Conversation With a Nine Year Old: Mixed Marriages

imageAs many reading are already aware, I have a daughter named Anzia, who is now nine and has been vegan since birth. I have shared on more than one occasion as proud mama’s often do some of her words of wisdom. First off, I find them amusing but also because she often sees thing from a perspective way past her years. Heck, often way past my years. So here goes another conversation that we shared last week.

The two of us were headed to meet a pregnant friend for breakfast. Anzia started the conversation off with, “So your friend is vegetarian but not vegan?”

Me, “Yes.”

Anzia, “But she feeds her daughter meat?”

Me, “Yes.”

In the rear view mirror I see that a confused look has taken over her face and in her typical fashion she raises her hands in the air, just like her Italian grandpa, and jerks them forward with each syllable as she asks, “Why would you feed your kid animals if you didn’t believe in eating them?”

I then explained that my friends husband was a carnivore and believed that it was unhealthy to raise kids vegetarian. I also explained that just like my hubby and I, a child’s mom and dad both have equal say in how their children are raised and they need to come to some kind of agreement. I then asked her what she would do if she fell in love and had kids with a carnivore or vegetarian.

She thought for a bit and then said, “Well they won’t be able to tell me it’s not healthy because I am the healthiest kid I know. I am almost like a science experiment proving the theory of vegan. Plus I know all your recipes and sometimes make my own so I will just convert them with my good food.”

Hey, let me just say I am not trying to make light on a subject that is very rough for many. I really was one of the fortunate ones that did the transition with my soul mate. If you are dealing with a mixed relationship especially where kids are involved how did you come to a solution? Any recommendations for others struggling with this type of issue?

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6 Responses to Conversation With a Nine Year Old: Mixed Marriages

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m vegan and I was married to a meat eater. He was very supportive of my veganism, and ate a primarily vegetarian diet, but he also ate meat occasionally. It bothered me deeply, in a way that is difficult to describe. We ended up getting divorced after being together for seven years, and one of the several issues between us was this ethical disparity. He was a really great person, very kind, loved animals… but from very early in our relationship, he was adamant that he would never go vegetarian or vegan. This always confused and frustrated me. Toward the end of our relationship, I made a push to educate him about animal rights. He told me he wasn’t convinced that non-human animals feel emotions and pain in the same way that humans do. It felt like willful ignorance to me… being with a vegan for so many years, watching documentaries, reading stories and articles, and still unwilling or unable to see it for what it is. This was just one of the many issues that drove a wedge between us. Looking back now, I see that this part of me is way too important to be with someone who doesn’t share my beliefs on animal rights and veganism.

    I have since married again, and my husband went vegan when we started dating. Initially, he said he couldn’t quite see eye-to-eye with me on the ethical points of veganism, but that he believed it to be a healthy diet. Now, he is very outspoken about the ethics of veganism and animal welfare, and he loves being vegan and says even if for some reason we weren’t together, he will always be a vegan. I can’t imagine sharing my life with someone who didn’t feel the same about this. 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    I had been vegan for about seven years before I met my husband. He went vegetarian again when we started dating but went back to eating meat a couple years later. He would eat what I made for dinner but also brought meat into the house (which I was totally grossed out by and treated his food and the utensils he used as, in the nicest way possible, toxic – not necessarily fair to him and it hurt his feelings). When we had our son 6 years ago, we agreed that our son would be breastfed exclusively until he was ready to eat solids then only be fed vegan food until he was 2 years old. At 2, we hoped he would be verbal enough to tell us what foods he liked and if any foods made him feel sick (that is what I struggled with for the first 22 years of my life – I just assumed everyone felt ill after eating). So, the deal was that our son could eat anything either of us brought to the table at a meal. My son only chose vegan foods and now proudly tells people he is vegan. This is not something that I taught or encouraged, just his own sense of self being expressed. My husband fears that our son will be labeled a freak and not invited to birthday parties for friends because he doesn’t eat met. We are fortunate to live in Seattle where many friends are vegetarian or have a food allergy, so vegan kids don’t seem to be labeled as freaks. My husband supports our son’s eating even now that we are separated and he could try to get our son to eat animal products.

    • I really believe that if kids are in an environment where they don’t have to eat meat, they wouldn’t. My daughter embraced the term vegan and labeled herself that way before my husband or I were willing to! It’s nice to hear you husband supports your son’s decision.

  3. I am one of the lucky ones who went on this journey with my partner. I think I could date an omnivore only if there seemed to be a chance of them going vegan. I don’t think I could be with a steadfast omnivore for serious long term. It is such an important part of who I am and what I believe that I can’t imagine spending my life with someone who didn’t share those beliefs.

    • If anything happened to my husband there is no way I could be with an omnivore. It will be interesting to see the challenges our daughter faces. Finding a soul mate is challenging enough and for her to fall in love with a vegan she will have to cut out a huge chunk of the dating pool. Hopefully her theory is correct and she can feed them to change!

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