Mummy’s guilt in her child’s tummy!


Image courtesy: Jeshoots

I will tell you something that I witnessed 10 years ago and still do on a daily basis. I had just got married, moved to Mumbai and immediately started working at a well-known BPO. Now, I had a colleague who was married and had a two-year-old daughter. Every day, she would be carrying two candies to the office. Not for her consumption, or for any team mate’s, but for her daughter to whom she gave them when she reached home in the evening. One day, my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up asking her “Why do you give your daughter chocolates every day?”

“I leave her home all day with her grandfather and maid. This is my way of saying to her “I love you” as I am not with her the whole day.” Beautiful sentiment. But, what she could not understand was it was not love, but her guilt that was forcing her to bribe her daughter with chocolates every day.

One classmate of my daughter brings cupcakes every day to the school. Seeing her, my daughter demands for cupcakes in her tiffin too, which I of course, promptly refuse. So, one day when I met the mother, I asked her, “Why do you give cupcakes to your daughter every day? My daughter gives your example to me and thinks you are the greatest mama to live and breathe on this earth. She wants to exchange me for you.” I joked, but it was not funny to me.

“Cupcakes are the only thing she asks for, so I don’t deny her that pleasure. Also, it’s available in the nearby bakery, so it hardly takes any time.” Yes, but every day??

Remember, when we were small and went on picnics, how our mother would elaborately prepare chhole bhature, pav bhaji, aloo puri, halwa, homemade potato chips and all. We would always carry a giant-sized water thermos from home, because no packaged water bottles were available in those days. Now, when we travel, we mostly carry packaged wafers, juices and biscuits. Who would take the trouble of cooking when things are available so readily and conveniently?

I understand we are busy with our work and feel guilty of neglecting our children. But, why should that be a reason to spoil the health of our kids? Getting rid of our guilty by giving them sugary treats or junk food is not the solution. On the contrary, it adds to it.

We work for money, for better lifestyle and for self-esteem. All of them are positive things, aren’t they? Then why is there this guilt, and the need to redeem it by playing with the health of our kids.

Let me tell you this. My mother in law loves my daughter and whenever she visits us or we visit her, she spoils my daughter with chocolates, ice creams and what not. She doesn’t like cooking and so she prefers giving her outside stuff. My mother is an excellent cook and prefers sending homemade sweets for her (sukhdi, besan ki barfi, atte ka laddoo) and whenever we visit her, she asks my daughter, “What shall I cook for you today? What do you want to eat?”

Both mothers give her sugary treats, but they are vastly different, you see.

My daughter’s comments – “Nani makes such nice things for me. I love her.” And let me tell you, she loves chocolates far more than sweets, but even a small child like her understands and appreciates the value of homemade food. I still remember my dadi for the “gulgule” she made, and the “jawe” she would send in quantity to us. I fondly remember my nani for the awesome cook she was; for her parwal ki mithai, pickles, badam and kaju ki katli. They are long gone, but the sweet memories of their food have still stayed with me.

Agreed, our nani and dadi never worked in a stressful corporate environment, never had to board stuffy trains or crowded buses, didn’t have to meet targets or month end deadlines. But, then they didn’t even have access to 24/7 maids and very helpful electrical appliances. As a working mother, we don’t have much time, I understand and I agree. But we still take out time for Halloween parties, playdates, movie dates. Just a food for thought!

Just question yourself what do you want to be remembered for? Your store-bought cupcakes, doughnuts and chocolates or your once-in-a-week-or-month baked cakes, kheer, halwa and laddoo? No food is bad, even sugar, if it’s prepared at home and eaten in reasonable quantity.

Some people will argue that women of 21st Century is breaking the glass ceiling, they are not supposed to slog in the kitchen. I will tell them – preparing delightful meals for your child and for your health’s sake is not exactly slogging. Remember, health can never come out of a packet (however fancy)!

This article is not written with the intention of judging or putting down anyone, but to serve as an eye opener that our guilt is finding its way into our children’s tummy. We love our kids and look after the tiniest detail so that they are not inconvenienced. Then how come we ignore such a huge aspect of their lives – their HEALTH!!


Why don’t I give my daughter juice?

fruit juice

A few years ago, my friend and I took our kids to a park. After playing for a while, the kids got hungry and demanded food. I looked into my bag and realized that I had left the tiffin box at home. But, my friend, fortunately was carrying hers. She took out 2 tetra packs of mixed fruit juice and a big pack of biscuits.

“I got juice and oat biscuits, at least kids will have something healthy than those chips!” She announced. I chose to stay silent. My daughter was hungry, and I didn’t have anything else to offer to her. So, she got a treat of packaged juice and biscuits.

On reaching home, I narrated the whole incident to my husband. Shock, indignation and disappointment were writ large on his face.

“This country is doomed forever if its educated citizens think that packaged juices and oatmeal biscuits that come out of a packet are healthy for kids!” He cried.

See at the back of any tetra pack containing fruit juice – it would say natural fruit sugars and added sugar. Natural fruit sugars is fructose and added sugar as we all know is pure white sugar. Also, there is no mention of any fibre of the fruit, because the juice contains none. So, basically, we are giving our kids an overdose of sugars. It causes blood sugar levels to rise rapidly resulting in a burst of energy that is short lived. High blood sugar levels cause the body to store the excess energy as fat. Also, once the sugar gets stored in the body, the blood sugar levels come down leaving the child tired and cranky. So, giving a packaged fruit juice to your child doesn’t the purpose.

But, wait it doesn’t get over here. Learn what all it can do to your child.

As the blood sugar levels come down, the body craves for more sugar that it just lost. So, the child will start demanding for sweet stuff. You got him or her into this vicious cycle!

Juices are overloaded with calories, empty ones. Your child is not getting fibre, or enough protein and healthy fat out of these. No wonder, we see child obesity and type 2 diabetes on a rise in India. Juices, cola and sweets all contribute to it!

And to all those who say juice contains real fruit, no…it doesn’t! It contains fructose-concentrate juice. 1 orange juice (200 ml) = goodness (what does it even mean) of 3-4 oranges (yes, I read it on the advert of a popular “no added sugar” orange juice…it said 17 oranges for 1000 ml pack!!). 1 apple juice (200 ml) = 4-5 medium sized apples.

Now, tell me honestly, can our kids eat so many oranges and apples at a time. No, right! Then, why are we feeding them so many fruits in the form of juice?

My daughter loves juices so much, she can finish the entire 200 ml pack without taking a pause. Yes, kids love sugar…don’t they just! However, I restrict these juices to occasions…she can have them as treats at birthday parties or at picnics.

I have stopped giving her homemade juice as well. Why?

Simple rule – drink not what you can eat!

If she can eat 2-3 oranges and 2 apples, I have told her, she can have her juice, which hasn’t happened so far! So…..

Read more about myths and facts about fruit juices here –

It’s not only about fruit juices, but pretty much about everything that we eat and feed our kids. Let’s be informed before we put stuff in our kid’s mouth. Parenting is not only about sending kids to the best of schools and classes, buying them the best of toys…but it is also about feeding them the best foods.

Oh, and now I always make sure I am carrying a dabba of snacks from home!