I have often hoped that I would never have a story to share, but alas, my time has come.
My kids participated in a community outdoor children’s play this summer. The organizers are friends of ours and this was the second year they have taken on, and we’ve participated in, this wonderful event. Getting 35 kids between the ages of 5-12 to learn lines , cues and directions is a momentous task.
This year, it was decided to form committees for certain things, rather than just have parents step in as needed. I signed up to be on the “snack committee” as well as help out with stage managing.
The “official” duties of snack committee were to bring snacks the last two weeks of practice when the entire cast would be present. However, since I was there almost ever night anyway, I generally brought some type of snack for the kids when they had a break. Personally, I hate the idea of snacks because they usually involve junk food. So I made sure I was bringing fresh fruit, vegetables from the garden, or something homemade, like zucchini muffins. But always something healthy, low in sugar and fat.
One of the snack committee members took it upon herself to become the “committee chair”. The second week of practice I received an email from her expressing displeasure over my snack choices. Her child has a gluten allergy and she was very angry that I was not providing something her daughter could eat. She went so far as to outline exactly what I could bring and if I was to deviate from this list, I should let her know so that she may provide something for her daughter.
Not every child was present each night for practice, and not all choose to eat snacks. So I was really surprised that her daughter would feel excluded to the extent that her mother would have to send such an angry email. I responded with my polite spine and stated that the “official” snack committee had not started and I was doing this simply because I had time. I said I would not make something special for her daughter, but that I would make sure there was something available for her. I did go out and buy some gluten free cookies for her, but I was simply not going to try and bake something gluten free as I know my kitchen is not gluten free.
As the weeks went on, I received email after email from this woman about how inconsiderate I was being. Now, I might have taken this better if her daughter was young, but she’s 12. Her mother never attended a single practice to even personally see what was being served. Her daughter, on the other hand, was very nice about it. She would simply walk up and grab the fruit or veggies. If there was something I baked that she was interested in, she would ask if it contained gluten and I would let her know if it did or if I had something else for her.
The week before the official snack duties started, I received an email from her basically stating that I was killing her child. Because of work, I wasn’t able to get a snack together for one of the last rehearsals before the official snack dates. She sent an email saying she was glad her message finally was received (thinking that I didn’t bring a snack because of her). She sent a follow up email to the entire committee listing out what they should bring and when, and letting us know she would be there to supervise. Her list involved a lot of summer sausage type meat, cheese and chocolate- none of which does well in the summer heat.
I did continue to bring the fresh fruit and vegetables though I kept them close to my folding chair (where I had been placing snacks the entire time) rather than putting them on the official snack table. My inner witch was devilishly pleased by the fact that the kids came to my area for snack, instead of choosing the other option.
Is it wrong to think that if your child has special dietary needs, that you should provide it, rather than dictating what someone else is doing? 0824-12
I’m a big advocate for personal responsibility and one’s health (or that if your minor-aged child) is specifically within one’s own sphere of responsibility. It’s a form of entitlement to expect others to know your health limitations and cater to them in an educated manner. If you have a gluten/nut/shellfish or any other food allergy, it is your job to manage your own food intake.
By offering fruit, veggies and healthy food choices, you were being a good snack mom. What the 12 year old eats in the presence of such treats is her own responsibility as well as her parents’ to make sure she makes good choices.