Sharing custody with your ex-spouse of your child can lead to some difficulties parenting. The divide in shared values can lead to arguments about how to best raise your kid.
This becomes more difficult when there’s a big divide, like when you’re a vegan like Redditor ThrowawayVegana and your ex-spouse isn’t. The original poster (OP) thinks there’s nothing wrong with the food he’s feeding their son, but his ex-wife has complaints.
OP and his ex-wife are arguing it out, and while OP doesn’t think he’s wrong, he is questioning. So he decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about what was going on.
The crux of the issue is their son’s diet.
“AITA for feeding my son vegan when he’s at my house?”
OP doesn’t see a problem with what he feeds the kid.
“I’m vegan, my wife is pescetarian. My ex is one of those people who think that only meat is real food, veggies are rabbit food.”
“I have a 5yro son with my ex, we share custody – one week at each house. When he is at my house, he eats vegan food when I cook (4-5 times a week) and usually fish when my wife cooks (2-3 times a week), and when we order take out or go out to eat (a few times a month) he orders whatever he likes (reasonable stuff obviously, he can’t just have chocolate ice cream when we go have dinner).”
“When he’s at my ex’s place, he eats mostly meat and potatoes, but lately he has been complaining about food there. When she dropped him off at my place this weekend, she asked me to talk to me and my wife about the feeding of our son.”
“We talked and my ex was fuming about how our rabbit food is not only making our son hate her nutritious chicken, but also isn’t giving him enough nutrients.”
“I told her that’s ridicolous and my son has well balanced meals at my place. She then said he complains about the food at her place and wants more veggies like daddy makes.”
“I told her to just make him more veggies and less pork then or something. She told me not to tell her how to parent our child and that if we don’t stop ‘forcing our beliefs’ on the boy, she will drag me to court and demand full custody.”
“She said I am ‘intentionally malnourishing’ my child and that that alone makes me an AH, because kids need meat, milk and potatotes.”
“AITA for feeding my son vegan food?”
OP doesn’t see a problem with his son eating mostly vegetables when he’s over, but the ex-wife is complaining that the boy won’t eat her meals now.
Is this OP’s fault? Should he change how he handles food when his son is around?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for feeding his son vegetables instead of the meat and potatoes his ex-wife recommends by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While some people have a visceral reaction to hearing someone is vegan, this is mostly unfounded. OP is not forcing his diet on the boy, and even provides him with fish dishes when his wife cooks, or ordering takeout.
On top of that, the one trying to force the boy to eat something is the ex-wife, who insists that the kid is malnourished if he isn’t eating pork and mashed potatoes.
The Reddit board agreed that OP was NTA.
“NTA. Your ex seems a bit jealous over your culinary skills. If she was open to it (which I doubt), maybe you can give her a recipe to make alongside her chicken.” – seregil42
“Also start documenting the meals sigh just in case she makes unfounded claims” – hyperfocuspocus
“So, she doesn’t want you to tell her how to parent your child, but then tells you how to parent your child.”
“It sounds like you are making sure that your son is eating a healthy, balanced meal, and you and your ex are each within your rights to feed your son according to your own methods and beliefs when he is staying with each of you.”
“Your ex doesn’t get to dictate how you raise your child or what you feed him when it is not her turn for custody. It sounds like she’s just upset because he likes the food you make more than what she provides.”
“NTA but maybe create a meal plan or record of the foods that your son eats when he’s staying with you. That way, if she does try to get full custody by claiming ‘malnourishment’ or something, you can prove that your son is eating balanced, healthy meals, whether they include meat or not.” – FoxBun_17
“NTA. In any way. You’re not in any way pushing anything on him or discouraging him. He just realized he enjoys eating vegetables, and probably feels feels the difference when he eats them versus just meat and potatoes.”
“Its not wrong he ask for some vegetables to round out his moms meals. She’s right, he isn’t getting enough nutrients.. But, its because all she feeds him is meat and starch.”
“Children need vegetables and fruits in their diet, and teaching them to enjoy earlier on is setting them up for healthy eating habits.”
“If she tries to argue malnutrition in court.. Jeez, I don’t see it going the way she thinks it will. I don’t know any pediatrician that would recommend only meat, starch and dairy.” – treatyourselftocats
“NTA, your ex has a massive chip on her shoulder and shouldn’t interfere with what you’re feeding your son as long as he is well nourished.”
“Amazing job on making a 5 year old prefer your veggies to her meat and potatoes!!” – smackof_ham
There were a lot of suggestions for OP to keep a log of what his son eats, and get a doctor to sign off on it if his ex-wife follows up on her threat and takes him to court. Luckily, OP was already doing this.
However, he also spoke about his views on his diet and how it relates to his son, who could have more meat if he really wanted. OP had no intention of forcing the five-year-old to only eat vegetables.
As he spoke, more of the situation became clear.
“‘How do I get my five year old to stop asking for more veggies?’ asked no sane parent, ever.”
“The ONLY scenario I can think of in which your meals for your son would be problematic is if you have positioned eating meat and animal byproducts to him as somehow immoral or unethical, shown him videos and photos of animals being slaughtered or kept in cramped/abusive conditions at large farms, and had conversations with him about animal abuse that are waaaay ahead of what is appropriate for his age.”
“To put it another way, if you’re simply giving him vegan food WITHOUT a side dish of upsetting him about the way most large factory farms treat animals, then there is no issue. As long as it’s all veggies, no morality condemnations, and he is healthy, you’re golden.” – Lux_Brumalis
“Oh no, I don’t tell him he can’t have meat at all or that it’s bad etc. I think 5 is way too young to learn about mass production of chickens etc.”
“He knows I don’t cook meat (I don’t even know how to do it well, because I don’t eat it), and knows that if he wants to eat chicken at my place, we’ll go out and he can order something chickeny or whatever.”
“Also when he asks for chicken, it’s mostly chicken nuggets, and he gets that as a special treat when he’s been really good or so.” – ThrowawayVegana (OP)
“This. So long as they’re not giving the message that mommy’s food is bad, and the son is developing these food preferences on his own, they’re NTA.”
“The kid is going to like what he’s going to like, and being exposed to a wide range of foods is extremely good for him.”
“I didn’t have things with processed sugar until I started school. So when I was little I developed a liking for fresh fruit and vegetables.”
“That’s stuck with me and helped me maintain a healthy diet in my adult years.”
“Even if the kid doesn’t decide to be vegan, liking meals with plenty of veggies is going to be good for him.” – TinyRascalSaurus
“NTA….I seldom will side with a vegan….but it sounds like you are doing it right.” – AuraCrash78
“I’m vegan for health reasons (I had many stomach issues in the past, and switching to plant based food literally improved my quality of life dramatically).”
“My father used to force me to eat meat and eggs and all the animal stuff, and it made me literally sick. I’d never force my eating habits on anyone, least of all my own child.” – ThrowawayVegana (OP)
OP’s experience of having a diet enforced upon him has really influenced his own perspective with his son. And so long as the meals are nutritious, there’s no reason to say that OP is wrong.