I’ve read and saluted many a post about ditching the Mum Guilt, but I have to confess…I failed at ditching it today.

Now, I was born in 1981, and raised as a child of the 80’s. I blame my youth culture, but I do have one guilty pleasure. Or should that be Guilty McPleasure, with fries please. And, the classic irony, a diet coke.

The hubby and I don’t have a bad diet or standard of living. We far from eat crap. But, in our pre children days we could often be found rolling out of Nandos at the weekend, or of a Sunday Morning hangover cure MaccyDs. In fact, the hubby spent his gap year not digging a well in Africa, but working in Burger King (he has never yet cooked me a flame grilled whopper though, in case you were wondering). It was enough to send him running to the hills of University after 12 months, but not enough to deter him from a cheeky dirty burger at any opportunity (probably most lunch breaks, after his ham sandwhich has been binned in disgust).

Our kids were not weaned on chips or burgers. No, we blended butternut squash and froze up cauliflower cheese into ice cube trays like the best of them. We were horrified when Nanny tried to feed our 13 month old chocolate buttons that Easter, and we bought special ‘baby crisps’ for probably way longer than necessary.

But, here we are, with a (almost four year old) daughter who can recognise the Golden Arches from a mile away, and affectionately requested ‘Donald Duck’ for dinner when we asked her what she would like as a special post injections tea. Does that make us bad parents? Are you horrified?

But, is it so bad? I’m asking myself of course as much as I’m asking you. If a kid has good proper home cooked dinners most days (to the point I probably need to chill a bit more and for my own sanity have a few more fishfinger days).

I’m somewhat lost with the healthy kids eating too…I mean, our health visitor advised us to offer jam sandwhiches as an ideal first finger food. Full fat cheese and milk are all good…but raisins and grapes are too sweet. Hold on, didn’t the dentist say Milk is bad for teeth too…I thought milk was great for teeth?

And bread…keeping kids alive for generations…has too much salt? Brown has too much fibre? White is too processed?

And don’t even get me started on sugar, the devil, and whether it’s better or worse than sweetners? Someone recently told me that low sugar options are far worse than full sugar because of all the artificial sweeteners. Oh God, now I’m really confused!

I’m not daft, and I realise an apple or a carrot is better for my kids than a chocolate bar. Things truly aren’t that bad…our kids could and would eat fruit all day, and the veg is always first to be cleared from their plates. To the point I’ve actually told them ‘no more fruit, have a biscuit’ for fear of dealing with horrendous stomach consequences.

So I’m sure it’s not just my very occasional trip to see Ronald McDonald (where did he go?) that’s keeping the multi ker squillion pound organisation going. We’ll enjoy a little of what we fancy, in sensible moderation.

But, I would love to see some Mums faces if we sent out invites to a McDonalds birthday party…now that’s a throwback that should make a comeback. Complete with the freaky clown.

Would I be cast to the sin bin of parenting failure? Or would they all smile, and breathe a huge sigh of relief, that we can all stop hiding the happy meal toys, and embrace our McGuilty pleasures together. Every now and then, of course.


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55 thoughts on “McGuilt

  1. mummyitsok Reply

    A bit of everything is fine! My LO loves a happy meal he’s still alive! #MarvMondays

  2. janeb Reply

    I think everything is fine in moderation. My son eats very healthily but he still likes Happy Meals and recognises those golden arches. Here in Spain, the Spanish often organise McDonalds Birthday Parties and nobody blinks at the thought except some of the ‘ foreign’ Mums who frown at the Happy Meal Lunch. Maybe it’s more taboo for us in the UK as here, there isn’t so much emphasis on Organic etc. fartglitter

  3. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) Reply

    God it’s all fine in moderation hun; ditch the guilt. My girlie adores pizza hut. We have been a couple of times in the last month. I try to get her to eat as best she can the rest of the time; she’s good with veg but poo with fruit. It’s hard to get it perfect but as long as they are growing, healthy and happy a few chips are good πŸ™‚ xx #fartglitter

    1. MMT Reply

      Phew, I was somewhat nervousness for my dietician blogger buddy to read this! *breathes sigh of relief* xxx

  4. sisterk1n Reply

    I agree, we took our kids to Wimpy (retrrrrroooo) and they loved it! A little bit of everything makes a child far more open-minded than vetoing things out of parental shame. #fartglitter

    1. MMT Reply

      Wimpy! Posh πŸ˜‰ do they still do real plates? thanks for the moral support πŸ˜‰ I think just having a break from cooking makes a happier Mum (or dad) and therefore a happier family πŸ˜‰

