Dear Home-Ec 101,
I have so many questions, but the main one is about food. As a stay-at-home-mom of 1 (yeah, she’s enough for now, I don’t want more…yet) I do most of the cleaning and cooking around the house. Since I actually do have an inordinate amount of time on my hands, I try to make as much of our food from scratch as I can. That said, I have an issue with the Dear Husband. He won’t eat his vegetables. I don’t know exactly why this is, but he has an aversion to all things fruit and vegetable or otherwise touched by chlorophyll. He also grew up with a mom who took to the convenient canned-food kick of the fifties. The problem is – I adore cooking with vegetables. At least 90% of my recipes start with the trinity of veggies, with the remaining 10% using some variation with different veggies. I am constantly scraping any larger chunks of vegetables off his plate when I do the dishes. I’m not the best chopper at times, especially if the little angel is underfoot or cranky, so this tends to be more often than not. My staple pantry items are flash frozen veggies like corn and carrots and peas for when I can’t get them fresh, and spaghetti sauce since I don’t make and can my own ( I have time, not a garden and eons).
I don’t know how to broach the vegetable conversation with my husband. It concerns me that our 3 year old sees this (if I ask him to please eat some of the vegetables that I made, he flat-out refuses) and then emulates this behavior because she thinks it’s funny, and because pushing my buttons is what she does for a living. It’s a waste of money to prepare this food and then have some of it go to waste because he won’t eat it and I can’t eat it all. When we’re alone my daughter will eat some vegetables, but when Daddy is there she won’t touch them. I’m at my wit’s end with this and other things: he insists on eating canned food (chili, Cream of X soups, etc), prepackaged foods (the HEB near us has packaged pre-marinated fajitas), and other junk. He doesn’t believe me that if he went a week without his energy drinks, he’d feel better on his rotating shifts.
It’s already hard enough to be stuck at home with the toddler, trying to get into some kind of a cleaning schedule so that we’re not always going to the neighbors for play-time instead of inviting them here, and trying to stay sane. The only thing I haven’t done is talked to a doctor about all the other crap going on. My only consolation is that he takes a vitamin, so I know he’s getting what he needs. I just don’t want this to hurt our daughter as much as I’m pretty sure that it will.
Mother of 1, but feel like 2
First of all I’m going to let you know that I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a marital counselor or licensed therapist, take any and all advice with a grain or 1lb box of salt -I prefer kosher.
Next take a few deep breaths.
Remember that you cannot make a person change, no matter how much you want to -and this is not a healthy impulse, I’m aware of that- shake some sense into them, you cannot make a person change.
As a parent who spends all day with a very young child it is quite easy to slip into the mode where we forget and start acting bossy. It’s what we do all day long, even if that’s disguised in phrases like, “Do you want to please put away toy a or toy b?”
Spouses are grown ups -even when they don’t act like them. Telling him to eat his vegetables likely gets on his nerves just as much as his not eating them gets on yours.
This is a conflict to be settled out of the sight and hearing of your child.
And if he, a grown up, decides that no, he won’t eat his vegetables, it’s up to you to decide how you will respond. (When it comes down to it, is not eating his vegetables actually the problem or is it his appearing to undermine your authority?) If he doesn’t eat his vegetables, don’t put any on his plate. Don’t call attention to this fact, just let it be.
For what it’s worth you can tell your child that when she is a parent, she can decide whether or not to eat her vegetables, but at this time she doesn’t get that choice. Continue serving her vegetables and be the good example. Also remember that preschooler serving sizes are quite small.
As far as menu variety, quit waiting for permission and begin adding new things to the rotation. Notice I’m not saying create a meal where he hates every item. Just add one new side or entree a week. If he doesn’t like dinner, he’s a grown man, he can handle making himself a sandwich after the kidlet has gone to bed. Ask for his input when you make a meal plan. If he shrugs and says whatever, I’d ask one more time -unless he’s involved in something- and then make whatever.
Finally I just want to sympathize with rotating shifts, they are hard on a family with young children who need structure. Hang in there.
Okay Home-Eccers, what would you tell this Stay at Home Mom?
Previous posts you may find relevant:
Avoid Creating a Picky Eater (remember Ivy? She wrote this one)
And this ancient post from 2007: Picky Picky
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