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At night after I put my 4-year-old to bed, all I want to do is laugh with NickMom.com and eat cupcakes without explaining to my daughter why I can eat three cupcakes in a row, but she can’t. Today I am joining with NickMom to get out some of my inner #MotherFunny. I bring you, The Snacking Circle of Life.
If there’s any truth to that old saying, “you are what you eat,” I’m sure glad I don’t eat kale or anything that rhymes with skeen-waa.
I’d be more along the lines of the next un-thought-of Taco Bell creation (don’t think on it too long, it will make you sick). And that’s OK. Because if you really were what you eat and you went to a party, everyone would like the fudge sundae guy and the red velvet cake bites girl. And who would be the nerd in the corner? That’s right: hummus face.
Sadly, we really aren’t what we eat, and hummus’ number-one fan – you know the type – gets all the praise, while I have to eat my cupcakes in secret, praying it really is true you can’t put on five pounds in five minutes.
Because here’s the real truth: I love to snack. Who doesn’t? Snacking is what keeps us sane at 2:47 in the afternoon. It’s what keeps you going on that interminably long stint at the playground as you watch kid after kid wipe their noses and run them along the monkey bars.
Snacking is wonderful.
And it’s part of nearly everyone’s life. In fact, there’s a Snacking Circle of Life. Let me explain how it works.
When you’re young, you have very little control of your snack choices. Mom is in charge, and because she reads health blogs or spends 10 seconds on Pinterest, she gets to feeling guilty if she gives you anything less than a perfectly balanced snack. Instead of cookies, you get a handful of raisins and a talk about how it will make you big and strong. Right…
This snacking phase is truthfully probably one of the healthier ones on the Snacking Circle of Life. But, thanks to growth hormones, you eventually get tall enough to clamber up a stool and find mom’s hidden cookies, dad’s Doritos and beef jerky, and a leftover onion purchased some time during Nixon’s presidency.
Congratulations, you have now entered the Sneak ‘n Grab phase. At first, you’re a novice. You’re so proud of finding the veritable jackpot of junk food – and feeling so vindicated that mom really was full of it about all that healthy food nonsense – you go to town on the calorific goodness.
And then you get busted. Somehow it didn’t cross your six-year-old brain that mom can actually visually monitor, well, everything.
Once you serve your grounded sentence, you get smart and only sneak bits and pieces, usually while mom’s busy doing your laundry (and you never even thanked her, how ungrateful).
After a few years of this phase, you enter the Dr. Pepper /Mountain Dew/Cheetos/Oh-my-gosh-I’m-so-hungry-I’d-eat-glue phase. This phase begins the second you enter middle school and see a kid use that most glorious of snacking inventions: the vending machine.
Like a beacon that lights the way to the Holy Grail, you are drawn to this mysterious giver of all things delicious, yet terrible for you. But it’s OK, because you have a metabolism that can burn through calories faster than Congress can spend taxpayer dollars.
This phase serves you all the way into college, where you realize you don’t have any money and will settle for anything resembling food: Ramen, what you hope was once pizza, frozen TV dinners and Hot Pockets.
In fact, college is one massive snack food frenzy, as: A) you don’t have time or money to make real food, B) mom lives too far away to drop in for dinner, or C) you honestly don’t even know how to make macaroni and cheese.
Somehow, your body doesn’t reject itself, and your arteries haven’t hardened – though you’re fairly confident they’re lined with EZ Cheese – and you enter the Post-College Detox phase. Not that you really want to, but you finally learned just how bad everything you ate in college really was. Plus, you probably have an annoyingly health-conscious roommate who lectures you every time you even veer near the chips aisle at the grocery store. Candy Crush is one of the seven deadly sins to this roommate.
Instead, your snacks are replaced by quinoa, flax seed, cardboard and something resembling tree bark.
Thankfully, you’re rescued once you start seriously dating someone. You at least get an occasional ice cream or banana split on date night.
Eventually you get married and you want to start things out right, so you limit your snacks to a balance of healthy fruits and vegetables for snacks and an occasional splurge snack item.
Of course, what you don’t talk about is how your nightstand drawer is packed to the brim with Ghirardelli Squares. And your husband makes sure not to let on that half his office space is reserved for exactly the same snacks he ate in middle school.
Then everything comes full circle: you have a kid of your own. Feeling like you owe it to your child to help them eat healthy, and that somehow you can help them avoid the terrible Snacking Circle of Life, you push apple slices and ants on a log on your child.
At night, when your child is tucked in bed, you sneak to your secret stash high above the reach of little arms, and enjoy your guilty pleasure, all the while wondering if you could change your child’s future just by getting rid of all the chairs in the house.
I love laughing out loud every time I visit NickMom and I hope you laughed a little bit at my #MotherFunny post. Check out a couple of my favorite NickMom.com posts. 59 Ways You’re such a mom and What Does Your Snack Offering Say About You. You can also find NickMom on Facebook.