  5. islandliving365 Reply

    haha, I know what you mean about people being very anti McDonalds now. When I was a kid I loved a McDonalds birthday party. We go for the odd treat as I believe that in moderation it is fine. However, youngest tied a toy that she got from her happy meal to her bag and was asked by another Mum where she had got it from. When oldest said mcdonalds the Mum tutted very loudly! I just laughed. #marvmondays

  6. Squirmy Popple Reply

    Everything in moderation! I feel like that’s a good eating strategy for both feeding children and feeding yourself. I consider myself a pretty healthy eater (vegetarian, home-cooked meals, lots of veg, all that good stuff), but LOVE cake and eat it a few times a week. And that’s okay. πŸ™‚ #fartglitter

  7. thismummylark Reply

    Everything in moderation πŸ™‚ i try and eat healthy but cant resist the odd treat same will be for my son. I try and make sure he eats fruit and veg…watch his sugar and salt but i let him have some chocolate…the odd pack of quavers or some fried chips and i dont feel bad for it. Id be happy to take him to a mcdonalads birthday party

    1. MMT Reply

      Great! You’re invited to the #coolmumclub Christmas lunch… Do you want to supersize yours?… πŸ˜‰ x

  8. Mrs Tubbs Reply

    McDonalds still do parties. I’d be sorely tempted … πŸ˜‰ A little bit of what you fancy does you good imo. It’s alot of what you fancy that gets you in trouble.

  9. thebrightnessofthesedays Reply

    I was instructed to go to a weaning course with my first, it was sort of compulsory for all first time mums according to our local health visitor team. The whole thing was a bit of a farce, I can only assume a box-ticking exercise, the best bit being when the lady leading the course resorted to picking plastic fruit & vegetables out of a basket and telling us what they were (!) and not knowing the word for: “broccoli”! McDonald’s didn’t do us any harm did it? Everything in moderation! You do raise another good point too: whatever happened to the main man himself? #MarvMondays

  10. butterflymum83 Reply

    I figure everything is fine in moderation. My son has healthy homecooked meals most nights but sometimes he has a KFC or a Nandos or something from the chip shop and I’m not going to lose sleep over it. He had his first McDonalds just last week and lived to tell the tale.

    Frankly, I’m sick of being told what to feed my kids or how to raise them in general. Jamie Oliver and his Ban Sugar Brigade are starting to really get on my tits. Sugar is not heroin, a little isn’t going to hurt anyone. And what’s in YOUR cake recipes, eh Jamie? I’ve got a chocolate brownie recipe of yours which definitely doesn’t fit your new attitude. Just saying.

    Thanks for sharing πŸ˜€

  11. Robyn Reply

    I had fairly high ideals when we started out with the weaning, but now I feel like you have to pick your battles! Ours is only 15 months old so he hasn’t had fast food yet, but he does eat more of the fish-finger type rubbish than I’d planned. I feed him what he eats for now, once we reach an age of reasoning (or bribery) I hope I’ll have a bit more leverage. And regarding the fast food, he’ll no doubt have it from time to time as a treat or emergency dinner (as we do).

  12. rhymingwithwine Reply

    We have taken the tots a couple of times for a McTreat and I must admit Miss Tot loved it! She now shouts “Old McDonald’s” every time we drive passed the golden arches. I think they’ve tried to move with the times and offer a few healthy alternatives now, (not that they’ve ended up in our happy meal box). I’m with you though, every now and then as a treat and part of an otherwise healthy and balanced diet. They McLove it! ;0)

  13. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows Reply

    Everything in moderation is my mission. Although, granted the days where our lad survives solely off tomato pasta and cheerios are a little more often than I’d like.

  14. PND Recovery Reply

    I haven’t got to the MaccyDs stage (my LO is 11mo) but I recon everyone does it once in a while, maybe a dirty little secret but as long as there’s a balance – I don’t think there’s any harm. Thanks for sharing, love your honesty. #coolmumclub

  15. maestromummy Reply

    So much about this post rings true for me! In our day, we were given everything in moderation& I don’t think our mothers worried half as much about salt content or a bit of sugar! I have definitely got more relaxed as my daughter has got older & she will often have the same evening meal as us. #coolmumclub

  16. mummyinatutu Reply

    At the end of the day, you have to do what you think is best or right with your child. It is your decision. It sounded like you gave her the meal as a treat and there is nothing wrong with that at all. I’m an 80’s child and I love Burger King and Maccy D’s and still indulge now. Do what you want and screw the world!


