I have a problem.
When my children ask what is available for dessert, and the answer is "we don't have any dessert at the moment," I feel like a bad mommy. It's as though I've failed to meet some basic criteria for a happy childhood. What's that? The cookies are all gone, and we finished off the ice cream? Mo-ther!
Of course, they don't really sound like that. In fact, I have no doubt that the mommy guilt I suffer is far greater than any angst or disappointment they may feel in those moments. And truly, they don't seem to be suffering. They'll almost always shrug, then go on with their day.
The thing is, I rarely have to give that answer: I make sure of that. We usually have some kind of treat, be it cookies, ice cream, homemade Power Bars (one my absolute favorites!), or something else. The One Dessert Per Day rule which we instituted a few months ago has helped our supply hold out longer, I suppose. But still, I do try to stay on top of it. I like having something available. Not only for my kids, of course, but Jeff enjoys them, too. As do I, the sugar addict.
I do believe that Americans eat too many sweets for our own good. And even with natural sweeteners, I think moderation is best. But I can't seem to shake this need to have something available for my family. Even if we don't eat it...which usually, of course, we do.
(Actually, I have improved a little in that area. I now try to keep myself to a somewhat vague dessert-every-other-day-or-so rule. I do much better if I do that, both with general health and with my own mentality. But I do still love my sweets!)
I've thought of deliberately making fewer desserts. I would like my children to grow accustomed to not having treats of this kind on a daily basis. It would be healthy to not feel entitled to something sweet, to have it be more of a treat. I've heard of families who make dessert a special, once-a-week treat. But I'm not quite sure if we could handle that!
And my children do not see fruit as a dessert item. Perhaps it's because I serve them so much fruit as it is - fruit and dessert are not in the same category in their minds, at all.
So I suppose we're a work in progress. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to let go of my mommy guilt, and truly realize that my children will survive if they don't have a sweet treat available to them every single. Maybe someday I'll take the plunge, and take a break from supplying my family with goodies.
But for now, I have No Bake Cookies in the fridge, and smoothie popsicles hardening in the freezer, and plans to make ice cream someday soon. After all, in the heat of summer one needs some creature comforts....