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an update on my sports-mom dramas

Robyn Openshaw - Apr 30, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

If you read my silly blog last week about the mom who asked me to make Funeral Potatoes, here’s the update. The boys are still high on their last game, a shutout (10-0) against Springville. My son pitched the whole contest  and was the star of not only the game, but also this Daily Herald article the next morning. Go Kincade!

Tonight’s the big dinner for 40 boys at my house. Here’s the text message I finally wrote to Baseball Mom, who wanted to serve pork, “funeral potatoes,” and dessert. She’d rejected my interest in making a big green salad:

“Hi, I am super excited to host the boys on Monday!

“It’s a big part of who I am to always provide raw veggies in yummy ways, and all the boys who hang out at my house know and expect it. My green veggie salads always get eaten….but if [your son] won’t, I could easily bring a big veggie tray AND a fruit tray instead if you prefer?

“It’s funny you mention funeral potatoes because I spoke in four Northern Cali cities last week on my book tour, and I have this whole routine on how that recipe is the worst of Mormon cooking and why they are called “funeral potatoes.” (Cheese, butter, sour cream, potato chips all in one recipe….not named that because we serve them at funerals, but because they are causing funerals? Anyway, it gets a laugh.)

“So, I don’t push an agenda of no animal food and no sugar at stuff like this—I know you will have meat and dessert there—but I have never served a meal that doesn’t feature an awesome raw-veg salad. My boys eat a big plate of it as main dish every night of their lives, so I know many kids eat it even if some aren’t used to it.

And then it makes me feel better that meals are good/appropriate fuel instead of exclusively appealing to taste buds.”

I just copied that from my phone onto the blog here….and realized it’s the longest text in the history of the world.

That’s what happens when you stew about it for days before writing it!

The good news is she wrote back saying no problem, make the salad. And get water and utensils and stuff and I said DONE and DONE! (If I am super helpful, flexible, and generous everywhere I can be, maybe people will indulge me with my standing my ground about a few things that really matter to me. That’s a core value I try to live by—be flexible everywhere possible!)

Anyway, I think I’m gonna make Spinach Orzo Ensalata from Ch. 2 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods—it’s so delicious.

I had this convo with my 11 yo son, Tennyson, after his baseball game Saturday—I found out he lied to me about two things before we left for the game (including that he left his lunch at home). So he was in a little trouble.

I say: “Well, then you get to drink half of my quart of beet/celery juice in the car now, on the way home.”

Tennyson:  “GOOD! Because I **LIKE** beet juice!” Long pause. And now he wails, “WHY do you have to be weird?! Why can’t you just feed me what everyone else does!?”

[The context here is that a very obese grandma brought a bag of blue-food-coloring-dyed popcorn balls into the dugout. I’m sure everyone was thinking, “Aw, how sweet!” I, of course, was thinking, “How do I not let this lady poison my kid with the same dye used in blue jeans according to Scientific American—and high-fructose corn syrup—without being a jerk in front of anyone? I went and whispered to Tennyson to please not eat it. My ex-husband was in the dugout eating it for, like, an hour. I’m totally okay with that, though.]

(Isn’t this world we live in INSANE, when you really think about it? We should have to protect our kids from pedophiles and swimming in canals, not snacks made by nice old ladies.)

I say: “Because. You don’t think about your future. It’s my job to do that ‘cause I’m a grownup. I ‘get’ stuff that you don’t get. Trust me, my friend. I have studied this stuff. You make choices to eat blue dye and corn syrup and you get to have problems. You just do. Sorry if you don’t like that I draw the line sometimes, especially because you didn’t bring the lunch I made, like you said you would. Someday you’ll make ALL your own choices and you can eat all the poison you want…..I hope you don’t, though.”

[There’s a two-minute pause while I lick my wounds and Tennyson drinks beet/celery juice.]

Tennyson, small voice: “Mom. I really want to eat healthy, actually. I’m sorry. I was rude.”

Me: “Thanks, kid. You say you’re sorry more quickly than anyone in our family. I’m impressed. Forgiven.”

Posted in: Relationships, Whole Food

21 thoughts on “an update on my sports-mom dramas”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s so comforting to know that there are other people that go through this. It can be so frustrating when your child is getting “rewards” from teachers, coaches, other parents, etc. that is horrible for them. And it’s so difficult convincing your child not to eat them or that they are bad for you. But, that’s the norm in today’s society. It’s always an uphill battle.

  2. I mean who doesn’t love cheesy potatoes! Until I started eating healthy I wouldn’t have thought twice about eating them. suprised someone would ask YOU to make them, were there moms behind the scenes putting her up to it for a joke?