  17. Kate Tunstall, Refined Prose Reply

    Haha! I’m an advocate of a little bit of what you fancy. But can’t say the golden arches do it for me – mostly because it makes me ill! X

  18. Kyles Reply

    It sounds like you’re teaching healthy eating choices and moderation which is key. My husband was never allowed any treats as a kid and so now has no sense of balance. When I’m away he’ll eat junk takeaways for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’re right about the mixed messages with healthy eating, but as long as they’re eating lots of veggies and fruits I think you’re on the right track! Good job MMT! #coolmumclub

  19. wendy Reply

    You are doing fine, everything in moderation is the key I think. My boy is 2 and a half and he has had a few happy meals before, only ever as a treat and he is fine. He also eats fruit, veg and home cooked meals so I don’t think the odd trip to mcdonalds will do him any harm. Although, the first time we took him i did feel like a massive failure for days, I’m over that now though. What did happen to Ronald Mcdonald?xx #coolmumclub

  20. Someone's Mum Reply

    I was born in 1981 too and a trip for a Happy Meal once a month or so was such a lovely treat! I totally agree it needs to make a come back. It’s not like we’re going to feed it to them three times a day. Sadly, I think Ronald (And Grimace and the Hamburgler, remember them?!) was thought to be too close to marketing unhealthy food to children and he had to be pretty much scrapped. Sad times. I got a Little Mermaid figurine in a happy meal once. Loved that thing. #coolmumclub

  21. Nat Reply

    I must admit I hate the phrase ‘Everything in moderation’. Makes me imagine us all as just some kind of science experiment, writing into a log book ‘The subject was given moderate doses of chips and no ill effects thus far’.
    Great piece, especially the notes on bread! This drives me mental, like you say, kids have been surviving on bread for hundreds of years. Now its only to be eaten occasionally and kneaded by the milky soft hands of a rosy cheeked cherubs.

  22. littlebug Reply

    When I left home to go to university, I had McDonald’s ALL THE TIME – mainly because it had been near banned when I was growing up so it took on an exciting ‘forbidden fruit’ appeal. Definitely everything in moderation, I say!

  23. Kat @ Eat.Love.Live Reply

    Haha you have to pick your battles on where you place your mum guilt. Food is a hard thing! I was the mum who had all intentions of my daughter being a perfect eater but hen she got fussy. And then she had a chip at 15 months and it suddenly became her favourite. She hasn’t had McDonalds yet but you can’t shield your children forever and as long as it’s in moderation. Kat X #coolmumclub

  24. Mess and Merlot Reply

    So funny because it’s true! The evil chocolate feeding Grandparents and baby crisps in particular made me laugh, I’m too embarrassed to even think about my views on what other people fed their children BEFORE I EVEN HAD KIDS! I had no clue. As long as the kids know a trip through the Golden Arches is a rare treat I think we’re doing ok. Born in 1979 and raised on Findus Crispy Pancakes and Sunny D I think our kids are well ahead of us in the health stakes already.

  25. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Bring back the McDonalds bday parties – that’s how we rolled back in the day and we’re doing ok! Thanks for being the #coolmumclub co-hostess with the most-est as always xxx

  26. everythingsrosieandgeorge Reply

    I love this! There’s too much Mum guilt out there, and I feel like no matter what food I give to G someone, somewhere has condemned it as dangerous to children, so why even worry?! You can’t beat a Maccys breakfast sometimes, and if you say otherwise you’re lying xx

  27. beautybabyandme Reply

    McDonalds is such a treat!! We’ve all turned out pretty good given our McDonalds treats as kids!! Ditch the guilt hun you’re clearly doing fabulously!! xxx #coolmumclub

  28. Hannah G Reply

    Everythings ok in moderation, in fact I think its important that our littles get to have a little ‘treat’ once in a while, especially if they’ve been exceptionally good or been poorly sick. Absolutely no need to feel guilty πŸ™‚ x #coolmumclub

  29. Kerry Reply

    I often have guilt about a Mctreat, but if you’ve been out all day and going to get home late, sometimes I don’t want to cook! And besides I can spend hours cooking a lovely nutritious meal at home for them to leave/scream about/throw on the floor, or spend half hour in MaccyDs or likewise and have content, full happy children. Where’s the harm if it’s only now and then, and if nothing else it helps me keep my sanity and keep my dinner rage under control!

