Six Reasons Why I’m a Complete Hypocrite…

Okay, we’ve already established that I’m THAT mom. You know the one.  And, honestly, I am so okay with that.

While our kids are still small, it’s my responsibility to teach them healthy life habits. I do realize that in a few years they’ll be at a friend’s house and on their own to make healthy choices (or not), but for now, they’re mine. My job is to put good practices in place and give them the tools to make good choices.

Here’s the problem–I have double standards and I need to change my ways. These are the six of our guidelines we have for the kids and my main areas of my hypocrisy:

1. Limit refined sugar.

This one is pretty obvious (wired kids being only part of the problem).  Here are a few other reasons.

Two or three nights a week we allow Katie to have a treat after dinner, which is typically three M&M’s.

Craig and I ate two bags of jelly beans just over the week of Easter.

2. Don’t drink fruit juice.

We offer Katie an apple instead of apple juice, an orange instead of orange juice. Fruit offers fiber and far fewer sugary calories. Plus, we encourage her to drink plenty of water and she can only drink so much fluid in a day. Here’s a great article on the subject.

Yeah, I drink juice. How else would I ever have fruity drinks on the patio? Can’t make a Malibu Bay Breeze without pineapple and cranberry juice.

3. Watch Minimal Television

Katie is allowed one hour of television each day.

Yeah, well, I love the TV and certainly watch more than an hour a day. Heaven help you if you get in the way of Parenthood, Modern Family, House, or The Tudors. Seriously, don’t even try it.

4. Eat the rainbow.

With each meal, we offer her several colorful foods, with the ultimate goal of providing as close to a complete rainbow as possible by day’s end. We talk about the reasons why we eat each color and how important eating right is to growing “big and strong.”

And me? Yeah, well, about that, see M&Ms above…red, orange, yellow, green, blue…

5. Avoid high fructose corn syrup.

This is a huge rule in our house and, for the most part, has been relatively easy to adhere to.

But, I love this little thing called a Fluffernutter. For those of you poor things who haven’t heard of this delight, imagine a sandwich filled with peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff. Yeah, the ingredients in Fluff are: corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and vanillin.  There is just no excuse for eating this.

6. Eat no hydrogenated oils.

We all know that we shouldn’t eat these, and for the most part, I do okay.

The problem? One word: Oreos.

So, why am I telling you all of my secrets? Because I’m going to try to change my ways and adhere to the principles that we set for the kids. Katie is getting old enough that I’ve had to dodge some awkward questions and eat my jelly beans in stealth mode. She’s too smart for me to get away with this for much longer.

And how about you? Are there any rules that you inflict upon lovingly set for your kids that you don’t always follow yourself?  How do you explain your double standards?


  1. KLZ

    I'm terrible with this. I don't eat nearly as many vegetables as I should but heaven help the boy if he tries to refuse them. I'm trying to get them into our diet more now that he's 7 months and will start being able (slowly) to suss out my hypocrisy.

  2. Nichole

    My husband can't stand peas and everytime I serve them with dinner, we say "Daddy loves his peas so much that he ate them in the kitchen already." So we're not only hypocrites, but we're also liars, I guess.

  3. jaseza

    Not sure what to say about this subject…rules for myself are totally different than rules for my kids, is that bad? For instance, I don't eat breakfast – it's not my thing but my kids HAVE to eat it. Muesli, oatmeal, fruit smoothies, something healthy every morning. They are my kids, I'm responsible for them, they are growing, their bodies need different things at different ages. I workout on a regular basis – lift weights, aerobics, pilates, whatever…but I will not have my young girl thinking that she needs to work on flattening her stomach like I do. My teen boy, I limit what weights he can do – and actually would rather he not lift weights but do more natural type of toning (although he is getting old enough for me to relent a bit on that front). Until recently he wasn't even allowed to "workout" in the gym even though mom/dad do. It's his age and what is good for his body in comparison to the adults. TV – well, we adults have our programs and frankly, can watch whatever we choose however long we choose. But they can't…and I'm not really tortured by that because again, they are kids – I'm the adult; what we may watch at night (after they are in bed), isn't necessarily appropriate for the ages of my kids – and that is the only explanation they need. Sugar consumption…well, it's all in moderation, baby! I sneak it if I don't want my kids to eat it – and I'm fine with that. :) One child is a vegetarian…doesn't eat meat…but my 5 year old must eat the meat we put on her plate. She recently asked why Z doesn't have to eat it but she does. My explanation was that when he reached an appropriate age he told me he wanted to try it and I felt it was okay because he was older and had many years where he had learned to eat whatever was put in front of him and now was old enough to do his own research on what his body needed to thrive and could try it out with our help. But she hasn't reached that age yet so the rules are different for her. Am I wrong? Damaging my kids? What are your thoughts on how much of a hypocrite I am?!?! haha! Hopefully I just made you feel a LOT better about your "supposed" hypocrisy with my life of total hypocrisy or is it total denial?!?!

  4. Nichole

    I think that the key is in striking a balance between the rules of our youth–do as I say, not as I do–and the complete permissiveness that we see everywhere today.

    Recently we were at lunch and when the waitress brought our pitcher of beer (yes, I cheated), Katie said, "Katie needs some of that." We nearly fell off our chairs. It got me thinking about how we'll tackle the tougher questions down the road. I've heard people say that they don't drink in front of their kids and I know that that is not the solution for our family. Drinking is just one example of how adult behavior isn't appropriate for kids. It's a good lesson, I think?

