Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mommy Frustrations

Most moms I know have frustrations that come in waves.  One particular issue will drive us batty for a week or two.  Then it will subside and another problem will rear its ugly head.  My current frustration is one that is really ongoing, but, from time to time, it really gets under my skin - packing lunches.

My girls won't eat the cafeteria food at their school, so every night after I get them to bed, I trudge back to the kitchen - the kitchen I most likely just cleaned up after preparing a meal I most likely painstakingly planned - and face down the three lunchboxes of dread.

They don't really look that intimidating, do they?

Here's what I have to deal with:

First of all, there's Rachel, the vegetarian - the vegetarian who eats no fruit and very few vegetables.  I mostly end up packing her carbs and some dairy, but even then there are complications.  She doesn't eat pb and j (gasp - what kid doesn't eat pb and j??  I have THREE of them!), she only eats certain flavors of yogurt, and doesn't want anything kid-like (goldfish, go-gurt, etc.) because, apparently, fourth graders are just too mature for that stuff.  Her teacher also allows her students to have a morning snack, but it must be finger food and water.  So, I have been packing her a small bottle of water everyday for the entire school year so far.  This week, I noticed that the same bottle of water kept coming back home unopened.  When I asked Rachel about it tonight her response was, "I just don't like that water anymore."  Huh???  What does she mean "that water?"  Water is water, isn't it??  Sometimes, I think she is surely just torturing me.  I mean, where does she come up with this stuff??
Next, there's Megan.  She really isn't that picky, but she eats a lot.  I usually have to pack her a main item (thermos, chicken nugget, etc.), chips or crackers, yogurt, and fruit.  She is not without quirks, though.  She doesn't like sandwiches.  She gets tired of things more easily if I pack the same thing over and over.  This one you'll love - she wants a separate spoon for each item in her lunchbox. (i.e.  yogurt, spaghetti O's, and applesauce = 3 separate spoons)  If I don't pack them, she will go get them from the cafeteria!   

Then, there's Emily.  She attends preschool at our church four days a week.  Our preschool is completely nut free (which doesn't really affect Emily because she is so darn picky to begin with).  The thing that is difficult is that the preschool puts all the kids' lunchboxes in the refrigerator until lunchtime.  That may seem like a good thing, but spaghettiO's and pizza are two of the only things Emily will eat and she won't eat them cold.  That means, I have to pack the cold stuff and the warm stuff separately.  Since she is already super picky, that just adds insult to the injury.

Finally, I have one more gripe about the whole situation.  All of their likes and dislikes; all of their food quirks are different!!  It's not like I can put the same menu out three times and just toss it in their lunchboxes.  Each one has "stupid special requirements" and I have to figure this out 5 times a week! 

I want them to eat healthy, of course.  However, I also don't like the thought of them being hungry at school because mommy didn't pack anything they like in their lunch.  Where's the balance??  Does anyone else have this much trouble with packing lunches or are my kids just super weird unique??  Am I totally blowing this out of proportion???  Seriously.  I'm going bonkers here, folks!!!  Suggestions are welcome! 

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Sweet Carolina Grace said...

Could it be part of the older girls' after-school routines to help clean out their lunchkits and then get their lunches made for the next day? That way they can be involved, know what is going to be in it, help choose and "make the decisions," and it gets done earlier in the evening. (I have this gripe, too, but with my husband waiting until the last minute to do work stuff.)

Rev Doll said...

Am so glad I am not the only one! I have a picky eater who will not eat the "gourmet" meals offered by her private school nor does she eat PB&Js nor any kind of sandwich!!! She prefers "tapas" style lunches from home and has, on occasion, laid down on the floor and kicked her feet and screamed like a 2 yr old (she's 7!) if she doesn't like the choices I've placed in her lunch box... I'm with others who are strongly encouraging me to delegate this responsibility to her... Love your blog and am a Goldenspoons fan!!

Martha said...

Hallelujah! I'm not the only one!?!?! I'm fairly certain that our six children would be best friends. I have the exact same issues and the exact same dread over packing the lunches. And I mean THE EXACT same... no sandwiches, no repeats, no yogurt tubes for some but certain flavors only for others, different spoons for different spoonable items.... ! Briana had a good suggestion but I'm pretty sure my kids would "make" their own cookie or chip themed lunch and I'd be cited to Child Services! I make the lunches in the morning but I try to organize things the night before.

It's just another reason I look forward to summer!

Unknown said...

One of my 3 boys is a picky eater, although he isn't really picky in the typical sense. His favorite foods are tilapia, grilled chicken, cabbage, carrots, and sweet potatoes. He is picky in what he likes packed in his lunchbox. He doesn't really like sandwiches....which really limits lunchbox choices. Also, our school doesnt permit heating in the microwave.

I LOVE when the lunchroom has things that they boys like to eat, so that I don't have to worry about packing lunches. I usually make the boys help with the packing when they take their lunches. I fix the main thing...(usually ham and cheese in a flour tortilla) and they boys get the side items and the drink.

It works out ok, but I would still rather they eat in the lunchroom.

Krissy Miller said...

None of my kids are in school yet so I don't have to deal with this issue . . . yet. But it definitely sounds like something that would drive me a bit crazy! At home, we have a rule that what we're having for breakfast, lunch and dinner is what we're having and if you don't like it then you can wait for the next meal . . . but I cheat :/ I don't like knowing they're not eating something, anything so I usually give them a snack they like. Ahh, who knows what the right balance is! I think just doing the best you can is great. It's obvious how much you care for your girls :)

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