Kendra Broekhuis is an author and a mom and a recent subject of mom-shaming on the internet. She posted a humorous photo of an "updated food pyramid" comprising the foods her kids will eat: a Goldfish base with groups of chicken tenders, ketchup, ranch, and fruit snacks divided by lines of string cheese and sticks of butter.
It was obviously meant to be funny! Some parents really do deal with picky eaters who won't touch anything healthy. Plus, just about every parent I know has stashes of Goldfish on hand at all times. But Kendra received and insane amount of vitriol directed at her parenting, something literally none of the commenters know anything about.
Kendra simply captioned the photo, "I updated the Food Pyramid to be a more accurate depiction of what my children are willing to eat. #Motherhood"
In the week-and-a-half or so since it's been posted, the post has gained 6,600 reactions, 66,000 shares, and 16,000 comments.
Many of the comments are positive. In fact, probably the vast majority of them are people tagging their friends and family members to share it with them. Lots of moms relate, and many others, even adults, said that this resembles their own food pyramids.
The official Goldfish account even reached out to Kendra in the comments and wrote, "Hi Kendra! We love this recreation of the food pyramid adding our crackers as a foundation food group. Please DM us when you can!"
Something tells me Kendra's about to be sent all the Goldfish crackers she could ever possibly need.
It was all fun and games and free Goldfish until the mommy shamers found the post and started in with the hate. First of all, the picture was clearly posted in a lighthearted manner.
Second of all, not that it should matter, but in the post directly before this one, Kendra writes about how her kids were complaining about how tough the pot roast she made for dinner was. So this food pyramid obviously doesn't indicate their actual, entire diet.
Third of all, even if it did, who are these randos to judge?! Maybe her kids are neuroatypical or autistic or just extremely picky eaters, which is definitely a thing. The people writing these horrible comments know a grand total of nothing about her life, her kids, her parenting style, etc.
Yet, they felt they were entitled to criticize all of that.
If you've ever had an extremely picky child at home, you absolutely know "they eat what you serve" is categorically false. When I was growing up, my friend's little sister would only eat white foods (mashed potatoes, plain pasta, white bread, etc.). It was a struggle at every meal.
And you know what? She's fine now. She eats adventurously as an adult and she's perfectly healthy. Some kids are naturally extremely picky even if they aren't autistic or display other neuroatypical behaviors. And it's no Facebook commenter's place to judge what a parent feeds their kids.
The idea of buying the food "God" made is laughable. Everything you can buy in a store has been modified in some way. The criticism of children not getting enough nutrients is much more the fault of a greedy, disgusting food industry than it is the fault of parents just trying to get their kids to eat something.
Although Kendra was definitely aware of the stir her lighthearted photo caused, she wasn't about to let the nastiness get to her. In a follow-up post, she posted a quote from Cheaper By the Dozen 2 that reads, "There is no way to be a perfect parent but a million ways to be a really good one."
Along with the quote, she wrote, "I've been on the receiving end of some unkind words from strangers on the interwebs this week in regards to parenting. None of it was worth spending my brain waves on, but it did make me think a little.
"The truth is, I can be super judge-y of other people's parenting too. I think we're all pretty passionate about some of the ways we choose to parent our kids. And on the other hand, there are times I feel completely lost or insecure as a mom, where I just want to yell into my pillow that I don't know what I'm doing.
"And it reminded me of this lovely quote from this lovely movie that we recently re-enjoyed. None of us is a perfect parent. But there are a lot of really good parents out there who are doing the best they can with what they have and by the grace of God that is enough."
Good thing Kendra is as centered and grounded as she is about parenting because so many of the comments were so judgmental and so mean. But she understands that even if the picture was a joke, even if it was an exaggerated picture of what her kids eat, it might be the reality for other parents, and that's OK.