On the weekend my son had a can of lemonade. He drank the whole lot with relish, chugging it down without a straw, much to the jealousy of his little sister who watched on in awe.
It was a treat for a kid who is usually confined to water or milk but he was thrilled to be allowed to guzzle the lot with glee, and I enjoyed watching my son delight in it.
So I’m a little miffed to hear that according to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver I’m not a loving mother, I’m an “arsehole”. A “tosser.” That “I don’t truly care.”
Shauna's 7-year-old, Odie, who simply guzzled his lemonade. Image Supplied.
Oliver has expressed his blunt opinion of parents like me in his upcoming show called Jamie's Return to School Dinners.
The dad of five said:
“I've spent two years being PC about parents. Now is the time to say, 'If you're giving your young children fizzy drinks, you're an arsehole. You're a tosser. If you give them bags of crisps you're an idiot. If you aren't cooking them a hot meal, sort it out. If they truly care, they've got to take control.”
"I have seen kids of the ages of four or five, the same age as mine, open their lunchbox and inside is a cold, half-eaten McDonald's, multiple packets of crisps and a can of Red Bull. We laugh and then want to cry.”
Oliver has even called on the UK Government to give teachers the power to “confiscate junk food at the school gates”
He says 70 per cent of packed lunches given to schoolchildren were "disgraceful".
Wow what a Hot Day today guys ???? so the littlest one is stared out ⭐️☀️⭐️ and sleeping again.....it's probably polite to formally introduce the new boy to you, his names River Rocket Oliver we think it suits him and he's a little gift and we are all very happy.... Thanks for all your kind wishes big love jamie and gang X X X
While the UK system of providing hot lunches to children is vastly different from our BYO schools in Australia, can you imagine the response (from teachers AND parents) to the “food police” checking at your child’s lunch at the gate?
I like the messages Jamie Oliver usually spreads — that food should be enjoyed, that freshly-produced food is best, that we need to think about what we eat and what’s in it.
I like the way he encourages kids to eat natural, healthy, wholesome foods. I think he’s a good role model - a male chef, a loving dad.
But I think this time, in his latest rant, he’s wrong.
Of course you’d have to be blind or in a media blackout not to know there is an “obesity epidemic” in our children, with certain socioeconomic areas far worse off than others. But the people with the responsibilities to overcome this – the parents – need to be educated about better choices for their children, not condemned or shamed.
We need to stop the culture of shaming parents for every little thing they do, for every choice they make. We need to remind them it’s OK to say no to your child if they want a “fizzy drink or a bag of crisps” — but that it’s also OK to let them have them as a treat, and teach them that that’s exactly what they are.
Shauna and her son. Image supplied.
Jamie Oliver might call me an areshole for letting my seven-year-old have a can of lemonade, but he didn’t see the fresh pasta he had for lunch.
He wasn’t there at the soccer game he’d played that morning, nor the twice weekly soccer practise he does. He didn’t watch my son’s swimming lesson, or cricket practise, and he certainly wouldn’t realise that the can of lemonade was a treat from his tennis coach for hitting 50 consecutive balls over the net without missing.
No, Jamie Oliver just blindly labels me an arsehole.
Should Jamie care to glance in my seven-year-old’s lunch box today and see his jam sandwich, apple and bag of crisps he probably would cry.
Jamie Oliver with one of his sons. Via Instagram.
But would he care to ask me whether I’d had the time over the last few days in between working and racing around after my kids to even get to the supermarket for some fresh salad? Would he inquire what my son had on other days? Or what he had for dinner or breakfast? Or would he just tell me I was disgraceful and push on?
Food shaming doesn’t help anyone. Instead of mortification and humiliation, perhaps we should try a bit of education about moderation.
Because really, a can of lemonade doesn't make you an arsehole.