Brown Bag Blues
There are certain fears you have as a mother.
There is the fear of street crossing, park playing, bones breaking. There is the fear of strangulation by window blinds. Swallowing swimming water. Breathing while sleeping. There is watching bad movies, making good friends, making the most of each moment. Falling off beds, falling down stairs, falling in love.
There are also lesser known fears which arrive with the territory of motherhood. These are they which somehow remain unregulated by the government, do not have the well-intentioned support of non-profit organizations, nor do they find their way on Oprah or the front pages of the New York Times. And yet.
They are real. And they are terrifying.
There is the fear that (at eleven minutes to midnight) your dentist will spot you cruising the aisles of WalMart with four children in pajama’s, two gallons of ice cream, and eight bags of Peanut M&M’s. There is the fear that, when tucked into the silver folding chairs of their Sunday School class, your twins will proceed to burp, twice mention the term “underwear,” and sing a song about being “buck naked”. You worry that your girls will mold into the purple leather couch during their 6-hour Mary Kate & Ashley Movie Marathon on a particularly lazy, snowy Saturday. That your boys will never learn to throw their dirty jeans, dirty socks or dirty kleenex’s into appropriate receptacles. That the second-round of pet-store fishes will die, that the fresh-baked cupcakes will fall face-first into the gravelly school parking lot, that the science fair project will take over the kitchen table, five long weekends, and your thin veil of sanity.
Yes, my fellow mothers. There is much for us to fear.
(cream cheese & jelly sandwiches, fresh pear, popcorn and m&m’s)
Yet, in my mind, there is no fear more persistent or consistent that the one that occurs every morning at 7 a.m. when it’s time to pack up school lunches. The task is terrifyingly complex. Andrew doesn’t like peanut butter. Becca won’t eat tuna. The twins aren’t allowed anything which induces burping or buck-nakedness. “Weird Stuff” is waaaay too embarrassing for the middle-schooler to unpack in the lunchroom, “Nasty Stuff” (like applesauce and carrot sticks) get tossed into the trash by my uber-picky carnivore.
(hot dog & cheese picks, whole apple, homemade cheerio-cranberry-peanut-mini.gummy.bear trail mix)
It’s a conundrum, I tell you–packing up the perfect balance of healthy, edible treats approved by both mother and children–and it happens five mornings a week. Somehow, right about mid-school year, the task arrives with even more sludgelike drudgery than usual. It becomes uncreative, uninspired, unedible. (Oh, okay. INedible.) After all, we’ve been making school lunches every day for six months straight and it starting to be the downright doldrums.
(hard boiled eggs with a salt-pepper-and.pinch.of.cayenne rub, blood orange, yogurt)
Which is why I’ve decided it’s time to pep up our school lunch routine.
(melted-cheese quesadilla roll-ups, cheese & salt sprinkled bell pepper flowers slices, lightly toasted cinnamon-sugar tortilla triangles.)
Determined to pack quick, healthy, colorful, kid-friendly offerings, I’ve been keeping a list of our favorite “fun” lunches and figured it was about time I share.
(tomato-basil pasta salad, a full-sized carrot…those baby ones are soooo 1999, graham crackers with homemade buttercream frosting)
After all, we mom’s have enough to be afraid of.
(Like having the school lunch-ladies bear witness to the meal your kids packed all by themselves…)
Good thing I know where to find the dentist around midnight.
How do you keep the Brown Bag Blues away?
Leave a comment and let me know all about your best brown-bag lunch secrets. (Or your worst mommy fear.) Your comment will automatically enter you in a random drawing for one of these GORGEOUS Let’s Do Lunch Bags.