Okay, time to vent…here we go!
As you’re well-aware, school lunches have become a sizzling hot topic in our mommy world. Wow – if we could turn back time to our pre-kids days and tell ourselves that this would even be a topic of conversation, let alone one that gets our full-back mommy panties in a knot, we might have reconsidered this whole family life thing. LAME!!! It’s not like this topic is even remotely interesting. As our twenty-something, childless team member, Lindsay, edits this blog, she might actually fall asleep reading it (but not before deciding on the spot that kids are for fools and kids make previously normal adults act like fools). We digress.
Of course we respect the fact that our kids’ lunches have to be allergy safe. Although none of our seven children have allergies, we sympathize with the families who have to deal with the stress and struggle of their kid’s allergy on a daily basis, and we would never want to contribute to the dangers that lie in food for those children. But when it comes to people judging parents based on how “healthy” or “unhealthy” their kid’s lunch is, that’s when we get all fired up. Hence, the rant…which we shouldn’t even be writing, because why give this unfortunate reality more attention than it deserves?
Hear us out. We obviously want what’s best for our kids. What mom doesn’t? We want them to grow into healthy, strong, capable people, but we’re pretty sure a few harmless granola bars won’t send our children into a downward spiral that will have a negative affect on the rest of their life.
There are so many opinions from so many people, who apparently get to decide what’s deemed healthy and what is not. But no one should really have a say in the contents of a child’s lunch box other than the mom or dad who packed it!
We’ve compiled a list of people who think they have a say:
The nutritionist is constantly changing the “guidelines for a heathy diet” and letting us know the recommendations for protein, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium and more. Umm, sorry, I have kids, and a job, and a million other things on my to-do list, so I actually don’t have time to take out the calculator to come up with the exact measurements of each category for my kids’ meals.
The parenting expert says the kids will eat if they are hungry. Really? Because my kid says he is starving but won’t even lick the dinner in front of him.
The health conscious mom friends who don’t allow sugar in their kids’ lunches and who remind me that red dye and sugar are poison and that if I choose to feed these to my kids then I am basically the devil creating other small devils. I’m
sad not sad to say we can no longer be friends.
The grandma (aka my mom) who says a little sugar never hurt me growing up, nor did frozen fish sticks, salami sandwiches on white bread or Jos Louis for dessert or after-school snack. (Although grandma doesn’t really have a say, I’m totally with her on this one.)
The offspring who hate everything healthy I pack them for lunch and would prefer to go on a hunger strike than eat what I make them. That’s it. I’m selling my kids. If anyone is interested in a few sleep-trained (bonus), picky eaters (a challenge), who pee the bed every now and then, they’re FREE.
And then there’s the mom (aka me, you…us), who only wants the best for her children. Who scours Pinterest before bed every night in hopes of finding healthy recipes that her kids might consider taking a bite of. Who comes up with a clever way to hide vegetables inside a meal in order to potentially relieve some of the guilt she feels from serving butter pasta for dinner for the past three nights because that is literally all her hormonal seven-year-old daughter will consume.
PAUSE. Anyone else’s head spinning? Talk about pressure! No wonder us mamas are exhausted. Let’s all breathe. Oooommmmm shanti, shanti, shanti.
CONTINUE. So, on top of all of those people (and there are definitely more), we have our kids’ freaking teachers and schools jumping in and enforcing their rules and laws about what our kids should—or should not—be eating for lunch.
[Insert car screeching sound]
Pardon!? No, no, no. Enough is enough already. Teachers, your job is to help our children learn, not eat. On a side note, we are truly, endlessly thankful for you, because homeschooling would have led to a bunch of kids living off the system later in life. So, really, thank you.
We leave our kids with you every day, so that you can teach them how to be functioning and contributing members of our society, both academically and socially. We want you to put your efforts into helping our children gain confidence through education and become capable and independent learners. If our children are struggling in this area, then that is when you can step in – send an email, set up a meeting for us to chat about what the issues might be.
But when it comes to what our kids are eating, you can save your efforts. That’s our job, and we got it. Our kids trust us, and if you tell them that mommy is packing unhealthy lunches, what will that do to their confidence in us? Let’s not confuse these little people – that won’t help. You do your job and let us do ours, and we will all be happy.
So, if our message was not clear, here you go: get out of our kids’ lunch bags.
Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer are entrepreneurs, YouTubers, Facebook Live hosts, media personalities, and brand spokespeople. Together, they parent seven children, manage two husbands and run Social Common, a one of a kind digital platform for moms. Through their candid videos, Cat & Nat share the real, raw, uncensored side of motherhood with moms all around the world.