A Manifesto of Mercy for Goodness Sake for Meal-Making Moms Everywhere

Freaking.Blessed.Facebook and Blogworld. Oh, how I love you and hate you all at once. In my almost sixteen years of Momness, Mom Guilt has been mostly a stranger to me. That is, until YOU happened, darn Zuckerbergermeister and your Bulletin Board of Braggy, Boasty Balogna Sandwiches. Never had I been tempted to feel ashamed because I SUCK at cooking, until YOU happened. Never had I felt even slightly embarrassed by the contents of my pantry until YOU came into my life. Never did I care what I did (or didn’t) prepare for dinner until YOU invented some stupid, dumbhead NEWSFEED so that all of my friends could perpetually post fantastical photos of their magically delicious and healthily stupendous meals, personally prepared and whipped up in an afternoon of sheer delight—all whilst the younger children frolicked and played underfoot and the older ones gathered fresh greens from the garden or fetched fresh milk from the freaking farm cow’s udders. Oh, Freaking Facebook. Without you, I never would have known that in the realm of Mommy Meal-Making Momness, I rank lower than aquarium scum-suckers when it comes to feeding my precious little scavengers children.

Now mind you, I’ve never been one to care much what someone thinks of me, so this maternal inferiority is a bit of a new feeling. I absolutely hate it when moms are hard on themselves or compare themselves to others, because HELLO YOU’RE A MOM and that in and of itself is SOMETHING TO FEEL ACCOMPLISHED ABOUT! {No, really. Whether you popped a baby out from your uterus—no lie, I just asked my husband if I could say hoo-ha—or had a child delivered up via adoption, you’re freaking a PARENT and that is an honorable achievement in and of itself.} But then Monday Mealtime happened and THIS post mocked me in my Facebook newsfeed. And thus, this Confession and Manifesto. I can resist no longer!

Photo used by granted permission of a lovely Facebook friend who clearly outdoes me in the kitchen. Clearly. She must love her kids more than I do mine. Clearly. Also, she perhaps is a figment of my imagination, because THIS CANNOT BE REAL.

I know. I know. Half of you are running to your pantries and gardens to prepare your own version of salmon/cabbage/kale what-not already. You’re all, “Oh, my Organic Goodness! Why, we haven’t had fresh kale since, like, lunch yesterday! How perfectly splendid!” We’ll call you Group A. Or even Group A+ (because surely you’re grading yourself here, right?). But nana nana boo boo and la-dee-dah, because I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU, GROUP A-ers!

I’m talking to the other half of you people. You know, those moms (and dads) who are totally beneath you Group A Groupies on the Totem Pole of Food Talent. We shall call you us Group B. And WHEN IT COMES TO MEAL-MAKING, I am the self-designated Homecoming Queen of Group B, and I wear my tiara proudly. You know us. We’re the ones who are all, “Uh, like, is that photo, like, for real? Because I barely know what some of those ingredients are, much less would ever buy them, grow them, and PREPARE THEM FOR MY LITTLE PEOPLE!” Psha. Yeah. It’s for real. But it’s totally not MY for real.

Because MY pantry? Well, MY pantry is a mockery to the Whole Foods mommas, the organically growing hippy hipsters, the “Oh my GOODNESS you do know that McDonald’s chicken nuggets aren’t actually CHICKEN, don’t you? Like, haven’t you seen the pink ooze?” elites among us. MY pantry sucks when it comes to wholesome, fresh, and nutritious. Because MY pantry, well, it looks a little bit like this:

RealPeopleFood2

Mmmmmmm, Pringles. Once you pop…

Hamburger Helper, generic mac-n-artificial-cheese, Ramen noodles, and fake blueberries. Ruffles (y’know, they have yummy ridges), fake juice, and chocolate to add to our hormone-riddled non-organic milk. Tasty.

grocerycart

Generic Cheese-Its, generic club crackers, and $1 Kroger special Totino’s Party Pizzas…because life’s a party at my house, y’all.

It might not be the greenest. It might not taste the best. But it’s the food I feed my kids, and I love them nonetheless! I hear about real food this and real food that, but Dear Ladies and Gents of the Organic Kingdom, this is my real food. I mean, if I’m keepin’ it real and all. I may eat fake food and feed my kids the artificial same, but I can’t be fake about it. This is all up real for me.

So here, Fellow Unimpressive People of the Internets, this is my Confession of Not Caring About My Crappy Cooking and my Manifesto of Real Meals by Real Moms.

POWER TO THE RAMEN MOMMAS at last!

RamenCart

Power to you moms who feed your little fellas fried frozen fish sticks on Fridays! Because seafood should be a staple, right? And unless your child is Koda the Bear fetching fish from the Salmon Run up the river, Frozen Fish Sticks will do just fine, thank you very much.

 

Power to you parents who consider it perfectly practical to prepare pizza from a box and call it homemade cooking! Because you cooked it yourself…at home. Well done, you! And you know they say that meals served at home are the key to family togetherness. You are SUCH a together, family person!

