My husband comes from an observant, conservative family where he grew up in a Kosher home. We keep a (loosely) kosher home as a result. The thing is I don't really believe in it. I do feel that it separates us sometimes from our peer group and I feel strongly that there are better ways to eat and shop and would love to make better choices about the meat we eat. It's hard for me to make a convincing case to my kids when I myself am not convinced.
I hear you. And this is a hard one. Of all the Jewish customs and rituals, kashrut is the one that has felt most like a sacrifice to me. I grew up in the type of Jewish home where we had a separate set of meat and dairy dishes, but the joke was which plates to use when we ate shrimp. I loved shrimp. We used to order it as a topping on our pizza from the same joint that made a delectable Philly cheese steak.
In my early twenties (before I met my husband), I was curious about taking on more Jewish observance, and that's when I began keeping a version of kashrut: no pork, shellfish or straight-up milk and beef (ie cheeseburger). It was a tentative process. I used to order a Japanese bento box lunch-special and eat just one shrimp shumai dumpling, placing the other uneaten one back in the bag as some sort of offering. I wasn't sure if kashrut was what God required of me, so it was like splitting the difference, just in case. Eventually, I could do without both dumplings, even amidst the uncertainty.
What we put in our bodies and what we feed our children is personal and political. Thankfully, there is ever increasing awareness around food, which yield more options; I take my four-year-old to the farmers market to support local food. We buy our meat from Grow and Behold, which offers kosher pasture-raised meat without antibiotics or hormones. And it is delicious. When we barbeque with non-kosher friends, we just bring enough to share.
Your description of your loosely kosher home tells me that you and your husband are into tradition but not dogma, so I hope the dialogue remains open and you continue to make choices that honor the customs but speak to your own family. Your kosher home does not need to look exactly like the kosher home of the previous generation.
Finally, there's a piece in here which I think you deserve recognition for, and that's honoring something that you're not certain about, simply because it is important to someone that you love. That, to me, feels deeply Jewish and it is a beautiful thing.