    I’m really proud of your son, for his team and his apology. It’s such a normal thought at times to look at something and then wish it were not so bad for you. I do it all the time.

    It’s all about educating the public…thanks for your efforts Robyn, and with EVERYONES HELP more and more will know the truth about the good and bad of foods.

    I see healthy foods becoming more and more COOL to eat.

    Your son is cool…

    you x husband…hmmmm!

  3. Wow, interesting story. It is important to protect our childern!

  4. Anonymous says:


    Let me just say it again..what you are doing for your kids is incredible. Thanks for the honesty you always show in your blog. You really inspire…and make me laugh! That line about not caring if your ex eats the blue popcorn is still making me giggle! Thanks for all you do.

  5. That is AMAZING!!!! and exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing. What a sweet family you have. We just moved to West Jordan and attended church in our new ward yesterday for the first time. Yesterday my son and daughter were fed pretzels, gold fish, and colored marsh-mellows. Is that something that I should be flexible with, or is that something that I should stand my ground? I would love to know your opinion. It’s a hard line for me. I usually end up not being flexible at all. :):) Thank you for your shining light!

    Much love,

    Elysha Maughan


    Is there a good place where I could send an idea of mine to add to your coaching certification criteria? I use a fantastic and beautiful result-getting technique, (Meridian tapping-EFT) that I think everyone should know about. I use it to battle, yes it’s ongoing, overeating… a deep engrained patted from binging and purging in my adolescence. I would love to write you about it if that interests you. I feel like everyone needs a little help when it comes to overeating, or feeling the addiction-urge to eat something that we KNOW is against our values.

    Thank you beautiful woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Elysha, send me any good info anytime through—my CSRs will forward it to me!

    2. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Oh, and Elysha, I stood my ground on that one when my kids were in Primary. I’d go to the primary president, and the teacher, and explain that my kids have some food sensitivities and allergies (EVERYONE DOES!) and they do not eat sugar, corn syrup, sugar substitutes like Nutrasweet, white flour, or dairy. They understand “allergy,” much more clearly than “that kid’s mother is a health nut.”

      That pretty much leaves everything out. So you get a blank look. I would say, “Fruit is okay, though! And if the teacher really needs to hand out a treat, I will provide one if you let me know.”

      I believe the Primary handbook tells the leaders and teachers NOT to hand out candy/food. Somebody verify this for me? I know it was a policy—several Primary presidents have told me that.

      If you’re a leader, you can refer to the policy.

      If you’re a parent, you are NICE AS PIE but make it clear your child is not to be given any treats at church.

      They kinda have to deal with it, if you tell them that. It matters, and you’re putting them on notice about it. It forces them to get a little creative about what they provide. Laziness, inertia…..all those roads lead to (junk-food) hell.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This brought a tear to my eye. So inspirational Robyn. I often struggle with how to handle “outside” food challenges. I have to remind myself that I may have to seem like the strict mom sometimes but I’m really protecting their greatest wealth, their health. Thanks for sharing this, I totally get it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I love that you are a straight shooter! I walk around and see people who are obviously sick (you can often see it in their faces without knowing anything else about them) and think “don’t you know you are killing yourself??? I have such compassion for them….I really don’t think they do know in many cases. They certainly don’t have many obvious opportunities to know if they are just tuning into television and popular media (and not diligently seeking out the truth on their own). I viewed an hour of tv this morning at the car dealership while waiting for my car and advertising for drugs and health damaging foods was the full content of the commercials! Thank you for being a light in the dark world of health answers. I am especially learning a lot from the book you promote “The China Study”…. what an eye opener! Thank God I am on my way to the best health I have ever enjoyed!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, you made me and my girls laugh out loud! This is a conversation that has repeated itself many times this past year. However, the girls started getting it/claiming it for their own and telling their friends when offered junk snacks at church, that they are allergic to all the ingredients you listed. They’ve been teased and had rude remarks made to them, but they keep trying to hold their heads up high and be examples. We cheer you on with a loud YAY ROBYN from Sactown! Keep on sharing the truth and we’ll keep repeating what you teach us. 🙂

  9. Robyn you know we will all be waiting to hear about the gathering at your home!

    Here is total proof that convinced me about immediate results of eating healthy food:

    my grandson 14 has Epstein Barr virus,

    like a mono. He started eating completly healthy Jan.2012 and the next quarter of school his grades went from C’s and D’s to A’s and B’s. Before healthy food he did not like to even eat, and now he eats like an adult. Since we are eating the same…doesn’t that make me smarter too? (is there a test of some kind, for me? ha!)

