Do you know how to start World War III among moms? Just bring up the word “juice.”

So let’s talk about juice; let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.

Our house is a juice-free house because my husband and I don’t drink it. We don’t think juice is the “devil’s work,” we just don’t care for it, therefore our kids don’t drink it.

Well, then what do they drink all day?

Good old water and good old whole milk.

I was minding my own business at the park the other day, and by that I mean doing my best to eavesdrop on a conversation among other moms, when one mom reached into her purse and pulled out a juice box.

That juice box may well have been a grenade because all her mom “friends” jumped on her before she could unwrap the straw.

“That’s pure sugar,” one quipped, and, “You’re kid is going to bounce off the walls,” another snarled.

I instantly felt bad for the juice box mom because she was getting mom-shamed hard by her own peers. She was just doing what she felt was in the best interest of her kid. Juice is an acceptable way to get one serving of fruit each day, but whole fruit is a better choice, obviously. But when you have a picky eater, or your kid is losing it in public, you pick your battles.

Been there. It’s all about survival.

Juice box mom tried to defend herself, by telling the group it was “organic, and “100 percent juice,” but before she could finish her sentence the alpha mom of the group squashed her by saying, “You might as well give her wine, because it’s made from grapes, and grapes are a fruit and fruit is good for you.”

Man, parenthood is a rough neighborhood — especially in the daytime.

In the past 15 months, I have gotten my share of other people’s opinions. I’m polluting the world because I use disposable diapers, I did my twins a disservice because I formula fed them and now they won’t get into an Ivy League pre-school, I don’t “baby wear,” so therefore I’m robbing my kids of affection. But my saving grace as a mom is I don’t offer my kids juice.

Whew, that was a close one.

In addition to being mom-shamed, I have also gotten spouse-shamed because I am not my husband’s Family Readiness Group leader. In the eyes of my fellow military spouses, that means I don’t support my man and I am not patriotic. This is far from my reality. I support him and the unit whenever needed, but in this season of my life, my place is at home, taking care of my kids.

When he took command, the company already had a solid FRG leader in place and my squad was 6 months old. Before I became a twin mom, I had a very different idea of what my life would look like when my husband was in the command seat.

I don’t have the time, or the desire, to be a lady who lunches or plan events that no one cares about.

Sorry, not sorry.

Why everyone feels they need or have the right to put others down is a phenomenon unto itself.

Unless you are a parenting expert who knows everything and always does the right thing — I’m pretty sure you don’t exist, but if you do, call me — it is probably best to fall back on the tried and true wisdom bestowed by Thumper.

“If you can’t say something nice ... don’t say nothing at all.”

Vanessa Lynch is a former metro editor at the Killeen Daily Herald. An Army spouse, she and her husband live in Harker Heights with their two children.

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