Lately I have been having a huge issue with a topic that Daddy and I just don’t see eye to eye on. Since it directly involves the kids I am not sure what to do. No, this is not a post about religion, but it does have to do with my core values and beliefs, my love of animals.
If you read by blog regularly you probably know these two things about me, I have been a vegetarian (no meat, chicken, fish etc.) for over 21 years, and while I am steadfast in my beliefs I understand that I cannot force those beliefs on others. While I can educate them, ultimately everyone has the right to make their own decision about how they live there life.
So it probably comes as no surprise when I tell you that Daddy is not a vegetarian. Understandably so, since in his previous life he was a chef, and really you cannot do well in that industry without consuming a boat load of animal products. While I never loved it, I loved him, and I made peace with it. He loved me enough to keep his meat-eating down to a minimum (only a couple of times a week) and was very careful to clean up right after (cross contamination is a big worry for me because I will get very very sick).
But, since maybe November I have taken up real issue with his meat-eating. Perhaps it’s because I am back at work and I run with a crew of vegans/vegetarians, or perhaps because I have watched a lot of good documentaries lately including If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls with Sir Paul McCartney. After some thought, I think the biggest reason is because the girls are getting to that age where they can eat meat, and my son has started eating more of it.
Of course I know that I can’t keep them vegetarian forever, but the thought of putting dead animal flash in their little precious bodies breaks my heart, both for them, and the animal that had a horrible life and death so they could eat it. At Christmas we hosted the in-laws for dinner and they brought and cooked a ham, and I was literally brought to tears watching them “enjoy” the poor dead pig.
It’s not even that I have a problem with eating animals per se, it is the way that they are treated while alive and inhumanely slaughtered that bothers me. You know, I actually helped nurse a pig myself. Her name was Wiggles, and she fell off a truck on the highway and shattered her leg. I had no idea how intelligent or caring pigs could be. She loved her sweet potatoes and at night before I would go home she would get upset if I didn’t tuck her in. She was eventually adopted by a hobby farmer and is now a happy and healthy thousand pounds.
So while I could sit here and tell you stories about all of the baby raccoons I have bottlefed or the baby chicks I have rescued, I will get back to the topic. What do I do about feeding the children?
Do I just go back to pretending like it doesn’t upset me when Daddy feeds my son bacon? I mean, it’s one thing for him to choose to eat the way he does, but these are MY children too. This weekend he went away with the kids and much to my horror gave the twins meatballs. I would have sobbed since they have never had meat before technically, but I consoled myself by realizing that despite our best efforts they have likely eaten at least part of a dog kibble at some point (and yes, I feel bad about feeding my animals meat too, but cats are carnivorous so you can’t get around it).
Am I a hypocrite? Partially. While I don’t feed my kids meat, they still drink milk, and I hate the dairy industry too. Like I said, I am not against milk, just the way animals are treated. If I knew a better way around it, I would take it, and I am looking into other options, but I feel that my kids need milk to be healthy and that’s where my mothering instinct kicks in and overrides my natural opinions.
However, lately I have been feeling like maybe I can raise healthy kids without meat, it’s just that our society has been brainwashed into thinking you can’t. Our version of “normal” really isn’t so normal, but we can’t approach it critically anymore. I definitely think that’s part of what’s got me upset. Everyday I see lots of great vegetarian recipes for kids and I think, hey, if I am actually going to cook, wouldn’t it be great to cook something we can all eat??? Meanwhile, Daddy is cooking steak for him and my son while I silently stew in the corner.
So while I struggle with these demons I am interested to hear what you think (NOT about being a vegetarian) but how you can come to terms with your partner when you don’t agree on some of your core philosophies. Especially, what do you decide to do with the kids?