I’m Still Standing

I am a product of the 1970s (born in 1968).

I realize that makes me incredibly old - strike that - vintage! to most of you reading this. But it also gives me an interesting perspective on children's health - both generally, and my own kids in particular.

It seems to me that children of the 70s grew up in one of two camps:

* Camp Hippie: these kids were raised by the Flower Power people who got really interested in vegetarianism, veganism, and healthier living generally.

* Camp TV Dinner: these kids were raised by moms who were dazzled by convenience food marketing.

I was over in Camp TV Dinner. That's not say that my mom didn't cook. She cooked a ton, actually. And everything she cooked from scratch was amazing and delicious and wonderful. But she definitely took advantage of the onslaught of processed food hitting the grocery stores.

TV dinners. Cheese in a can. Pre-made desserts with unrecognizable ingredients. Sugary cereal (my addiction to Count Chocula cereal is a story for another time). The list could go on, but I shudder.

In the last decade or two, we've all been educated on the dangers of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and the innumerable other unpronounceable-and-not-occurring-naturally ingredients that are really, really bad for our bodies. Where possible, I try to avoid the stuff. I'm not 100% clean, but where time permits, I'd much rather bake my kids a cake and know, even if it's got sugar in it, that it's sugar I can pronounce, then offer up a packaged sweet treat.

I think back to my own childhood, and while I had my fair share of healthy meals, you can bet that I was eating 2 or 3 times the bad stuff that my kids do.

And I'm still standing.

My mom also smoked during her pregnancy. And has every day since. I've never once even held a cigarette to my lips.

And I'm still standing.

We didn't wear seat belts and we didn't have car seats.

And I'm still standing.

We didn't use bike helmets, shin guards or elbow guards.

And I'm still standing.

We were turned outside at 8 a.m. every summer morning and played in the front yard, on a busy street, unsupervised, until the next mealtime.

And I'm still standing.

Do I advocate any of these practices? No. Each and every one is on my "don't do that" list. But I realize something else.

In 30 years, my daughter could be writing a post just like this one.

A post that details all of the horrible choices we made as a society in 2011, the health mistakes I made as a parent, to her and this generation of youngsters, and how we could have done so much better if only we had had more information.

We're improving every day, and hopefully, the tools and resources that are available to our kids once they become parents will be exponentially better then - just like what's available to us is exponentially better than it was in the 1970s.

So when I try to get all high and mighty about my parenting choices and kids' health, I just remember that something I'm doing right now is going to be called bad or ill-advised sometime down the road.

And hopefully, both of my kids will still be standing to point it out.

Children's health is at the top of every mother's mind. What's your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

Please show your support for the Million Moms Challenging by liking MMC on Facebook.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.

Official Contest Rules

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus