The Bane of my Existence

One word sums it up: Lunches.

I know you guys feel it to, or at least those of you who send your kids off during the day and need to provide some way to hold back their starvation.

The constant dilemma: do I give them a nice, balanced, healthy, nutritious lunch that costs me a fortune and a great deal of effort that they’ll inevitably pick at and eat portions of and then send half of it home for me to grudgingly compost?  Or do I send their lunch full of processed, easy, prepackaged, reusable if they don’t eat it but they will probably get colon cancer and the teachers will silently judge you behind your back foods?

So then you try to think of things that walk the line, things that they’ll actually eat and aren’t hideous for them and maybe even have a few vitamins interlaced.  Fruit.  Kids usually love fruit right?!  But for some reason the grapes that my four year old devoured yesterday came home uneaten today.  And if you cut the apples they go brown and don’t get eaten but if you don’t cut them then the kids either take one bite out of it and waste the rest or they just roll around and bruise.  But they love strawberries!  So win!  Strawberries!  Oh wait, those strawberries that looked plump and red at the grocery store on Sunday now look like they have cellulite on Tuesday.  Okay, so strawberries on Monday and Tuesday, now I just have to figure out Weds-Fri.  Oh!  Oranges!  They’ll usually eat oranges right?  Oranges last on the counter for quite a while!  Okay, so they’re too impatient and lazy to peel them, even though I bought the easily peeled Mandarin oranges.  Okay, I’ll pre-peel them.  What’s that?  They don’t like them pre-peeled because they start to shrivel and dry out by lunch?  I mean, just because NOBODY can actually tell this is happening, doesn’t mean it’s not happening right?  Because to my children, it is.  Bananas?  Oh, well, bananas bruise.  Luckily my four year old will usually eat them.  My seven year old won’t though so what should I send with her?  hmmmm… okay, she’s getting carrot sticks.  And if that little princess doesn’t like them I’m just going to keep resending that same pack of carrots every day until she eats them.  I mean, people will either say I’m emotionally scarring her and causing a future fear of carrot sticks or they’ll praise me for being consistent and teaching them a life lesson about not being wasteful of food and being able to settle in life.  Or is that being able to roll with the punches?  And do I want them to settle in life?  I don’t even know anymore, I think my life lessons are all very confused at this point.  I’m pretty sure that I’m going to screw my kids up irrevocably by their lunches alone.  Can you imagine how much I’m messing them up with the other parts of their life?  WHAT ABOUT DINNER?  I’m sure I must be setting them up for some sort of disorder!

Oh god, the pressure.  I don’t think I can handle lunches anymore.  Why couldn’t I have sent them to a school with vending machines so I could just give them some coins and then they could make their own decisions and screw themselves up instead?!

Sigh, okay, pull yourself together.  It’s not that big of a deal.  You can do this.  Only 3 more days of lunches to go…

This is maybe a slightly exaggerated version of my weekly thought process but one thing remains consistent: I start the week with the motivation of super mom and I eventually run out of strawberries and this happens.

lunch

*disclaimer, I would never send that lunch with my kid in real life.  I would have added a granola bar.  😉

Parenting is hard.

I was never one of those kids who couldn’t wait to have babies and snuggle them and pinch their little toes because the world would just be so much cuter and more fun.  I’m a realist.  I knew it would be something I would want eventually and that it would open up a big can of responsibility worms.  And for maybe the third time in my life, I was right.

It’s hard stuff!  I have pretty cool kids and still I worry that I’m going to do something to mess them up.  I’m going to give them cancer by not buying organic celery or they’ll have abandonment issues because I send them to daycare.  I second guess every decision it seems and it’s only getting worse as they get older and are starting to have long term memories about their childhood.

For instance, my girls share a room.  For a long time one of us would lie in the bottom bunk with them until my youngest fell asleep and then my oldest would crawl into her bed and read a little and fall asleep too.  I was fine with this.  Well, it started getting to a point where it would take a long long time for my youngest to fall asleep and my husband had had enough and was convinced we were setting her up for needy sleeping tendencies and it was making it so that we had virtually no time together.  For two months we worked on getting her to fall asleep with us not snuggled up beside her.  Some nights were great, some nights were not but we were consistent.  Isn’t that what they say?  Be consistent at all costs?  Well, that ran out and eventually we started sitting by the door to the room and then sitting on the end of the bed and now, well, I’m snuggled back up beside her while she falls asleep.  I know, people will say she’s only young once, enjoy it.  And I do.  Truly.  Sleeping kids are the stuff dreams are made of.  But then I’m back to worrying that I’m messing her up.

Then I started thinking about all of my friends and the things they do that they worry about and the fact that if I were them, I would tell them that they’re doing just fine.  So why am I so hard on myself then?  Well, I’m no psychologist but I finally decided on this.

mar2

When it comes down to it, all of the parents out there who actually consider the implications of how they treat their children must be doing something right, because really, what else can you do?