In this day and age, everyone has the right to choose what kind of diet and lifestyle they want to lead. Some people choose to be vegan, others only eat fish and some people consume meat products for breakfast, dinner and tea.
But, while grown adults have the autonomy to decide for themselves what lifestyle they choose to live, most children are likely to follow that of their parents, rather than making any drastic lifestyle choices of their own – until they’re a bit older, anyway.
That’s exactly what happened when one couple opted to raise their child as a vegan as that aligned with their belief system and fitted in with their own lifestyle and diet, until they split up.
“I became vegan when my ex and I moved in together because he was vegan and he didn’t like there being animal products in the house,” the mum explained in a post on Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum. “I learned more about the way food was made and I agreed. I was vegan while I was pregnant and we’ve raised our daughter vegan for the past eight-ish years.”
However, the couple divorced around 15 months ago after he was unfaithful, but they were doing their best to co-parent their daughter, making any executive decisions about her life together – or so she thought.
After picking their daughter up from her ex partner’s house one day, the daughter said she was hungry, but refused the apple her mum offered her, instead demanding chicken nuggets as they passed the golden arches of McDonald’s.
“She has a full blown meltdown demanding chicken nuggets. We get home and she’s, like, blowing snot bubbles she’s so enraged. She howls her way through a bowl of leftover soup,” the mum explains, adding that she had chicken nuggets in the freezer, but didn’t want to reward bad behaviour.
“She hates me, I’m a terrible mum, dad would have let her eat chicken nuggets. She wore herself out crying.”
However, the next morning the young girl woke up and felt as though she’d upset her mum and kept questioning her if she ‘hated her’ for eating meat, which, obviously, she did not.
“I spent the entire drive to school reassuring her that I’m not angry with her but that I was surprised that she wanted them. I also reiterated I wasn’t happy with her behaviour of screaming and hollering when she didn’t get what she wanted,” the mum continued. “I understand that sometimes our emotions feel big but we have to try and be in control of them and not the other way around.”
She went on to say that while she was not in way, shape or form annoyed at her daughter, she was furious at her ex for not informing her that their vegan child was now eating meat.
“I wasn’t aware our hitherto vegan daughter was now eating meat and I feel like that’s a decision that I should have been informed about,” she said. “I called him after she went to bed and he told me I was being uptight and he didn’t tell me because he knew I’d overreact, ‘I’m controlling and I don’t need to be privy to every single thing he does when our daughter is with him’.”
The mum added: “I’m fing MAD. There are vegan options at McDonalds – he didn’t have to feed her chicken but since he did, I would have appreciated a heads up. Also, for a dude who gave me a hard time for craving Oreos (which are fing vegan) while pregnant with her, kinda annoyed that he’s shovelling c**p in her mouth hand over fist taking her to McDonalds every week.”
Following her post, the woman was met with mixed responses over whether she had the right to be angry at her ex for feeding their daughter meat without her knowledge.
While several suggested that the mum should not try and control her daughter and her diet, others agreed that it is a decision they should have made together.
Since the incident, the mum has come back to Reddit to give an update on the food situation and it sounds like things have worked out for the best for everyone.
“So the kiddo experimented with meat some. We were actually kind of fortunate this happened before quarantine and lockdowns because we could still visit my parents who are meat-eaters and who do cook that kind of food and give her some better options to choose from,” she explained, adding that her daughter loves eggs and the pair have been cooking these together twice a week so the daughter can learn to make them on her own.
She went on to say that while most of the meals she cooks at home are plant-based, they often go out for breakfast on Saturdays and the little girl can order whatever she wants, including meals which include meat. Everyone’s a winner.