Do you ever feel like you’re living with the Cleavers?
(If you answered “yes,” then feel free to skip the rest of this post ’cause you’re livin’ the dream! If you have no knowledge of the Cleavers, then you need to study up, friend.)
And we certainly don’t live in a world that is anything like it was when that show was popular. Can you imagine June Cleaver with an iPad in her kitchen? Hahahaha! Ha?
But wait … But stop and think about the food that she fed to Ward, Wally and the Beaver (and Eddie Hascal, of course). I’m betting that it was a closer approximation to real food than anything served in most households today. And I would also imagine that because it was a part of their culture, it was much easier to get fresh milk and local meats, fruits and vegetables than it is for most of us.
Of course, I do realize that this was, in fact, a television show. It does, however, depict with some degree of accuracy, the general reality of life during that era, albeit with an overly dramatized glossiness.
Although we are not very far removed from the Cleaver decade, our reality has “advanced” so much more rapidly than similar passages of time throughout the course of history. They had black-and white television and AM radio; we have iPads, iPods, television in myriad forms, DVRs, Blu-Ray and on and on and on. And while they had milk delivery and local farmers, we have GMO-laden milk, GoGurt, Skittles, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Funions, and McDonalds.
Frankly, I think I’d rather have to deal with the Beaver’s trouble-making than have to deal with the constant complaining that I get as a result of the overwhelming barrage of junk food that my kids come into contact with each day.
No matter how much we would like to insulate our children from all of that nastiness, they are so inundated with technology and well-targeted advertising that it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Plus, if you are coming to the real food table as we are, with children who have already been directly exposed to junk food, it is difficult to divorce them from it.
And so, while I would sometimes like to live in a Cleaver-esque reality where I (as June) tell them in the most gosh, darn, aw-shucks way possible that they should really avoid those M&Ms and then they say “Gee, okay, ma” and happily run off to play outside, I do realize that this is but a dream.
I set out on this journey to get my kids eating fewer things out of packages and more things that come from my kitchen. But I also recognize the realities of the world in which we live – a world that includes lots of things that I would prefer that they never experience, but that experiencing these things is a consequence of their reality. I don’t want them to ever feel ostracized or deprived because I don’t allow them things that other children are allowed, but at the same time, I want to educate them so that they are capable of making intelligent choices when I kick ’em out into the cold, cruel world and they are forced to navigate these waters on their own.
So, we make compromises. We have Dunkin’ Donuts. We indulge at the county fair. We go out for ice cream. I don’t freak out if someone gives them a handful of Skittles. We also stay away from fast food. We try to eat out in places that serve locally sourced food or, at the very least, places that make an effort to be real.
And I have learned to be okay with that. We do the best that we can, keeping in mind the reality of our reality.
Even if it’s nothing like the Cleavers!