When it comes to making school lunches I sometimes suspect I’m a lousy Mom. I want to be the Mom making the cool themed bento-style lunches, with fruit shaped like flowers and tiny sandwiches shaped like animals. The reality is I’m the mom that goes to head to bed at 1 a.m. and realizes I forgot to make my kids lunch again, and I’m left wondering if anyone at the school is going to notice that she’s eating mortadela and grapes for the third day in a row.
Jody over at MommyMoment showcases a series of Loveable Lunches she makes for her daughter. I used to read her posts and think oh hey, once my daughter is in school I am going to do that! The reality? Ha. Not so much.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I started off the school year with the idea that I was going to be this lunch making genius. I got out my vintage cookie cutters and pressed slices of kiwi into star shapes, I made crustless tuna sandwiches in the form of whales, and I topped it all off with handwritten notes.
And I discovered that my kid didn’t give a hoot. Hurriedly thrown together sandwiches and cute shaped creations both suffer the same fate. They come back home, at best half eaten, smushed into an unrecognizable mess in the bottom of her backpack.
The notes don’t come back home, so they must end up somewhere, like say in her classroom’s recycling bin. Since my daughter is four years old and doesn’t read yet, well how many pictograms can I come up with, really? I feel like someone on the other end is picking these up and looking at them and shaking their head. Maybe they bring them in the staff room and laugh, asking each other, What do you think THIS is supposed to be a picture of??
So the notes, the carefully shaped lunches, they quickly fell by the way side. My daughter doesn’t even seem to notice or appreciate any difference between the days when I take the extra time to pack her a special lunch, and when I don’t. She is much more concerned about the contents of her lunch, like say whether or not I’m including “fruity shapes” in the mix.
|This is the only sort of shaped fruit my daughter is worried about,
no sugar added pressed fruit shapes in her cereal mix.
And here’s where I do worry. Here’s where I start to suffer from mommy guilt and a sinking suspicion that I’m failing her in some way. Her school breaks lunch into three eating periods, they call it something like “the balanced eating schedule”. I send her to school with a drink, a snack, a lunch, and a second snack. Everything is supposed to be numbered. #1, #2, #3 so they will know what order she is supposed to eat them in. Ok, seriously? I don’t care what order she eats them in, provided she eats. Does it really matter if she has the blueberries before or after lunch? Will the world end if she eats her tuna sandwich for snack #1?
Apparently, I’m supposed to worry about this sort of stuff. And to complicate matters her school provides a snack as well. During snack period #1 there is a government subsidized healthy snack delivered to all of the kids. From what I’ve read in the school newsletter, they expect me to go to the school website and view the snack schedule for the week, so I can plan out balanced meals. So for example, if the school is providing cut up bananas and watermelon that day, then I’ll know she’s already getting her serving of fruit.
I feel like I’m being graded on the lunches I provide for her. Like one day I’m going to get a note from the school chastising me for not providing enough vegetables, or for giving her cheese when the school is already providing something dairy based. Ugh. I suck at this. I am not a dietitian. I have my copy of the Canada Food Guide sitting gathering dust in my dining room. Am I supposed to be logging my kid’s meals and measuring how many servings of grain she had at breakfast, so I can figure out if her lunch should include the multigrain cereal snack over the sliced grapes? Given that my daughter eats at the pace of a snail and that most days she brings home 90% of her food uneaten, I’m just happy if she eats anything.
What do you think? Should I be fussing over this? What about you folks? Where do you rate on the fancy lunch scale of things? Are you tossing together last minute lunchmeat sandwiches, or crafting carefully balanced lunches, or somewhere in between?