Learning when to take advice
When my children were growing up, I have to admit I took a few cooking shortcuts. I didn’t question if there would be long-term consequences to any hastily prepared meals. I had to get food into mouths. Sometimes meals were eaten in the car. Gasp! (I understand it isn’t healthy, but it still happened. My children can add it to my list of parental failures.) It was always a success when we sat down at the table for an early meal as mealtime was often hijacked by sports and activities.
I can confidently say my kids weren’t paying too much attention. When they were younger, they had dragons to slay, and as they got older, they just had different dragons to conquer.
Throughout my parenting life, I’ve been given great advice and bad advice. I have had to decide for myself where to place all the unsolicited suggestions. One time my mother was shocked to hear her grandchildren thought waffles came from the freezer. Her concern was delivered with the same urgency as if poison was on their plates. I came to terms with the fact that if waffles are to be eaten, sometimes they have to come from the freezer. In my defense and to her chagrin, if I’d been asked as a child where waffles came from, I would have said a restaurant. I would have said the same thing about babies since there weren’t any of those around my house, either.
Now my children are making their own meals and decisions. One chooses a shortcut for a recipe while the other makes it from scratch. It flip-flops between the two of them, depending on the urgency and situation. I hear myself asking my kids to eat more whole foods and shop on sale.
I see their eyes roll when I tell them what should be done. They could choose to make their own bread or buy it from a shop. They could roast a chicken or buy one already cooked. I want to suggest, not judge. Advice is supposed to be a recommendation, not a hard, fast rule. It allows me to heed my own advice. It allows us the opportunity to hear other people but make our own decisions, whether it is about frozen waffles or life. It’s a chance to not blindly follow all uninvited advice.