You’ve probably seen them while searching on Pinterest, Google, or reading this blog. Those amazingly thought-out and detailed “bento” style cold lunches that moms across America are sending to school with their kids. They seem to be what’s on trend these days, and if you send your kid to school with anything less, you’re failing as a mother.
Well, maybe not. But they seem to be everywhere. Fancy bento-style lunches seemed like something I could never accomplish or live up to! So I wanted nothing to do with them. It just wasn’t my thing. I also wanted nothing to do with making ANY kind of lunch to send to school with my kid.
My kid was going to eat hot lunch, whether she liked it or not. That’s one less thing for me to have to do each night, and one less thing to remember to pack each day.
So, off to school my daughter went, excited about going through the lunch line, getting her tray, and eating hot lunch. Every day I’d ask how lunch was, and every day it was clear that she was not eating much, if any, of her lunch. Partly because she didn’t care for many of the items, and partly because by the time she sat down to eat she didn’t have enough time. (Did I mention my daughter eats slower than a snail?)
She started asking to bring a cold lunch. I said no. She kept asking. I kept saying no.
Then it happened.
I gave in on my one non-negotiable and agreed to let her start taking her own lunch. Not only that, I bought her a bento-style lunch box. I was officially a Bento Box Mom. And as much as it pains me to say it, the lunch box was actually a good purchase. But that’s as far as I’ve gone.
She doesn’t get themed lunches. She doesn’t get cute, creative little animal-shaped food.
The farthest I go is to use a cookie or sandwich cutter to cut her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into a fun shape, which in the end just looks like a blob. Instead of raw veggies and fresh fruit, she usually gets chips and a packaged fruit strip or apple sauce pouch. She doesn’t get gourmet pasta salads and quinoa; she gets a ham and cheese roll up and goldfish crackers. She doesn’t get yesterday’s leftover vegetable soup. She gets leftover, room temperature pizza.
Am I living up to the standard that Pinterest sets for us? Absolutely not. And you know what? I’m okay with that because my daughter loves her cheese and crackers, pretzels with Nutella, and Pirate’s Booty. And she actually eats it.