Why It's OK to Go To McDonald's (Even If You're Crunchy)
I'm a sorta crunchy mom. I'm like a 5 on the Crappy Crunchy scale. Hopefully we can still be friends. (If you haven't started reading Crappy Pictures, you should. Amber is one of my favorite bloggers.)
I cloth diaper. I believe in child-led weaning. I co-sleep. I can wrap a toddler to my back in 20 seconds. Our home is full of eco-friendly, hand made, and antique toys. I make toys and bake with vegetables. But every once in a while I do something many crunchy mamas would cringe at. I just go to McDonald's! And I let my kids eat there, too. No, we don't go often. (It's kind of a big deal when we do.) And we don't eat there every time we're there. Sometimes we just go crash their playground and bring our own snacks & water. But other times, I totally buy a Happy Meal.
Why? Because it's not going to hurt you if it's just once in a while, the fries are good, it's easy, and there are not many choices in rural Maine. And it's fun! This past year or so, I really just quit caring what other crunchy parents think of my choices. People who eschew McDonald's are just missing out on fries and Shamrock shakes. I know they have flecks of plastic; I just don't care once a year. I watched SuperSize Me. I know what I'm getting into. I make responsible food decisions 95% of the time. But sometimes I just want a Coke and some fries. And maybe 3 minutes to use the bathroom alone while older kids keep an eye on them in the gerbil maze. A nice preview of the future.
Crunchy is good, it's a lifestyle to guide your choices and help you make peaceful and environmentally ethical decisions in your day-to-day interactions and consumption, but it's not a religion.
Another reason I don't mind McDonald's is it's a great chance for them to socialize with kids they don't already know and a mixed group of ages while I actually maybe finish a meal. So they get to practice their manners and meeting new people as well as their communication skills - with kids who talk much more articulately as well as with kids who don't talk much yet. The last time we were there, they met an extremely sweet and generous little girl who took G in like her own baby sister, helping her through the daunting giant gerbil maze and holding her down the tube slide over and over again. She loved holding her, and she even gave G her Happy Meal toy - and considering it's a My Little Pony and she's only 7, that was pretty incredibly selfless. I like my kids to meet kids like that. You can learn a lot from the world. You can learn a lot from other people. And sometimes, that's just at McDonald's. Simple as that. (And what parent doesn't love lessons in sharing?)