My parents aren't my boys daycare/nursery school, but they spend a lot of time with my 3.5 year-old sons and often have them alone for a few hours at a time. No one else could love my kids as much as they do, but my mom also gives my boys snacks and meals I don't approve of. The thing is, my mom is very concerned about nutrition and fitness. She just has spent 70 years of her life believing fat was bad and bread was good and that's so hard to change. She doesn't give my boys crap by most people's standards -- she feeds them things like scrambled eggs with fruit and whole wheat toast. Very nutritious by most American's standards. When I started transitioning my boys to a Paleo Diet, I talked to her a lot about why I was doing it and what I didn't want them eating anymore but she doesn't believe I need to be that strict with the Paleo for the boys. She strongly believes that more meat, veggies and fruit is a good thing -- but she can't stand seeing them eat loads of butter or fat on their meat. And she doesn't see why they can't have a piece of toast now and then.
I had to compromise a lot at the beginning and am still compromising. It just wasn't worth jeopardizing our relationship for. We are slowly finding our way toward a whole foods "Paleo-inspired" diet, but we eat together at least three meals a week and it's extremely hard to keep your kids from eating crackers in their chili when Papa puts half a box in his. My boys used to eat like Grandma and Papa and they don't understand why Grandma gets a roll with lunch and they don't. It's just too hard to fight that and the hurt feelings with the kids and the grandparents are not worth it.
When the boys are with me only they eat Paleo. When my parents come to my house for dinner - we all eat Paleo (with Dairy). When my kids are with my grandparents they eat "our compromise diet." She still won't give them a lot of fat, but she's willing to feed them mostly meat, eggs, dairy, and veggies, although they still are going to get beans, rice, potatoes or bread. At first she was still feeding them a lot of bread -- now it's one or two pieces. It's getting better. But even today, we were out for lunch as a family and we all got the salad bar--lots of fruit, meat, and veggies. Then my dad got a bowl of the corn chowder and at least 10 packs of saltine crackers which of course my boys begged for. My Dad said he was saving one pack for each of them but "they'd have to ask mom." Okay, that's better than two months ago when he would have just given them the crackers, but if I had said no, I would have had to leave the lunch with two crying and screaming boys. I chose not to do that, but it's a hard balance. My dad loves crackers. He will probably continue to eat crackers in front of my boys and they are too young to understand why we eat differently than Papa. For me, I think we are doing well to have slow progress. It's so much better now than three months ago and I keep working at slowly converting my parents.
The bottom line is my relationship and my boys' relationships with my parents are more important than Paleo nutrition. I am slowly working to convert them or to at least have them feed the boys rice or corn instead of bread. Small victories--that's what I'm going for here! If it takes a few years, then so be it. We're learning and growing and taking things slowly.