After about an hour in the grocery store this morning, I made my way over to the check out aisle. I was feeling pretty good about my purchases, knowing I’d made a few indulgences but overall had kept myself in check and stuck to the priorities – and gotten some pretty healthy, nutritious things for my family.
It was nearing lunchtime and I was thirsty, so I pulled out my water bottle and had a sip while waiting in line. The woman in front of me was snacking on a small bag of cheetos and I mentally applauded myself for making smarter choices… this time anyway.
In the next lane over I saw another woman, a fellow mom with a boy around four in the shopping cart with her, also drinking what appeared to be a bottle of water and I watched to see what brand bottle she was using, as water bottles to me are almost as fun as new shoes. But when she put it down I was a little surprised to see it was a can of whipped cream.
My inner bitch had a field day over this, but I tried to check myself. After all, I had a can of whipped cream in my shopping cart. How much better is my health really, when I’m just waiting until I get home? But okay, let’s get real, even then I’m not going to drink from the thing like it’s a single serving container.
Then she proceeds to hand the can to her son who also partakes. Now my Mom Radar is going up a tad, but I try to ignore myself. I don’t know her story. I don’t know her life. Don’t judge. She then suddenly walks towards me and I’m feeling weird for having been staring, when she speaks to Cheetos Woman in front of me and asks if she can reach in the cooler for a Mountain Dew. Seriously.
Of course she cracks that open, too, because apparently the whipped cream made her thirsty. And I’m starting to feel a bit holier than thou even more but still trying to brush it off because I’m a better person than that and don’t need be judging others.
It’s at this point that her four year old, who is now standing next to her, proceeds to vomit on the floor.
“Oh my gawd, dude, are you okay?” asks his mother, who by the way is dressed like a teenager in awfully short shorts and a skimpy tank, and no it’s not really that appropriate, but I hadn’t said anything to myself about this yet because, whatever. Overweight people often like to under dress while eating junk food in between meals. It’s cool.
But seriously? Your son is puking in front of you after ingesting whipped cream before lunchtime and god knows what else during your grocery trip and you’re asking him if he’s okay? He’s puking. Repeatedly. She just stands there in disbelief that kind of looks like, “Is this really my problem? Am I going to have to deal with this?” and keeps asking if he’s okay and I’m thinking, “Dude, ask somebody for a damned paper towel and get your kid out of here.” Which thankfully, she eventually does but by this time I’m just seriously angry and thinking I may never drink Mountain Dew ever again.
Even now a few hours later, I’m trying to make justifications for her. Her stoner attitude and odd dietary choices don’t make her a bad mother or even a bad person. My angst with her situation probably has more to do with my own guilt. Because I like whipped cream and soda and cheetos and all those other snacks made with awful ingredients that are terrible for me. But I try not to eat them in front of the kids, because I’m hoping they can still grow up craving something better.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge in my favorite organic ice creams and root beer and the occasional potato chip splurge when the kids go to bed. In fact, I do do that pretty much every night. And at some point my kids are going to notice and what will they think of me? That I need to eat these foods when nobody is looking (except handsome husband who doesn’t judge) means that I consider them bad but want them anyway. It’s a pretty unhealthy view of these foods that I have been fighting with myself to change.
But will that change mean no longer eating them, eating them in broad day light instead of waiting until night – or just finding a way to eat them in more moderation? Maybe a combination of the three. How can I convince myself to not feel guilty over my food choices but at the same time make better choices? I know all the information about weight loss and I know that my view of food is still unhealthy despite changes I’ve already made. I’ve come a long way and I have a long way to go.
So does my disgust at the check out aisle of my grocery store this morning have to do with those people and their choices or does it have to do with my own choices and my own food history and future? Certainly some of my issues were valid, but I think the whole situation shined an ugly light on my own choices that I didn’t want to look at.
I am always advocating that people, women especially, support each other rather than tear each other down. It’s a hypocritical blend with the Jen who often feels “better than other people” – my elitist personality does not always play nicely with my compassionate one. And my good food choices do not always shine brightly enough next to my “bad” ones, at least for my taste. I am not a perfect person, but I’m working on it.