  30. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) Reply

    I think everything’s fine in moderation, don’t feel guilty about it! I’d love to see McDonalds birthday parties make a comeback too – not least because my OH is terrified of clowns. ;D x #coolmumclub

  31. Louise Reply

    I remember McDonalds being a huge treat when I was little and I have to confess that my two see it the same way. It’s become a bit of a post-Legoland indulgence for us (we pass one on our way home and as it would be quite late to cook dinner by the time we get home, it’s usually a stop-off point!). I agree with you though – everything in moderation. There’s definitely a lot more guilt attached to letting kids have McDonalds these days though – I saw a post on FB recently that was along the lines of “I’d rather admit to eating my placenta than letting my kids eat McDonalds” which made me laugh – sadly I think there’s a little too much truth in it though!

  32. min1980 Reply

    I definitely don’t think you need to feel guilty. I used to be petrified at the thought of Piglet ending up as a fussy toddler, or obese pre-schooler, and everything had to be baby-led weaning, no sugar, no salt, no junk food. Now I have a fussy toddler anyway, who frequently refuses to eat anything other than Petit Filous, and I’ve loosened up a bit. The other day I allowed him to steal my chocolate biscuit and today (horror of horrors) I allowed him to eat one of my crisps as he was trying to grab them and I was pretty sure he wouldn’t like them, so gave him one to prove it (fortunately, I was correct). To paraphrase the Buddha, everything in moderation! #coolmumclub

  33. crummymummy1 Reply

    Can’t remember the last time I had a McDonald’s – this is making me hungry! #coolmumclub

  34. cherylbarry Reply

    It’s a minefield! There’s always something that’s seen as bad for you. Lose the guilt, A little of everything in moderation! Would love to go to a McDonalds bday party!

    1. MMT Reply

      Then you are officially invited to #coolmumclubs summer shindig…cheeseburger or nuggets?! πŸ˜‰ x

  35. imatwinmama Reply

    Haha my mom worked in McDonald’s as a Lobby Hostess and had to host the kids’ parties back in the day! Your blog made me think more than I expected it to; at the end I wondered how I would react to an invitation for a Maccy’s party and I must admit, a little judgey-wudgey part of me hesitated… And then I screwed my head back on and thought, YESSS!!! Old skool!!!

  36. dadbloguk Reply

    I can assure you this DAD’s face would be a picture if our kids received an invite to such a place. Absolutely don’t go there. There’s a very good reason, I won’t reveal here, need to speak to my BiL first but I suspect it will put you off! I’ll be back in touch!! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

    1. MMT Reply

      BIL? Ooh I’m intrigued!! Haven’t heard a good McHorror story in years… I’m only surprised that more parents haven’t commented in team No way Jose – thanks for reading & commenting.

  37. Busy Working Mummy Reply

    My son is an awful eater at home but amazing at nursery so I don’t think too much about it at weekends. He eats so much fruit, and I am the same as you, I have to try and get him to eat biscuits to balance it out and avoid tummy problems. Guilt with a little one never gets better #coolmumclub

  38. Mrs Lighty Reply

    Totally agree with you, every now and again isn’t a problem at all! It never did us any harm, right?! πŸ˜‰ Could be worse, could be like Mr Lighty who has never forgiven our best man for not inviting him to be the friend that got to look round the kitchen with him at his McDonalds party…ah those were the days!! #coolmumclub

  39. This Mum's Life Reply

    I just had a flashback to my 6th birthday party-a McDonalds one!! I love that you always write posts that I’m sure resonate with absolutely everybody! In my eyes, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional McDonalds. My children are just coming out (I hope it lasts) of a phase of basically eating nothing. I’d be lucky to get a handful of raisins or cheerios into them in a day. They still refuse vegetables, and won’t eat anything like a fish pie, or spaghetti, where all the ingredients are in one place, they only eat things that are separate on the plate (yes, they’re weirdos!) so now they eat loads of fruit during the day, and I pretty much let them have whatever they will agree to in the evening. I will continue to offer the veg, and I’m sure it will cast aside for a long time! But hopefully if I keep teaching them the food do’s from the dont’s, they will know when they’re older how to live healthily!

