(archive from Feb. 4, 2013)
That title may sound harsh, but if you’d seen my addiction to diet Coke you would understand. I’ve been known to dig for loose change under the seats of my car in order to feed the machine for 20 ounces of the stuff. If I didn’t have a diet Coke by 10am my head would be pounding. Not only was it an addiction, it was a habit. Waiting in the check-out line, I’d grab a DC. Heading to a meeting, I’d grab a DC. Going on a road trip, I’d pack the cooler with DC. You get the picture.
Now here’s the issue. I rarely let the kids drink soda. My two “originals” were used to this rule, and had no problem ordering milk with their kids’ meals. My husband’s kids, not only weren’t used to it, two of them were already teenagers when we married, so needless to say they had no interest in giving up their own soda habits. And as for the little one, she actually threw herself on the floor of a store and threw a full-on screaming, kicking tantrum when I refused to buy her a soda. After all, there I was, diet Coke in hand, refusing to buy one for her.
I’d love to say that I saw the hypocrisy immediately, but no. I eat healthy 90% of the time, and figured that if diet Coke was my only vice then I deserved the pleasure. What changed my viewpoint was when I gave it up cold turkey. I was feeling forgetful and foggy, and wanted to try a cleanse. After getting past the detox, I began to feel so good I just couldn’t bear to continue consuming that poison.
Let’s blame it on the brain fog that it still took me several months to realize that I was finally modeling the healthy choices I was trying to teach ALL the kids. And yes, I occasionally give in to their pleas for a soda. But I love it that they now know that it’s a treat, not a dietary staple.
So parents here’s the tough lesson I learned. If we do something that’s not healthy for our body, our mind or our soul, we have to give it up. Kids model what we do, not what we say. Sometimes, as in my case, it takes bringing new kids into the equation to see that it’s not balanced.