This is a thing right?? Lunchbox shame? I CAN’T be the only one who agonises over the choices I make as I painstakingly endure the designing, prepping and packing of… THE LUNCHBOX. Can I just say, If you are low income enough to get school dinners paid for.. then congratulations!.. and the same well wishes go to the rich peeps who can pay for them themselves too. I don’t hate you.. I am very.. very… happy for you, honestly… I am…and can I add I am in NO way upset with the fact i am blessed by the wonderful affliction of which I now speak. Cough… cough.
So, I remember so clearly the first time my shame reared its ugly head, when a darling lady i know so innocently remarked on her shock at the state of children’s lunchboxes at her school. She exclaimed with great passion how her own offspring have come home and reported back the horror of what they saw as the scanned their neighbours boxes during lunch. “JAM sandwiches!!” she gasped at us almost in disbelief.. “on WHITE bread!!” My stomach turned in a way that almost made me choke as I sipped my tea and I panicked, throwing her a glance back that assured her I was as surprised and appalled as she was. “That’s not even starting on their crisps and chocolate bars that they have as well!!” she added, and the nail was well and truly in the coffin.
She had described perfectly the desecration of a lunchbox I sent my kids in with everyday, and I couldn’t even bring myself to admit it and defend myself… I mean what was there to defend?! “I know right! Same at our school! Just crazy isn’t it?!” The lie left my lips and I was about as proud of myself as I would be if I had taken spare change from a blind mans’ collection tub.
I ruined my kids in their early years… I will confess to that now. The stress of parenting took a hold on me and left me with the health concerns of 13 year old boy. I had become so lazy there were many times we just had breakfast from the treat drawer, the sight alone of which would give most people diabetes, and a drawer of that gross magnitude should never have been allowed to even exist in a home with toddlers.
The next stage I shuffled on to wasn’t much better, and it generally meant I would ask the kids what they wanted.. and that’s what they got… (not the best responsibility to give a 2 and 4 year old ya reckon?!) Supper was often sugary cereal or toast with chocolate for dessert! Lunch could easily be 5 bags of crisps and a piece of fruit, and we NEVER ate together. Being a vegan and a bit (OK a lot) of a food nut I was forever trying the latest fad diet and hardly ever ate grub that the kids didn’t wrinkle their faces up at, so after various failed attempts to get my family on board I gave up like a penchant child, grumbling and whinging that “there’s no point in my cooking suppers, no-one even eats them!”
Now why am I telling you all about this I ask myself, is it even interesting?? Is this just confession maybe, spilling my guts to repent for my sins in my attempt to peel myself from my old skin? Most likely this was initiated by a not so small triumph I take credit for actually, when last friday my youngest son brought home a sticker he got at school and proudly announced it was for having the healthiest lunchboxes in his class. Yup that happened, the skittles and penguin bars for breakie mum felt like she had won the lottery, no joke!
It has been an incredible struggle to get to this place and man I have along way to go with getting my act together, but maybe I want to open up to let others know who may relate to me that EVERYDAY i want to stuff oreos and dairylea lunchables in their bags with a caprisun, and EVERYDAY i want to give them poptarts and strawberry milk for breakfast. But I don’t, and now eating supper together is one of the highlights of my day.
Honestly though at times it has literally hurt me to make the efforts I do, but when I look at their little faces and bodies, and remind myself that as they grow every single inch will be formed directly from the fuel that mummy dearest puts on their plates, I quickly get a slap in the face. It’s a mad concept that I know, but a true one, and a magnificent responsibility that keeps me focused thankfully.
So, am i alone? Maybe yes I am a shining example of how NOT to feed your children, and maybe you have never struggled, and I applaud you if this is true, but maybe now you may feel a little more normal, and forgive yourself a little more… if you are even a small bit like the person I was and fight not to be. You must also know we are up against the giants of industry at every turn, peddling their shiny and delicious wares that have been delicately and with precision engineering, designed to make us and our children addicted in ways we may never fully understand without decades of research ourselves.
We have to just tweak and tug, here and there, and do our best with the knowledge we can acquire on google (around vital netflix sessions of course) and with what our environment allows. Nothing can be perfect, and I most certainly am not, but things are changing, and change is the only constant… apart from those friggin fiddly lunchboxes with their tincy tupperware containers and all the crapping prepping!!!!… AGGGGHHHHHHHH…… SLAP!!… so worth it Kendy ❤