Morning everyone! If you caught me on Instagram stories you might have seen my epic adventure of shopping and getting ready for a family of four. Well, as I was putting all my groceries away, stocking up the fridge and refilling the snack drawer I stopped dead in my tracks.
A snack drawer….
A few years ago there was no such thing as a 'snack drawer'!
Nope, not a single snack could be found in our house. All my stepkids ate were veggies, fruit and healthy snacks. Hmmm... okay, I admit that I’m totally exaggerating! But as you can tell, snacks are not a big thing in our house and it's something I don't question either. Their dad had a fairly strict snack rule in place way before I came into the picture and when you grow up without a snack drawer yourself all seems normal. Despite all my pleading and begging when I was young, I was always met with a firm and probably annoyed NO, not going to happen.
My stepkids generally didn’t ask about the non-existence of a snack draw until my youngest stepson started to see the difference between mommy’s and daddy’s house.
He would complain about coming home to 0 snacks on a daily basis. At first, this was easily dismissed and he was reminded that it just wasn’t going to happen at daddy's house. After a while, it turned into comparing the two homes.
Again, something we could easily dismiss as there are just a few different rules at each house. It wasn’t until he started wanting to go to mommy’s house more and more that we started wondering why.
I have to clarify, with our unusual access schedule (roughly 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off) it’s hard for the kids to not see their other parent for that length of time and same goes for the parents! Plus, my stepson was quite young and asking for his mommy lots.
As you can imagine, we didn’t think much of it when they asked to see their mom.
That’s until we heard those fatal words.
‘I like going to mommy’s house because she has snacks’ - this is soooo not an exact quote but this is definitely what it came down to.
It wasn’t the sole reason he was asking for mommy more and more but it definitely contributed to his behavior.
THOSE statements stopped me dead in my tracks. I was reminded of all those lost battles I had with my mom. The struggle was real people! But in all seriousness, I do remember how I felt and the battles we fought, battles I didn't want to relive.
Now I ask myself, would it have really mattered in the grand scheme of things if my mom would have given into my endless request for having a snack draw? I’d like to think not, but I might be biased as well… I do truly believe it would have stopped me from sneaking around the house, looking for the snacks she hid from my sister and me, finding them and grabbing just a few so she hopefully wouldn’t notice.
It turned me into a little thief.
And I didn’t want my stepkids turning into little snooping snack thieves. Plus I had no inclination of hiding things from them. (Except when it’s a really good chocolate bar I love. Those I totally hide!)
The only holdup was my husband. He was the big and bad ‘no snacks’ in the house police. We spent our nights with a glass of wine talking about the snack drawer. That’s what adults do, it still surprises me. He eventually budged, after many, many, maaannnnyyyy conversations. The tipping point was hearing those fatal words over and over again and confirming that, in my stepson's world, this was a big deal!
The difference between my own battles with my mom and my stepson’s with his dad had to do with our family situation. When I was little, I couldn’t request to go to the other home. My mom and dad, conveniently for them, lived in the same house.
My stepson, on the other hand, has two homes and at that time, was increasingly asking to go to the other house.
The day was upon us. The kids were off to school and my husband and I hit the kitchen cabinets to carve out space for the holy of holiest, the snack drawer!
My husband still had a few rules. For one, it wasn’t allowed to be a full drawer (fine, I’ll take anything I can get even if it’s just a tiny basket. Progress is progress!). Two, they can only have two snacks a day. Three, they have to ask first and four, not before dinner time.
The kids sat at the kitchen island after school when their dad explained the new rules.
My youngest stepson was beaming at hearing the big news! I had never before seen that big, ear to ear, smile and he gave his dad and myself a biggest hug imaginable accompanied by many thank you’s. It made my heart smile.
Looking back, I ask myself, was not having a snack drawer really worth the battle?
Did it really matter in the grand scheme of things? The 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 years type of ‘rule’?
That snack drawer was used daily. It was the first thing they hit up after school BUT to our surprise, over time the excitement about the snack drawer faded. It even went empty for some time and the kids didn't say a word! Now it’s just part of the kitchen and the compromise was totally worth it.
Be biggest lesson here? Change is good, compromise is good, folding to your kids 'demands' is good (sometimes!). As long as everyone is on board, why not change things?