How I Provide Healthy Meals for My Child Even When I'm Not Cookin'

Like many others, I grew up watching sitcoms on television that depicted joyful, loving families who’d sit down together for meals that were often cooked by the mother. I had no idea I was learning anything; I simply watched for my enjoyment. But, I was learning life-lessons about family dynamics, familial norms and expectations of motherhood.

Now that I’m a mom, I realize these lessons learned subconsciously have caused me quite a bit of discomfort in myself as well as guilt and shame about my own ability — or inability — to perform the “expected” duties of a mother. Due to my physical disability, my household doesn’t follow societal “norms.” We have our own “normal.” But although I’m aware of that, I nonetheless experience undeserved and unnecessary guilt because I’ve inadvertently placed expectations on myself as a parent; expectations I’m not able to live up to.

Most recently, as my body has deteriorated, I’ve stopped being able to cook in our inaccessible kitchen. I started ordering deliveries from pizza places and delicatessens and we began to pick up more and more fast food. I knew my young child was no longer getting healthy meals and therefore was not consuming the necessary nutrients she needed for her holistic growth. But I felt helpless to change the situation. Until one evening, as I watched her eating yet another slice of pizza, I thought, “It’s my responsibility as her mom to make sure she eats healthy. If I can’t cook myself, then it’s still my responsibility to find a way for her to be healthy.”

The next day, I went about a month-long process of info-gathering. I searched for businesses that would deliver healthy, precooked meals to our home. I finally narrowed the list down to two places, one national and one local. My daughter and I decided to try the local company first. We ordered only two meals, so we could try them and decide if we liked the food. We did! So that week, I placed an order for a week’s worth of dinners to be delivered the following Monday.

When Monday dawned, I felt excited but also extremely nervous. I assumed that when the meals came, and I placed them in our fridge, I’d feel guilty I wasn’t the one who provided them. But, the food came, and I placed the containers in our refrigerator and sat there staring at the shelf full of correctly-proportioned, healthy meals. I realized, maybe I wasn’t the one who cooked all this, but I am the one who provided it! I’m the one who did all the research into the various companies who offer food delivery services. I’m the one who ordered the meals. I fulfilled my responsibility as a mom to provide my daughter with healthy food!

Many times, for me, it’s all about my perspective. When I find myself feeling negative about a situation, there’s nearly always a way to turn my attention to other aspects of it and see the positive side. I don’t need to follow societal norms. I’m not obligated to live up to anyone’s expectations. My parenting shouldn’t be judged based on how I get things done but rather that I do. My daughter and I have been eating delicious, healthy meals now for three weeks and I’m proud of myself for getting this done, for making the changes necessary to ensure that her needs are met.

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