School lunches are a year-round thing for working moms ... - Baby Steps in High Heels

Friday, June 5, 2015

School lunches are a year-round thing for working moms ...

Moms of school-aged children everywhere are celebrating this week that they will have a much needed reprieve from making the dreaded school lunch five days a week. For working moms with kiddos still in day care or summer programs, we are not so lucky. School lunches are one of the most frustrating struggles I face with my kids.

Why? You might ask: why? What is so difficult about packing a little lunch box? So very, very many things, I tell you. Some are real, true struggles. Others are silly little non-issues that I tend to obsess over. They all add up, and they add up every single day of the work week. Every. Day.

Picky eaters. Y’all. Never have I ever delighted so pathetically and yet genuinely as I did the day my daughter decided she would eat turkey sandwiches for lunch. She doesn’t eat peanut butter. She has basically never eaten anything that would easily pack well in a lunch box. Thank goodness for the lovely lady that works in her preschool’s kitchen who would warm up macaroni or quesadillas for her for the past 3 years. But, PRAISE the LORD, we can now pack a {simple} sandwich, which does require special bread and extra cheese … but it can be packed, stored, and eaten cold. Halleluiah! This child has been a picky eater since day one, so please forgive what may appear to be an excessive use of rejoicing prayers. I assure you: they are 100% heartfelt.

Little supervision and lots of waste. The teachers at school are wonderful, but let’s face it: there is just no way they can supervise what each and every child does or does not eat. Heck, I can’t even handle that task with my own two kids. Trying to strike a balance between healthy meals and still pack items they will actually eat is tough. I have no idea how teachers manage to get 18 preschoolers to stay in their seats much less eat the good food first and dessert last. So, whether or not my child eats the healthy items I packed or just the cheese crackers and two bites of the aforementioned turkey sandwich is always a crapshoot. This in turn leads to so much waste that it tends to drive me a bit crazy. Y’all, this is a year-round-never-ending struggle, and I am kinda tired of it.

Remembering to do it is such a chore. Never mind that two sentences ago I explained that this is a year-round-never-ending struggle, it somehow always seems to sneak up on me. I know I have to do it, but other tasks always seem to take priority leaving me scrambling to throw lunches together at 6 a.m. I mean, really. My coffee hasn’t even kicked in at that point, so of course I’m grumpy about assembling sandwiches and thermos containers and the carefully selected snack items that are juuuust the right balance of healthy and tasty so maybe {just maybe} they’ll be eaten instead of trashed. I have always been a decent enough morning person, but this level of decision-making prior to my second cup of coffee is just not fair. Never mind that it’s of my own doing. Really, I just whined that it’s not fair, so I think we are past the point of reason now …

Washing a million tiny containers stinks. This particular an effort to ‘save the earth’ is likely to push me over the edge one day. I don’t know if it’s that this task comes at the end of the work day or if it is because I have to clean each bowl/lid/cup and trash uneaten food that I had so enthusiastically prepared for my children a mere 10 hours earlier, but there are days that I would rather just put everything in disposable baggies and tell the kids to throw away anything that isn’t consumed by snack time. It might save us all a bit of sanity. I’m not there yet as it would be totally against my Type A-need to know what is actually making it into their little bellies during the day.

Do you love making your kid’s lunches? If so, PLEASE tell me why and how . And if you’re willing to come make my kids’ lunches, too.

Happy summer!


  1. Love this. And my kids bring home the baggies so I know what they've eaten (or not) and why they are in such a horrendous (or wonderful) mood.

    1. Thanks. I never can decide if I really want to know or not ... but it definitely explains their various moods!

  2. I have said since Baby Gray started Happy House that making lunches was such a "mom thing." He'll eat pretty much anything, so I pack leftovers and whatnot usually. (He'll eat it any temperature as well.) However, this year in the camphouse, I have cooked less, and therefore, lunches were much more of a chore.

    I'm so glad she's eating more that's easy!

    1. I'm so glad H is a good eater. That's more of a blessing than you may know. :)