 

Power to you dads who can’t grill worth a cow’s butt but are secure in your manhood nonetheless! Because who cares if you’ve never cooked a steak in your backyard? You make fatherhood look easy and effortless and totally fun, even if it doesn’t involve propane and fire and fancy lines on your grilled weenies.

 

Power to you mommas who gorge on gluten like it’s going out of style. (Oh, wait…It totally is!) Just call yourselves retro, because that’s totally in anyway, and think of it as hanging on to a classic. Gluten. So vintage.

 

Power to you parents who know the drive-thru workers by first name because it’s survival food at least once a week! At LEAST. And by only letting your kids order from the Dollar Menu, you’re totally rocking that family food budget. Congratulations!

 

Power to you mommas who still make your kids’ birthday cakes from a box of sweet Mrs. Crocker’s cake mix and douse the store-bought icing with artificial food coloring. Because a happy birthday for you is not an organic cake from scratch or all-natural beet-dyed icing.

 

Power to you mommas whose kids live on Ramen. Because if you add a can of corn or a frozen pack of peas, it’s half of a wholesome meal anyway. And half of anything can be rounded up to a whole, so yay for a whole meal of Ramen! Ramen forever!

 

Power to you parents who have never made a smoothie—green or not—in your very own kitchen. Power to you moms who toss a school lunch together when your kid is running out the front door. Power to the parents who scrape from the pantry just to throw something half-edible on the table. Power to the mommas who are just doing your darned best to get by. Power to the moms who consider your “duties” in the kitchen a God-awful, dreaded chore and definitely not a hobby. Power to those whose love can neither be limited nor defined by the food that you serve to your family.

 

POWER TO THE RAMEN MOMMAS!

Because, you all, in ALL SERIOUSNESS, since when did the FOOD we make, the WAY we cook, the degree of our all-natural organic-grocery-ness define what kind of MOMS we are? Since when did we measure a mother’s love for her kids by how many trips she takes to the Farmer’s Market? Since when did we feel inferior or less than another because so-and-so would never feed that to her kids? Since when? Since Facebook. Since Pinterest. Since social media schmuckiness.

I suppose if our mothers and grandmothers had posted signs in their front yards every evening announcing to the world what they were preparing for dinner, then our moms and their moms would have felt inferior, too. I suppose that as they drove by everyone else’s homes they would have felt like they sucked, too. I suppose that if they saw that Ann was making homemade, homegrown potato soup, and Susan was serving up dumplings from scratch, and Shirley was shucking ears of corn from her backyard garden wonderland, they’d feel like the Crappiest Meal-Making Mom of the Year as well. But lucky for them, they had no such public displays.

So I say to us (un?)-fortunate Modern Mommas, no more! TO KALE WITH IT!

Feed your kid the best you can and pat yourself on the back because you did. Buy the food you can afford and say what the heck to what you can’t. Drive through those drive-thrus when necessity demands it, and be happy the Dollar Menu is somewhat delicious. Don’t measure your own motherly goodness by how you feed your kids, whether you’re a goddess of Group A who would die before eating non-organic anything, or a Group B Queen who never checks a label.

To those who outshine me in the kitchen, I bow to you in admiration. I will never do what you do. But I don’t need to be you to remind myself that I’m a darned good mom, even if my kids had $1.50 hot dog combos at Costco for dinner. And I will never again scroll my Facebook newsfeed, spy your homemade spinach-topped lots-of-things-I’ve-never-heard-of, and think myself inferior. We all love our kids. We all do our best. And we all have our own ways to show it.

Power to the Ramen Mommas after all!

7 thoughts on “Power to the Ramen Mommas

  1. Mary(Owlhaven)

    Love this! I’m all about doing what works for your family. For us sometimes that’s something fra-fra because I honestly love to cook. But only sometimes. Last night we had Taco John’s, killed and dragged home by my husband, the fabulous man. We also have fish sticks in the freezer and ramen in the pantry, and they happen to be some of our kids’ fave meals. No guilt. Do what works for YOUR family. Be happy. The end.
    Love ya!
    Mary, momma to many

    Reply

  2. Michelle

    Group B Unite! I loved this post. Another layer of guilt that I lay on myself is that I can’t afford to eat like Group A. I would love to! But more nights than I’d like to admit, we head for the blue box and frozen fish sticks. I can’t even fathom how expensive it would be to feed my family the Facebook Meal you highlighted. I could probably feed my family for days with what that one meal cost.
    So for me it’s not that I can’t cook…it’s that I can’t afford to cook. Maybe that makes me Group C?

    Reply

  3. Nancy H

    Love it! Though as a “mom of yesteryear” I never had to deal with servings of social media guilt! Oh wait, I did go through a period of time (er…insanity) when I made all our bread and baby food. I guess that qualifies me for a bronze medal, at least. But alas! I do love me some Taco Bell drive thru, much to the chagrin of many! =) Well done, bon appetit, etc.!

    Reply

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