Ever been gripped with insecurity after seeing photos of stunning packed lunches on Pinterest or Facebook?
I mean, c’mon. Look at these lunches. They are things of beauty!
They were all packed by my friend and fellow blogger Bri from Red, Round, or Green. She often posts photos on Facebook of the lunches she assembles for her kids. My first thought when seeing her photos is usually, I wish Bri packed MY lunch.
No doubt your social media feeds are filled right now with lunchbox photos. Lunchbox recipes. Lunchbox game plans. And you may hear a quiet (or loud) voice telling you that your value as a mother is in direct correlation with how beautiful or well-balanced your child’s lunchbox is–or even worse, that you may as well hang it up because your child eats the school lunch.
This is a plea: Shush those voices.
I’m not going to rail against moms who cut sandwiches into shapes. I’m not going to rant about how we existed just fine on Hostess snack cakes and bologna so why do our kids need organic sorghum and beet greens? I’ve read those posts, and while they’re good for a guilty-pleasure chuckle, they’re not really fair. Who am I to disparage anyone who spends time packing a gorgeous and nutritious lunch?
These parents aren’t creating amazing lunchboxes to make you feel bad about yourself. They enjoy it. Their kids enjoy it. And they have some awfully good ideas–like frozen raspberries, never thought of that! (By the way, Bri also swears that her lunches only look pretty because of the Lunchbots containers she uses, but I think she’s selling herself short.)
When you see these photos and ideas, take them for what they are: ideas. Maybe some of them are realistic for you, maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re things your kids would like, maybe they’re not. Maybe there are foods your children (like mine) will happily eat at home but won’t authorize for their lunchboxes. That’s okay too.
So go ahead. Pack a sandwich and an apple. Or a thermos of leftover spaghetti. Or a themed “Frozen” bento with a rendering of Elsa made entirely out of hard-boiled eggs and chives. Or put money in your kid’s account for a month of school lunches. Whatever works for you and your child. Because wanting a nutritious lunch for your kids is a good thing, but agonizing over some notion of lunchbox perfection is not.