Once upon a time when I was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, I had a pretty strict household. My mom had married a guy that was pretty rigid in the rules department. There was a legendary argument about “no glass of water in your bedroom.” What got to me was my stepdad couldn’t provide a satisfactory reason why I could not have water in my bedroom. And sorry, “because I told you so” isn’t satisfactory. My mother herself was fairly laissez faire about some things, but had her sticking points. Food and nutrition was one of them. Don’t get me wrong: she wasn’t one of these “only free-range, organic, no GMO, gluten-free, free trade” kind of granola moms. But she didn’t want me eating a bunch of crap. The only sweet that was brought into that house on a weekly basis was my stepdad’s peanut butter Tastee-Kakes, which were forbidden to me. There were no chips. I was allowed some popcorn – the old air-popped variety. Very rarely were there cookies, and those were doled out fairly carefully (and frankly, they were the crappy bargain variety). Soda??? What’s that?
Side note here: even as a kid, I didn’t like soda. The carbonation burned my throat. So while I’m bitching about the stuff I didn’t have as a kid, I really can’t say that I minded – then or now – the lack of soda in the household.
My mom did her best to cook meals for us. I don’t think of myself as picky. I think my stepdad was pickier. Hell, I love Brussels sprouts, for crying out loud. Still, my poor mom caught hell trying to make stuff we’d all eat. “Meatloaf eggballs” were a favorite: these were meatloaf-wrapped boiled eggs with ketchup on top, usually served with chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni and a can of French cut green beans. It was a protein-bomb, but very hearty on a cold Pennsylvania winter’s night. I remember tuna casserole made me want to puke. One night, she experimented with some kind of pineapple chicken casserole. My stepdad threw up in the kitchen sink. To be fair, it may have been a stomach virus, but I wasn’t about to eat a damn thing after that.
This zeal for healthy-ish eating extended to beverages. I was only allowed milk, water (yeah, right), or juice. Specifically, I could have Juicy Juice – the only juice without added sugar. I was allowed one large tin a week. Once that was gone, it was back to milk and water. I was ok with milk. Until I turned 17 or 18. Then I never wanted to look at a glass of that white demon juice ever again. The thought of drinking it made/makes me want to gag.
I got milked out. I can honestly say I have not had even a swallow of milk in at least 22 years.
To be fair, it obviously did great things for my body. I’ve never broken a major bone. When I had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled, the dentist had to literally put his knee on my shoulder to gain enough force to yank it out, swearing he’d never pull the other 2 for me. He said the bone in my jaw was “robust.” I think that was a compliment.
So now I’m a mom with kids. We’re a whole milk household. I’ve offered my kids juice – sparingly – but they don’t seem to dig it much. I do let them have flavoring in their milk sometimes. Not always. To my knowledge, they’ve never had soda, and I’m super freaking happy about that.
Here’s my question to y’all out there: Am I a bitch because I feel like putting a damn padlock on the milk to keep my husband out? He likes to drink milk. He’ll drink several glasses a day, sometimes draining the last gallon. When I express concern that the kids won’t have milk for that night/the next morning, he’s pretty flippant about it. Yes, I know my kids will drink water and won’t starve to death without a glass of milk. But geeeeeez. Shouldn’t the milk be for the kids? Drink beer instead, damn it.
Am I right or wrong? This is a serious disagreement in my household.