My kids give me indigestion…sometimes

…there, it’s out. I feel as though I have a giant secret off my chest. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE my kids (as I tell my them before bed every night I love them more than all the stars in the universe), but sitting with them at a family meal gives me indigestion, literally. Let’s set the scene at breakfast: Dishes are laid out; food is at everyone’s places; cups filled with juice; forks, spoons, and napkins are all set out. In a nutshell: the kids have everything they need.

It's okay to admit your kids drive you crazy at mealtimes...just don't plan to eat with them so you can enjoy your food—earlier or later—indigestion free.

And I set down my bowl of oatmeal, cup of tea and the newspaper. I am on the verge of an almost audible contented sigh, when it starts:

“Mom” (on verge of crying) “I dropped my spoon on the floor and now I don’t have a spoon” (crying ensues). I get up to get another spoon.

I eat one-half of a biteful of oatmeal before the next one starts.

“Mom” (other child now) “I don’t have enough brown sugar in my oatmeal. I need more brown sugar” (I get up again to get a bit more brown sugar.)

I sit down, take a sip of tea, and open the paper. And then the 3-year-old has suddenly decided she doesn’t like her favorite cereal any more.

“Yucky. Yucky,” she says. “I not like that!”

And this goes on for at least 5 more minutes. My stomach is in knots.

Needless to say, my tea got lukewarm, my oatmeal was cold by the time I got back to it…and the paper didn’t get read until much later. And maybe that’s okay. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s not REALLY necessary to eat every possible meal with your kids (oft-quoted research—that makes any working parent feel horribly guilty—speaks to how more well balanced, smarter, successful, less angry, etc your kids will be if the parents eat meals with them). I don’t mind sitting with my kids, jut not sharing a meal with them. Sometimes a sane, well-fed mom is better for everyone  … than having to deal with this at mealtimes.

A must-read for busy parents!

And as a sidenote, if you’re a parent and you see yourself in this situation, you must read one of my favorite kids’ books: Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. You’ll enjoy it and get a good laugh.

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Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.