    Mothers don’t deny your children healthy food…THIS IS REASON ENOUGH for now.

    Of course we all know that teens “know everything anyway!”

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been in Primary (teacher, counselor, and president) for a long time, and I’ve aIways been told that it is church policy not to give out food or snacks. However, I’ve just been looking through my handbook, and I can’t find where it says that anywhere. Here’s what it says at the beginning of the lesson manuals: “Whenever a lesson suggests using food, please check with the parents of the children in advance to ensure that none of the children has allergies or other adverse physical reactions to the food. Please do not bring food on fast Sunday.” Regardless, I’m going to keep telling everyone that the policy is just not to bring food (Haha! The power of being pres!) Now, I just have to work on nursery snacks . . .

  11. Anonymous says:


    I’m glad you said West Jordan, or I might have thought you are in my ward! I got called to be the nursery leader, and when I got put in, there was already a box full of fruit snacks, goldfish, animal crackers, and white marshmallows that the other nursery workers had bought. I didn’t want to waste church money or hurt their feelings by throwing it all out. We have finally used up most of it after 3 months, but then one of the other workers brought a brand new bag of colored marshmallows, sigh. The previous nursery leader brought us a banana to use one of the first weeks I was there, and most of the kids wouldn’t eat it. I’m guessing if there were no marshmallows or fruit snacks competing with it though, they would.

    I was thinking non-staining fruit (i.e., no berries) and some kind of homemade crackers or muffins would be good. What else would you suggest for nursery? I could even bring in old t-shirts for the kids to wear if the fruit is a little messy.

  12. I was the primary president in my ward when the new handbook came out. The old one said no treats, but the new one doesn’t mention them at all.

    5 years ago some neighbor kids came to my son’s birthday party and just watched the other kids break the pinata because their parents didn’t like them to eat HFCS or sugar. I thought they were such freaks! Now I’m one of those freaks. 🙂 I wish there were more parents out there like me. It makes it so much easier on the parents AND the kids.

    Keep spreading the word Robyn!

  13. I am so so glad you all are sharing this stuff. I have been fighting an uphill battle, mostly at church and at my children’s little private school. No matter what I say at school (& I’ve written letters too) to the teacher they still give out horrible snacks and junk food from the dollar store! Ok, fast forward to church…I am now in the primary presidency with 3 other wonderful women. However…I cannot believe how people change when you try to take away their “fun”. I am trying to make a change but EVERYWHERE I turn no one is supportive. 2 examples: Convinced ladies to just have candy canes as Christmas gift in primary (wanted something more “churchy” but we were just called to position & didn’t have time). One of the ladies who is completely opposed to not allowing treats every Sunday (seriously!) brought 9 boxes of 36 cookies each (1 for each class) in on the Sunday before Christmas! She knew full well that we all decided against any goodies. It was just to let me know that she would not be following those rules I guess. example #2: Primary is in charge of an upcoming church activity. WHen I voiced my concern over having nitrate filled hot dogs served, due to cancer now (or almost) outranking Heart Disease as the #1 killer in America, I actually thought I got an angry look from one of the sisters! No, we were having hot dogs and maybe my family could bring their own meal they said. The next meeting the first thing that came out of one sisters mouth was “I believe we were having hot dogs for the meal….”. My girls have even asked for Vegetarian options at firesides but only meat, chips & dessert. There are snacks and junk at EVERY SINGLE function. I have called even the Seminary teacher to no avail. WHY did they take that rule out of the handbook?

    For a few years now I have desired to send a letter to the First Presidency regarding this issue that has affected us deeply. It has become a battle field at church when it comes to food. We are trying so hard to live the Word of Wisdom and care for our bodies (temples) & we shouldn’t have such a problem at church of all places. Its actually completely out of control & getting worse. Is there a way to do this where we all sign a letter just to let them know that its not just a few of us that are having these difficulties? Maybe they don’t realize it has become such a problem.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. It makes me feel as if I’m not such a freak and all alone in this. 🙂

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Jennifer, I think the answer you’ll get if church hierarchy respond is something like this: “We are fighting bigger battles—drug and alcohol addiction, etc.—so most of the church population is not ready to live a higher law.” True enough but SO FRUSTRATING for those of us who don’t see it as a higher law, but rather just common sense. I wish there were more women like you speaking up. You have chutzpah, my friend.


