Why I Let My Kids Eat Fast Food

Why I Let My Kids Eat Fast Food
Why I Let My Kids Eat Fast Food

Parenthood is a maze/quagmire/gauntlet of choices and decisions that come at you faster than a swarm of Hitchcock's birds from the second you find out she's pregnant until the day you waffle down your last bit of oxygen.

It isn't usually easy, but that's kind of what makes it cool.
These days, though, there's just too much information. Trying to make your mind up about what's best for your kids used to be a matter of talking to your mom on the phone, ignoring her know-it-all advice, and then following your guts (which just so happened to be a happy swamp of real butter and steak and mint chocolate chip ice cream that you housed last night during Three's Company).

Related: 12 foods to NEVER feed your kids and 12 healthier alternatives

Nowadays, though, the fun is over. You want an answer or an idea, and you type it into Google search and get 60 trillion shots of differing opinion jammed down your throat until it's coming out your nose like Dr. Pepper used to do when you laughed with your best friends.

And that's okay, I guess. You can't stop progress and who would want to anyways?

But still, sometimes it seems like the only difference between an internet search result and your old Magic 8 Ball is that the ball was less confusing. Hey, those Magic 8 Balls were straight shooters if nothing else, weren't they?

What I'm getting at is this. When I first knew I was about to become a dad, I started up my own Amazon warehouse, ordering every damn book about parenting and child-rearing that I could spend money on. And pretty soon I had me a huge monument to "How To Raise 'Em Right" on my nightstand. I read through a few and was amazed at how much obvious stuff they spouted out. Half of them were so high-horsey that it genuinely seemed as if the author was pretty sure that he or she had invented the milky boob somewhere along the way.

Three books in and I'd had more than enough. I took the whole stack of dead tree skin down to the Salvation Army and left them in a bin with someone's old overalls and a bag of nick-nack songbirds.

Related: The 8 most obese cities in America (and what they LOVE to eat)

Since then, my wife and I have been doing it pretty much old school. Like our parents did, and all their parents and grandparents before them, we've been practicing this ancient technique called Don't Worry About It Too Much. We have replaced big Google searches with following our hearts and our heads, and we have been having a fairly enjoyable time of it, too.

A fellow writer here at Babble wrote a piece the other day about how he's never taken his kid to McDonald's. Fair enough, I thought. It's no big secret that fast food isn't really the best food around. But then I got to thinking about how much my three-year-old daughter really loves going there. I got to thinking about how much I love hearing her yell out from the back seat when we're pulling in to the parking lot to hit the drive-thru.

"There it is! Old McDonald's! That's the one!" she hollers with joy. Old McDonald's, she calls it.
And it's not to put a twist on it or anything, but because she has confused that old song title with the burger joint and so for her it's Old McDonald's. I like that a whole lot. To correct her would be one of my biggest failures in life, you know?

So, I read this other dad's article and how he was all proud of never taking his kid for a Filet-O-Fish or a Happy Meal and I started remembering how many times my mom used to take me and my brother there when we were growing up. It was such a treat too, man. We didn't go there everyday or anything, but after Little League games or whenever Mom was busy dragging us around with her while she went food shopping or had to exchange a pair of fake Jams she bought me at K-mart, we'd swing through for a burger and fries and, my goodness how we loved it so much.

It just wouldn't have been the same if she reached back around from her driver's seat and handed us each a Ziploc of sliced cucumbers and carrot sticks. In fact, it would have stunk.

Related: 11 ways to make your favorite junk foods healthier

The years have gone by now. These days I'm the gut in the driver's seat deciding what to hand back to my kids. And yeah, I'm not gonna lie, there are days when I am riding down the road with a big chocolate milkshake covered in whipped cream in my hand, getting ready to pass it to the little girl in the backseat with electric eyes so aglow that you'd think I was handing her the keys to the proverbial kingdom, and I look at the hulking plastic cup in my fist and I wonder what would happen to me - to her - if I were to pull out the iPhone and do a Google search about milkshakes and kids and the high price we all pay as parents who go to Old McDonald's.

But then, my guts chime in their two cents and my heart sings its little song about love and chocolate and how they go together like sunshine and green grass. I feel her mitts wrap around the thing and take it from my grip.

And I could care less about what the rest of the world is doing. Life is way shorter than we want to believe it is. And there are a lot of delicious cheeseburgers to eat before we're done.

We're going old school over here people.

And it tastes like Freedom.

Or like Freedom Fries.

- By Serge Bielanko
Follow Serge on Babble

For 41 copycat recipes from your fave fast food joints, visit Babble!


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