Notes From a Slacker Lunch Packer

by ParentCo. November 17, 2017

Enough already. Parenting magazines, this means you. You're supposed to make me feel better about being a mom, not like a complete slacker for packing my kid a PB&J for lunch. It has the crust cut off and it's shaped in a circle, mind you. I mean, I thought I was a freaking superhero for that. But then I open your latest issue and see photos like the one with a note from the reader that says, “In our house we do themed lunches each week, it’s a great way to get my kids to eat their fruits and veggies” (Lucy from Mulberry, Kansas). Yeah, well, it’s also a great way to get yourself run over by another mom in the school pick-up line, Lucy.

Seriously?

I wonder about these people. I look at the town they're from as if that will give me some insight into this madness. Oh, they’re from Mulberry, Kansas! Maybe in Kansas people have four hours to assemble their kid’s lunch? I convince myself that if I lived in Mulberry, I too would create masterpiece lunches. Then I think, “Well, I live in the woods on a small island where there’s literally nothing to do so, really, what’s my excuse?” Perhaps it's the fact that I’m not insane.

It’s one thing to see these lunches in magazines, but I work as a substitute teacher in our school district so I get to see home lunches firsthand. Let me tell you, these lunches really do put me to shame. It’s not so much the artful arranging as it is what I see kids actually eating. Lunches filled with fresh fruits, veggies, protein, kale chips, seaweed crackers, and five little dark chocolate chips as a treat. All in perfectly proportioned reusable containers.

Damn you, Pinterest.

Then there is my nine-year-old daughter’s lunch: PB&J on white bread, goldfish, and actual chocolate for a treat, mostly packaged in (gulp) disposable baggies. Just ban me from this island right now, along with the plastic grocery bags that were banned a few years ago. Sometimes I scan the classroom at lunchtime to see if any other kid has a Ziploc baggie and I feel a pathetic sense of relief when I spot one. Hey, other baggie mom, reveal yourself so we can be friends.

As a result of watching all these kids devouring healthy foods, I’ve vowed to do better. I bought “whole grain” cheddar goldfish and put them in a baggie so my daughter wouldn’t see the box. She took one bite of the goldfish and promptly stated, “Something’s wrong with these goldfish. They taste weird.”

I bought wheat bread instead of white bread and told her it was the same but they just used brown sugar instead of white sugar. That actually worked until my 14-year-old walked in and said, “Ugh. Why did you buy wheat bread?” Foiled again.

So I decided to try peer pressure. I told my daughter about all the kids' lunches that I see when I’m working. I tell her that her lunch is just embarrassing and that every day she must take a fruit or a vegetable. The other morning she made her lunch herself and put it in her backpack.

“Let me see your lunch. Did you pack any fruit or veggies?” I asked.

“Nope.”

“Here’s a bag of strawberries. Put them in your lunchbox.” I offered her the fruit.

“Do I actually have to eat them?" She protested. "Can’t I just stand up and wave them around the classroom so people will see them and just think you’re a good mom?”

Touché, my child. Touché.

This was originally posted on the author's blog: I Might be Funny.


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