    2. Laura says:

      This attitude has always bothered me. I understand if people choose to eat the way they do. I don’t understand why they treat other people who choose to live healthy the way they do. It’s frustrating. I understand them having meat at every single function but why do they have to also put it in the salads? One dinner they decided to have a ravioli casserole. The recipe said to use meat ravioli. Why couldn’t we make it with cheese ravioli? Yes, I know cheese ravioli isn’t healthful, but it’s a change. I don’t go to any of the dinners. I wish they would have a Relief Society meeting without food. I just want to go to the lessons not the meal time. I don’t go at all.
      Anyway, it just irritates me that we are punished for choosing to follow the Word of Wisdom. And also the teachings in the Bible. I’ve been thinking a lot about Daniel and his friends that ate healthy. They were young men at the time they were taken into captivity. What about before that? They were obviously righteous because they refused to stop praying. Where did they learn that? From their parents. This must have gone on for generations. Why do members of the church give people who choose to follow the teachings of the Savior such a hard time? Long comment. Venting my frustrations.

  14. I have been fighting the Primary battle for 1 1/2 years. It’s a toughy for sure! The handbook does not say to bring treats anymore..unfortunately. My husband and I have to be redundant, relentless and talk to everyone. I always say, “Please pass this along to anyone you trust my children to as well please like the Young Women during 5th Sunday lessons and substitues.” I have to be very specific. I also walk my kids to Primary and if there is someone I”ve never seen before I just say, “My kids have severe allergies. It’s more involved than celiac. Please do not give them anything to eat while they are in your care and please pass this along to anyone else who might be their teachers. Thanks for serving! I know Primary can be a lot of work. My kids love Primary and it’s because of good teachers/leaders like you.” (I have to include the celiac thing because you wouldn’t believe what people think when you say allergies and then your kids end up with fake popcorn balls because they just assume severe allergies mean celiac disease and popcorn balls don’t have wheat in their minds.)

    I am a broken record. But, when it comes to my kids it’s worth it. Even if I have to have this conversation with the Bishop about the treats on his desk, or the rice crispies at the Primary function. My husband does the same routine. Better to not leave it unsaid in every situation. It makes people think twice about handing out food to other people’s kids too. That’ s good. Also, at the bank one lady said, “Oh, that sucks!” or the nice people at the checkout line who give my kids smarties and make comments about how hard that is and such I just said, “It’s great! We are so lucky! I’ve never felt better! We have so many beautiful wonderful foods we CAN eat! I think we are the luckiest people that we can eat so many fruits and vegetables!” It usually leaves them with their jaws agape, but I be sure to be sincerely enthusiastic. Then they ask me, “What’s this in your produce bag?” I usually tell them it’s kale or collard greens or bok choy or whatever. They ask me how to use it. I give them your blog. This has litterally happened more times than I can count. kids will be teenagers someday. I’m putting this conversation in my brain file for later. Just know, there are other moms out there doing the same thing. We gotta stick together eh?

  15. Oh..and I wrote a letter and asked it to be put in my kid’s role on Sundays. “Please do not feed ___________ Children any food as per severe allergies.

    I would also like to ask, of my own free will and accord, you consideration of other parents who would prefer for the small children to only eat healthy foods. What a wonderful religion we have that teaches our bodies are temples of God, created in the image of God with a beautiful Word of Wisdom.” I got a call from the Primary President that said my letter was removed, I could not have a letter in the role anymore because the Bishopric said it made people feel uncomfortable. I asked if I could change my letter. She said no. They would put something on a handout to all the teahers every Sunday. I was in Primary for a few times for my kid’s stuff like prayers and such and even filling in for a teacher and nothing was handed to me saying do not give kids food on anykind of announcement because THEY DIDN”T DO IT! Ughhh….

  16. My letter, which I took ownership of for my own view point by my own verbage was removed because I made people feel uncomfortable. But, what about kids hopped up on sugar highs but asked to sit still for 3 hours..what about their uncomfort? Maybe the adults SHOULD be made to feel uncomfortable. Just sayin’. I also in my letter thanked them for their service and their sacrifice and let them know they were appreciated. I think I”m on a anti-green-jello watch list or something now he he he….

  17. Alexena says:

    My 11 yo is exactly the same. We have had to negotiate what she takes to school now as her mid-morning snack. She was also lying and finding ways not to take what she’d been taking for years as a super-nutritious and energising snack because it wasn’t what the other kids take to school or dance classes. But she’s coming around slowly, and like you say, they love it when they eat it any other time. We live in Southern Spain and the rubbish they let the kids eat is unreal. Well, the majority of the adult population eat so much processed food anyway, what are their children to know? It’s not easy anywhere and at any age but our efforts will forge results in the long term I’m sure. Keep up all the hard work everyone!

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