As a young mom, I was always expected to finish what my kids left on their plate. It was backed by the thought that the food should not be wasted. Why are the cold, unappetizing leftovers reserved only for the mamas? Why the other family members who love the child not expected to eat them? Why does the burden of saving the planet by eating the leftovers the sole responsibility of the mother? I have politely finished off many leftovers at parties, family functions and even at my own home. Out of being judged, out of guilt and also out of habit.
Have you wondered why? Imagine if one day you don’t feel like finishing the kids leftover at a family get together and just handover that plate to the father and pick up a fresh plate! The idea of expecting the mother to eat the child’s leftovers is not completely out of the concern of avoiding food wastage but more. Have you noticed how some moms in restaurants eat while balancing a child on their lap while the papa sits opposite and eats in peace? Also, observe how mothers will order a dish that she and the child can share while the rest of the family will order as per their preference. It might not happen with you but sadly such examples are more common than you might think.
Why does this happen-
1.Society has painted Motherhood as a duty of sacrifice, discomfort and adjustments.
2.Women are expected to know how to cook or at least understand the effort that goes into making a meal. The sight of leftovers makes them guilty so they simply eat. Imagine throwing homemade gajar ka halwa or the khichri with homemade ghee that took hours to make. Or the cook you hired who charges you by the hour! Leftovers then seem more appetizing than the guilt don’t they? Eating leftovers is not a crime. We all do it but it should be a personal choice.
3. Women are Judged. A child not eating enough, not listening to you becomes a direct reflection of your parenting.
4. Feeding and looking after the child remains the mother’s primary job. She is on the duty round the clock.The man deserves a fresh plate with hot food while women can learn to adjust.
6. ‘Hamare Zamane Main Dialogue’- Patriarchy will remind and expect you to be good homemakers who know how to spend every penny wisely and how to effectively run a house. Most times the expectations like these are from women enforced upon younger women.
7. We as Moms want to set better examples for our children so we eat the leftovers. Are we sending the right message?
8. No one is forced to eat leftovers but there are subtle hints or disapproval. Not all women have the support, encouragement and understading and hence small topics liked these are important conversations.
Here, I am not recommending food wastage but thinking about how we can change the mindset. While moms champion recipes with leftovers and it must be appreciated but equal dining experience should be for all genders.
**Small portions for kids will reduce big wastage of food. Small changes in our mindset will lead to big changes in our society.
**The health experts claim it leads to overeating by moms and adds to unnecessary weight and leads to mindless eating.
** Grab a fresh plate and dine well. Feel free to order a dish you want to eat.
** Request family to hold the child so that you can enjoy your meal.
** Children will watch and learn that wasting food is not right because you insist on it. Women deserve to eat properly with respect.
‘Dump the leftovers. Grab a fresh plate. The shattering sound is not of the plateyou dumpedbut the patriarchy you broke.’ -Faujimom
This women’s Day #choosetochallenge
(*image courtesy Google.)