Parenting: Progress NOT Perfection

Bring a parent is really hard. This is probably the only parenting issue that I am 100% certain about.

We do the best that we know how to do.  But let’s be honest for a second.  Do you ever have the temptation to avoid reality for just a moment, so that there would be less to feel guilty about?

Before Robyn O’Brien was forced to look at the foods she was feeding her family, she didn’t enjoy being “preached at” about the benefits of drinking organic milk.  She had enough on her mind.  She didn’t want to feel badly about what she wasn’t doing.  (We can all relate to that!)

But when her youngest child had a horrible allergic reaction to something she ate, Robyn had no choice.  Instead of simply avoiding that particular food, she followed her “type-A personality” and did some research about the food industry.

  • Why was our nation creating children with more food allergies than ever before?
  • How come we never heard about people with food allergies when we were young, but we see them all the time now?

She didn’t like what she discovered.  More importantly, she couldn’t unlearn it.  Now, she is sharing the news – because we all need to understand what’s going on.

Robyn O'Brien

Robyn O'Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth

I am lucky. My kids don’t have any food allergies.  But my son seems to be sensitive to artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup.  Someone on my Facebook page virtually rolled her eyes at me recently, and suggested that we ate the same foods when we were young and we turned out fine (so what was the big deal?).

Interestingly enough, Robyn discovered that these aren’t the same foods we ate when we were young.  In the ’90’s, the food system changed.  It adapted to the economy as companies found ways to save money and make more food for less money.

  • Cows started getting growth hormones so they could produce more milk.  It made the cows sick, and many countries outside of the US banned their use.  We didn’t.
  • Soy was engineered to tolerate weed killer. It resulted in a 50% increase in soy allergies.  Other countries banned this practice.  We didn’t.
  • Corn was engineered to incorporate insecticide into the plant, itself.  It is regulated by the EPA as an insecticide and not as a food, which would have been regulated by the FDA.  This was not tolerated by other countries.  But we kept at it.

Is it any wonder that we are experiencing more food related health issues than we ever have?  Just like Robyn said – we can’t unlearn this.

But we can talk about it.  And we can vote with our dollars every time we shop.  We can also give ourselves permission to do the best we can – even if it means taking one baby step at a time towards improving our diet.  Progress should be our goal, not perfection.  None of us needs any more mommy guilt than we have already.

To learn more about our food system, food allergies and what families can do about it, please buy Robyn’s book, The Unhealthy Truth.

Disclaimer:  Robyn and I have been friends on Twitter for several months, but I jumped at the chance to meet her in person at a special lunch sponsored by Stonyfield Farms. I wrote this post because of my passion for helping families to eat well, not because I was expected to or compensated in any way.
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6 Responses to Parenting: Progress NOT Perfection

  1. Erin says:

    I first discovered Robyn through a YouTube video of one of her TED talks. What she has to say is impassioned, compelling, and scary all at the same time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA

  2. A friend once told me “It’s what you do 90% of the time that really matters.” Simple yet so powerful.

    Perfection isn’t an achievable goal or something to strive for because it becomes too consuming. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Totally agree. I think too many parents have this idea that things must not be working for them because it’s not “perfect.” So they give up. Give up on family dinner, give up on finding healthy alternatives, give up offering new foods to “picky” kids. Aiming for progress, not perfection, is a great idea. The old saying I think of is “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”

  4. Amanda says:

    Fantastic info… thank you for having the courage to share!

  5. Thanks for the thought provoking post. Happy that most of m families diet comes from farms in our area, and you can get milk here that is not organic that does not contain rBST. Seems to me that it would be harder to avoid franken foods like these as a vegetarian as most soy is GMO and it is harder to find produced on local small farms.

    I would love to say the lack of response to these issues by our government surprises me. We were also amongst the last to ban lead paint a generation ago.

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