    1. MMT Reply

      Ah thanks gorge xx I remember falling out with a friend circa 1987 because I’d been chosen to go into the freezer, not her. Imagine the insurance and policies you’d need to do that now! You just basically described my two right now…post illness, I’m trying to make them forget that I told them it was okay to just eat anything they want :-/

  40. lisagraham1 Reply

    There’s a place for all kinds of food. When we were having the building work done before Xmas we didn’t have a kitchen for a couple of months. One week I’m sure we had McDonalds 3 times! The kids thought this was amazing, now I’ve got a kitchen again they’re back on veg and healthy stuff, much to their disgust! #coolmumclub

  41. PinkPearBear Reply

    You absolutely need to ease up on yourself! I started out similar, with the veg and the baby crisps, (don’t forget the ricecakes, tiny bits of rock welded onto clothes, buggies, hair, your best jumper!), and now we are much more relaxed. If you restrict them totally, they will go CRAZY when they finally get a bit of freedom. πŸ™‚ #coolmumsclub

  42. Mum in Brum Reply

    Loved this! I am also partial to a Maccy Ds every once in a while – usually when hung over or so hungry I could eat my arm and I happen to drive past one. However, I’m also a bit of a stickler for cooking healthy meals for the family and have a bit of an obsession with 5 a day. But I would absolutely love to receive an invite to a Maccy Ds party (for me or Taylor – either will do) and I’d love even more to meet the mum who booked it. I think to have it as a treat every once in a while is absolutely fine! xx #coolmumclub

  43. tammymum Reply

    Oh I’m with you on this. I tried so hard with baby 1 to eat well, no chocolate, crisps or chips…until grandad came along and plied her with biscuits! Now she’s 18 months and loves anything naughty and that j tried to steer her away from. Feels like a massive fail coupled with mummy guilt – double whammy. But if we have treats every ow and then I guess we have to teach them the same – moderation! Just try explaining that one to a baby!! Anyway don’t feel guilty your kiddies sound like they have a very healthy nutritious appetitive that they actually enjoy so good one you! #coolmumclub xx

  44. My Petit Canard Reply

    Oh gosh, its so true. Its all so confusing on the good food vs bad food front. Its definitely something you can never win, so I agree, its all about a little bit of everthing in moderation. Even a cheeky Mc D’s every now and then (not something I ever thought I’d be saying as a mum! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily x

  45. Silly Mummy Reply

    Ooh now I really want to know what would happen if you had a McDonald’s birthday party! Would someone put your invite on Mumsnet?? Would people fight over the issue on HuffPost?? We need to know! I’m sure it’s fine, when they’re having a healthy diet most of the time. Mine haven’t had anything like that yet, but they ‘re younger than yours (eldest a little under 3). If I’m being completely honest, I DO judge people when they’re giving babies or very young (closer to a year than 2) toddlers McDonalds. & I have seen that. Or maybe I don’t judge them exactly, because I tend to think there are always a variety of factors in why people do it, but I do think that it is not good for the kids, and wish they weren’t eating it. Older kids, I think it’s okay as a once in a while treat. We haven’t actually yet worked out when we think the kids will be old enough for such things (& take aways too). I’m kind of inclined to work on the theory that, as long as they don’t know what they’re missing, we may as well continue not to give it to them, as it isn’t that healthy & they’re not asking for it, so may as well not introduce it. I think we will probably maintain that for as long as they still know no different. Then we’ll have to revisit the age we think it’s okay once one of them realises it exists & starts asking! We’re doing the same with drinks. They happily drink water as they don’t know alternatives exist. One day they will find out! πŸ˜€ But, no, I think you’re fine on the mum guilt front here, don’t think it’s a problem. I do want you to do the party thing & report back! #coolmumclub

  46. Fatima @ Baby Toddler Me Reply

    I love this! You have so many funny one-liners! One of my faves “the hubby spent his gap year not digging a well in Africa, but working in Burger King! “. I truly wouldn’t feel guillty about the occasional Maccy D’s. Your kids sound like they get a very healthy diet, and the fact that you have to encourage them to pick a biscuit rather than more fruit is a good sign! You’re doing a great job! x #coolmumclub

  47. Something Crunchy Mummy Reply

    I think there is going to be mummy guilt with everything we do. My boys eat a bit of everything in moderation and they love a McDonald’s. We have one round the corner and Finley shouts ‘McDonald’s’ every time we pass it lol #coolmumclub xx

  48. mudpiefridays Reply

    Oh my goodness you have just given me a throw back to my childhood – McDonald parties they were fab!! Monkey is the same and we did everything you did. He often asks to go but I wonder if thats because he’s not allowed very often at coming up 4 he’s only been a handful of times. I suffer the same guilt!! x #FartGlitter

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