    Your kids are pretty-well adjusted given your complete hypocrisy! ;)

  5. Sunshine

    Nichole, if you have Trader Joe's around, check out Joe Joe cookies. Very much like an Oreo, but no hydrogenated oils. They also have vanilla cookies, chocolate with peanut butter filling and all chocolate. Yummy!!
    My husband is a dietitian and very conscious of food and we are all vegetarian, so we do pretty well with food, and luckily my two love fruits & veggies. The other night they were eating the steamed spinach instead of tator tots!!
    My downfall – diet soda. Luckily Elizabeth tried an orange soda once, didn't like the carbonation and I remind her of that all the time. I don't want her to want soda! Chocolate is bad enough! But generally we don't keep "bad" stuff in the house, so it is not an issue.

  6. brandy

    Ah… How else would the children learn about double standards, my friend?

  7. Peggy

    And to think that I gagged down peas in front of my kids until they were about 10 yrs old, then one day I stood up and said "I hate peas, I've always hated peas, and I only ate them so that you would, and I'm not eating them anymore!"
    By then they loved peas, so I still had to buy them, and cook them. But at least I didn't have to eat them anymore. If only I had thought to lie to them. I love Craig's excuse, I knew he was a smart guy :-)

  8. Melissa

    When I was really struggling with my "parenting abilities" with one of my children my sister told me of a quote she read…."Our children will grow up just fine despite what we do, not because of what we do." It took the pressure off me a little and made me realize we do the best we can, but ultimately our job is to teach them to make good choices and then let them do it. You are doing a fantastic job!!!!

  9. Kris

    I actually do not feel the need for the rules to be the same for me as they as they are for my daughters. I tell them that when they are grown and have their own houses and their own families, they can make their own rules.

    But for now? I am in charge of all sorts of rules for them that Mark and I do not abide by. I don't think that's a double standard. They get the same life experience we got — one in which they must learn to abide by others' rules until they are old enough (and wise enough) to decide things for themselves.

    And now? Off to watch crappy television as they sleep!

  10. Nichole

    That is too funny! I can't imagine eating something I didn't like for ten years! What a great mom you are.
    You think Craig's good at getting out of eating peas? You should see him sidestep mushrooms!

  11. Nichole

    For some reason, I'm having a hard time picturing you struggling with anything that you take on, Melissa. You are such a great mom.
    Your sister is a wise woman, though.
    I guess that what I'm trying to do is teach Katie what I believe to be healthy choices and hope that when she is older she will have those solid decision-making skills in place. I typically offer either peas or green beans, or apples or pears, for example. I always hope that by giving her two safe choices, she'll build confidence and with such low stakes, I'm fine with either answer. Let's hope that we make it out of her teen years with some of that in place, when the choices are drugs or no drugs, teen sex or abstinence. Let's cross our fingers, huh?
    And thank you for the vote of confidence. It means the world to me.

  12. Nichole

    Your comment made me smile, as I had flashbacks to your "Dreams Deflated" post (… ). Visions of you torturing those poor girls with the ice cream never fail to make me laugh.
    You're right, though, in that there will always be multiple sets of rules. Drinking, voting, and driving all come to mind as perfect examples.
    Plus I love that you're employing the whole "while you are living under my roof" logic. Pure genius. ;)
    And oh, how I love crappy television. And beer.

  13. Nichole

    You raise an excellent point, my friend. ;)

  14. la.pfeifer

    I totally agree. I think it can be really OK for parents and kids to have different rules/expectations, kind of apples and oranges — within reason and explained to them as much as feels right. For me one main exception would be behavior, in terms of kindness/treatment of others, depending on age.

    With food, their bodies have such different demands from our adult ones, with their incredible need for nutrients and healthy fuel to grow, and also with their developing perceptions and palate for food. With adults, well, some of us might be a lost cause on certain days! :) And with TV/movies, I also think there's such a difference because adults have a developed way of interpreting and understanding complex situations and fictional drama.

    In the end, I just try to be the best role model I can for them, but yikes, if my kids only had to follow the rules I myself could strictly and consistently obey or emulate — whew, it'd be one scary situation around our home!

  15. Nichole

    You offer some great points here!
    The world truly is made up of different sets of rules for different stages in life. I think that I'll just pick some of the examples that I most want to set and ease up on myself in the other areas.
    Thanks for commenting!

  16. Kat

    Growing up, I remember my grams wouldn't let up off the table if our isn't empty. This went on until I was 15 yrs old (imagine that).
    Now that I'm a mother, I thought to myself (i make my own rules, YES!) My point is, we all see how our parents told us 'not-tos & have-its'…well, I set that as an example for myself. Everything I learned from my childhood I apply to my parenting, though some of which aren't the right choices at hand but it works at best. Values – Discipline – Morals – Ethics – Integrity plays a huge role in our daily lives. How do I teach these kids those example? Unnerving but true, I compare their lives then and now (how they lived their lives with their mum – how she was to them – how she was to their dad, and as a mother to them & a wife to their dad). It frightens the heck out of them. They love the life they live now, with me, being respected, having their own rights of what to & can't do, they have a voice & they are seen. I will tell you their story in my blog. Soon as I can complete that page.
    You are doing a great job of being an example to your children, we tackle too much responsibilities and sell ourselves short. Parenting isn't easy, being a mum, wife & friend is the hardest of all. Your children will grow-up smart with a strong head on their shoulders :)

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