Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Several years ago someone anonymously commented on one of my posts, "If you eat such healthy food, why are your kids so sick all the time?"

I cannot tell you how much that comment cut me.  I know that "big" bloggers get much worse, but for some reason, I really internalized this.  I thought about responding that I can control my children's diet so that they don't get diabetes, but I can't do the same for colds; that they have a genetic predisposition on both sides to lung weakness; that they come in contact with lots of other little kids and this is just how childhood goes...but in the end I just deleted the comment (and then lay awake at night agonizing over it),

In the intervening years, whenever my children are sick, that just haunts me.  No matter how much I know intellectually that my worth as a mother does not depend on whether my children are more or less healthy than others, emotionally and viscerally I feel horribly guilty, and that comment echoes in my mind. 

Today I was holding Luke (who has croup) while he coughed and choked and struggled for breath.  I felt like the worst mother in the world, like this is my fault.  When he coughed so much that he finally just started throwing up, I started crying while I cleaned everything up, because I felt like I should have prevented it.

I hope at some point I can get over this single little snarky comment, but it certainly won't be today. 


Jolena said...

People really should think before they comment. Seriously, what were they thinking? So you feed your kids well and they get sick. What would happen if you didn't? There are things we can't control, but the things we can, we might as well even if the results aren't always what we want. Hang in there Rachael! You sure do go through lots of things with sickness and I always feel bad for you in that respect. You can get through this! I hope Luke gets better soon. The worst is watching your kids be sick.

Sarah Harward said...

How terrible! I feel like as mothers we are ALWAYS feeling guilty about something. The last thing we need is someone passing judgement in a way that is going to make us feel even more guilty (or, help us validate that guilt in our minds). You know that Luke's croup has nothing to do with what you're feeding him, his immune system is as strong as it can be because you're making the effort (and it's an effort most of the time) to nurse him. Hang in there. If you need anything PLEASE feel free to give me a call.

Kayli said...

Stupid commenter.

Erin said...

I like what Jolena said. It's not like if you start feeding them junk, they're going to stop getting sick because you're doing it wrong. That's just silly. I admire the way you feed your children, and it's a lot more work to do everything from scratch and read labels. You're doing so great. You're a really good mom Rachael.

Nate and Nicole said...

So, I never comment, but I still love to read your blog, Rachael! Your kids are absolutely adorable. I LOVE seeing the creative and healthy meals you feed your kids. I am often in awe of how you juggle kids and everything that comes with them (and you have twice as many as I do right now), work, exercising, etc. etc. Though I don't "know" you as a Mom (after all, Abigail was just tiny when we were in grad school), I'm sure you're the kind of mom that you were graduate student and teacher - conscientious, informed, smart, caring, and capable. Among other things. Keep your head up :). Hope your darling little Luke feels better soon.

Mary Beth said...

...Because...eating spinach prevents strep?


Your kids are learning to eat healthy now and for the rest of their lives. (Assuming they decide to eat, that is, which is another issue entirely.) And sure, maybe antioxidants in blueberries boost your immunity or something, but I've sure never heard any claim that regularly eating vegetables will keep you from catching a cold. That's what a Neti-Pot is for! (Sorry, Mom. I still haven't used mine.)

Plus, even if your kids are genetically predisposed to respiratory ailments, they are also genetically predisposed to be 718% cuter than anyone else's. So take that, Troll!

aLi said...

I can see myself saying that... as an air-headed 12 year old girl. I'm sure I said something like that when I was younger and SO SMART. Try to think of it as someone like that!!! :)
I hate when snarky comments make me lose sleep. I know it's not worth it, but it just BOTHERS me!

Danielle said...

Oh boy that is just ridiculous!

Kids get sick. Period. You are a great mom. Some people are so stupid!

Julia and Aaron said...

I found your blog while blog-hopping. I just wanted to say that I have my troll moment too and, although I try to be thick-skinned, it cuts me down every time I think of it.

I just try to remember that people who say/do unkind things usually aren't very smart. The smart ones think their actions through and consider others' feelings. Also, it's not a logical comment. You can eat extremely healthy, have a good healthy body, and still have colds.

I, too, am impressed with all you juggle!

Dani said...

Seriously? I can't believe that someone would say something like that. More than likely that person was feeling insecure about his/her eating/feeding habits and took it out on you. Don't let it get you down. If it makes you feel better, I think all of my kids have had croup, I have two with asthma, and one with food allergies (we just discovered another one) and we're healthy eaters too. I can't prevent every bad thing from happening to my kids, and neither can you. We just have to do our best and let everything else go. Just let it go. (Yoga breathing, here.) You're doing a great job. You're doing your best, and that is good enough.

Laura said...

That's ridiculous! Well, you know you do the best you can and obviously whoever left that comment had no idea that kids get sick just because. Seriously, you are keeping them as healthy as you can and I think it says a lot about you as parents (in the positive) that you handle their sickness so well! A lot parents out there wouldn't be responsible enough to keep up on breathing treatments, etc.

Heatherbelle said...

In China they would tell you your kids are getting sick because they aren't wearing socks.
I must have someone come up to me once a week and tell me what a bad parent I am because my kids aren't wearing socks, or they have a bruise, or I'm not watching them close enough. And then there is my dad and mom who tell me every couple weeks how unhealthy and polluted a city we're living in and how my kids need more space to play and run around, and how bad it is for their physical and emotional health, etc. I feel for ya. It totally sucks to have all these people constantly making judgement calls on my life and my parenting and although I try to not let it affect me it always does. I think it's awesome you are so diligent at making sure your kids get so many fresh fruits and vegetables. My kids are the best eaters of everything I make and I really think it's because they've been fed really fresh healthy stuff, not just a bunch of processed junk.
And as for being sick, I think it is living in Indiana. Miles was horribly sick the whole two years that we were there. But then Colin was born in Utah and has lived in Shanghai most of his life and he hasn't had anything like his older brother had. And let me tell you that China is disgustingly dirty.
You're awesome. Sorry you're having a hard day.

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