“I sent the mother of the birthday girl an instruction email”

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If you approach things a little differently at home than the average mother, you can bet you’ll get comments on that. So Pauline once again explains that she has chosen a vegan parenting style with full conviction.

Pauline: “My son Bobbie (7) has a pretty busy social life with friends and birthdays. Very nice of course, but also sometimes difficult because we are vegan. I don’t want to keep anything from Bobbie; of course he must be able to eat a cake or burger. Just not with egg, dairy or meat in it. That’s why I have a huge cupboard at home with baked goods and snacks.

I now bake cupcakes from memory, including icing. I also have all the ingredients for vegan burgers at home and I buy plant-based snack bags in bulk: at school there are always a few in the drawer, just in case a treat contains animal products. His teacher is a vegetarian and understands my train of thought.


I’ve been vegan for almost ten years; I eat plant-based and do not use products with animal ingredients. So our jackets, shoes and bags are made of plastic, canvas or fake leather. My cosmetics are not tested on animals and we don’t go to the zoo: I think that’s sad, all those locked up animals. I prefer to take Bobbie to the swimming pool, the cinema or the playground.

Bobbie thinks that’s totally fine too, he’s been vegan all his life. It only becomes difficult when I’m not in control. Like a school trip to the petting zoo. Or a birthday party where all the kids go pony riding. I’ve been sitting with that: should I keep him at home?

According to several people from the vegan forum on which I am active, I should seize such a moment to ‘spread the word’. To make others aware of animal suffering. But I choose not to. Cowardly maybe, but I don’t want to be known as that nag. Like that difficult mother, so Bobbie won’t be invited to a party next time.

Read also – The treat hell: What are those schools doing to us? >

Dietary requirements

I have an instruction email with menu suggestions that I email to the birthday girl’s mother: what does Bobbie eat and what not. And I always ask what kind of cake she wants to serve, so I can bake something similar, from chocolate cake to profiteroles. I also always put some vegan chips, candy and cookies in a bag, and then I just have to hope it goes well. That parents take my son’s dietary requirements seriously.

Unfortunately that is not always the case. For example, he recently ate popcorn at a party during the movie night. It usually contains butter. And in pudding there is gelatin, ground pork bones. A lot of people don’t know that, so I can’t blame anyone for that either.

“His boyfriend’s father had told Bobbie not to tell me: ‘Otherwise your mother will be angry.’”

I find it more annoying when people push my ideals aside and tell Bobbie to take it easy that I’m not here. He was confused after a play date: he had eaten frankfurters, but his boyfriend’s father had told Bobbie not to tell me: “Otherwise your mother will be angry.”

I cried, out of frustration. But it was also a learning experience: I didn’t fail as a vegan parent. It’s about intention, and I can’t do more than my best. Besides lying about a dairy, egg and meat allergy. I have not done that yet, but I certainly do not rule it out with disrespectful parents.”

87% of mothers in the Netherlands have to deal with mom shaming, according to research by Kek Mama. The editors found this so shocking that they started a campaign: Kek Mama launches mombracing, the counterpart of momshaming, and calls on all mothers to support each other instead of criticizing from now on.

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