. Have family watch the PBS documentary posted on VW by hespedal, in 'Kitchen Sink', about 'documentary promoting vegan whole-food diet'... it's very user-friendly to omnis, & really stresses the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Stress to them that part of being a parent is ensuring your child's health, & that's what you're doing; when they sneak her things that are bad for her, of *course* you're going to take it as seriously as if they were compromising her health & safety in any *other* way.
Hope that's helpful... you might also check out the Stroller Derby threads 'dealing with vegan-hating MIL' & 'an interesting conundrum,' if you haven't already... they deal with similar issues. Good luck!
I agree totally w/ what L2A said!
My daughter (now 6 1/2) is a 99.8% vegan (vegan aside from an occasional birthday party cupcake, etc.) and LOVES being vegan. And it seems like she will stay vegan, because she loves the food so much & doesn't feel deprived. My little brothers totally rebelled when they became teenagers because a strict diet was forced on them growing up & I've known others like this as well. So, I've tried to make being vegan a joyful, fulfilling thing...which is easy, because it IS!! :)
I know it can be annoying when people disrespect you...but don't let their thoughtlessness ruin your good vegan mojo! :)
Quote from my daughter the other day: "Once John gets the magic going, I'm going to make everyone in the world a vegan." Hilarious & totally thought up on her own!
I pretty much follow the same philosophy as L2A and Quintess. My daughter is always vegan at home and at her grandparents houses, but at a school party will have a cupcake. When my friend babysits her, she probably eats a non-vegan thing here and there, because she doesn't really know any better, but tries. My daughter understands the veganism is a choice, and that everyone gets to choose when they are adults. Its more important to me that she has a healthy relationship with food, and understands healthy eating when she goes off on her own. Besides, remember what your mom told you, ignore them and they'll stop. They're probably just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't let them. You are doing the best job you can, and your daughter will see that as she grows.
I'm a new vegan who's been playing around with eating this way for nearly a year, my DH isn't, but he's happy to eat whatever I cook. My older daughter who is 3 years is basically vegetarian, because she's never liked meat, but she does like cheese. At this point, I'm not going to force her to eat differently than other kids. My younger one is 1 year and she'll eat anything. I just try to feed them healthy, non processed food options at this point.
I know that if something is forced on you, then you often don't do it. I was that way with going to church. As a teen, I hated that my parents forced me to go, so I would lie about it and not actually go. I don't want that to happen with my kids over any topic, so I'm going to let them make up their own minds as they get older.
If she is having trouble with bread, it could also be a gluten allergy. Might not hurt to have her checked. It can be tested with a simple blood test.