Today is Lucky Charms Day. It’s a new tradition in our house. Every Saturday morning, my kids get to eat Lucky Charms cereal.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. This is for real. (You notice I did not post this on April 1st.)
The Lucky Charms Tradition
A couple months ago, 8-year-old Kate and I were in a CVS. She became captivated by a box of Lucky Charms. (Of course she did! Cereal boxes are designed to captivate children.)
She looked up at me and said, “Mom, what does this cereal taste like?” (She has eaten mainstream kids cereals a handful of times in her life.)
I couldn’t lie. I said, “Yeah, it’s good. I ate it when I was a kid.”
I went on, the happy memories dancing in my head, “Every Saturday morning we used to watch cartoons and eat cereal. When I was a kid, we didn’t have YouTube and computers and iPads. We had ONE morning a week that they showed kids shows.”
“Can I get it, Mom? Please?” she asked, waving the box.
And ever since that day, every Saturday is Lucky Charms Day. Kate always pours the biggest bowl possible, and sits down at her little kid-sized table with great gusto and excitement to watch YouTube on her iPad while she relishes her Lucky Charms morning.
Ollie, 17 months old, begs for Lucky Charms until we give them to him. He eats all the marshmallow candy charms first, then he eats the cereal pieces. Ollie is so happy on Lucky Charms morning, he even does a little Lucky Charms Irish jig when the red box comes out.
OK, so I’m sure a lot of you are TOTALLY FREAKING OUT right now because you’re thinking, “OMG, Cheeseslave gives her kids junk food cereal!”
Yes, I do. Once a week. Let me explain.
The 80/20 Rule
Here’s why I got her the Lucky Charms. It’s because of the 80/20 Rule.
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle (and honestly, it’s probably more like 90/10) states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. In other words, 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
80% of what you worry about doesn’t matter and all the time you spend thinking about it is a complete waste of time.
The Pareto Principle was coined by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, in 1906, when he realized that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
People like to talk about the 99% vs. the 1% but that’s not really how it works. It’s actually 80/20. 20% of the world’s richest people control 80% of the wealth.
I have seen this play out in pretty much every part of my life. There are examples everywhere if you look around.
The 80/20 Rule and Junk Food
For me, the 80/20 rule is how I simplify my life and stop worrying so much. And focus on what matters.
Kate had 3 huge cavities filled last year. And I mean they were HUGE. And she had been eating a near-perfect WAPF diet since she was a baby.
How did this happen? I don’t know for sure but I believe it was because she was taking a supplement that was rancid (rancid fats cause a loss in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D that builds bone).
I have a number of friends who went through this. They were eating perfect WAPF diets, but ended up getting very sick from this WAPF-endorsed supplement. (I won’t go into it here, but if you want to read more about this, scroll back on the blog and read my posts from October-November 2015).
So it didn’t matter that we were doing everything right 99% of the time. Because that one supplement was likely the culprit that was causing massive damage.
Six days a week, Kate eats a great breakfast. It’s always some variation on her favorite breakfast foods: eggs, bacon, sourdough bread cinnamon toast with grass-fed butter, soaked oatmeal with butter and cream, and organic raw milk.
If you divide 6 by 7 days, you get 86%. So 6 days a week, or 86% of the time, Kate is eating a great breakfast. One day a week, she’s eating Lucky Charms.
Is she going to die from eating Lucky Charms once a week? No. Is she going to get cavities? I sincerely doubt it. Because 86% of the time, she’s eating really well.
The Purpose of Life is Joy
For us, Lucky Charms Day is a celebration. Not only are Lucky Charms “magically delicious,” they are a symbol. A reminder. To enjoy life and have fun.
Life is not about trying to be perfect and do everything right. It’s about enjoyment and fun.
My mother-in-law (best bubbe in the world!) has a big sticker on her fridge that has been there for nearly 3 decades. It says, DON’T POSTPONE JOY.
Also, you can think you’re doing everything “perfectly” and getting absolutely nowhere. I was feeding Kate a perfect diet in an attempt to build strong bones and teeth, and she got cavities.
Besides, I’d rather have happy kids who feel free and excited about life who eat really well 80% of the time than kids eat really well 99% of the time who feel trapped and are scared and nervous about the food they eat.
Can 80/20 Work for You?
If you are feeling stressed out trying to feed your kids the perfect diet, ease up. Not only will your family be happier, but I guarantee that you will be, too.
You can apply the 80/20 rule to other parts of your life as well.
For example, when I lost all my baby weight the first time in 2013 (40 pounds in 6 months), I found that it was really helpful to have a “cheat day” once a week. On that day I ate whatever I wanted. It really helped me to stick to my diet the rest of the week.
Another thing… try just doing 20% of the housework, only the high-impact stuff. Just clean the toilets, sweep and mop the high traffic areas, and do a quick tidying up on the kitchen and living room. If you just do that 20%, you’ll feel like you’re 80% of the way there.
So, yes, I’m giving you permission right now to slack on the housework and order a pizza for dinner tonight.
PS: You will notice there are very few pictures of Kate in this post. That’s because she doesn’t like having her photo taken. So you’ll have to make do with the pictures of Ollie who is still too young to object.
And with that, I leave you with a picture of Ollie with purple marker all over his face (don’t worry, it washed off).