bento box school lunch for a child

Some of us parents lovingly prepare a home lunch. Others throw caution to the wind and hope our kids are eating something with nutritional value at school. Lunch of any kind is my nemesis. Yet I love cooking with my kids. We've made pancakes and shaped them like Mickey Mouse. We prepare peanut butter sandwiches and cut them into hearts and even pirate ships. But when it comes time for prepare them lunch to bring to school, I feel paralyzed. It's just not something I do; it's not something I'm good at. So I have them eat school lunch and it makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong sometimes. Are they eating? Is it full of junk? Are they drinking the high fructose corn syrup juice?!

But I let it go.

We shouldn't judge, but just like how we discussed what your kid's bedtime says about you (and for the sake of some laughs), we can make some assumptions. Home lunch or school lunch? That decision really does say a lot about you.

You are a 100 percent home lunch mom. You know your picky organic only eating kid isn't going to settle for some "lunch a la school." Or maybe you just don't want your child to eat something with ingredients you aren't aware of. No gluten! No artificial anything! You are an ingredient reading mama and take your time in the grocery store checking all the labels and expiration dates. I'm not saying you are anal, but you are hella aware. Magnificently meticulous. Some think you are an overachiever -- you may have been Class President in your day -- but for the record, I think you're great. Also, your child probably has allergies, in which case you are awesome for staying on top of that. You are a hands-on, no shoes in the house kind of mom who makes sure your kids do their homework on time. You probably have (or had or want) a nose ring. Or you homeschool.

You are a 100 percent school lunch mom. You feel like a failure stacked up against those home lunch moms but you are not. (That's what I keep telling myself, at least.) Or maybe you don't care. Either way you are a straight-forward kind of person and a deep thinker. You question the whole organic thing. You most likely despise cooking. You also despise GMOs but making a home lunch just isn't on your menu. Breakfast and dinner is plenty of food to prepare for your brood. If someone else can make them lunch, then you are sure as heck going to allow someone else to make them lunch. Or your child is in one of the older grades and thinks bringing lunch from home is totally uncool. You want your kid to eat healthy, and you also think the school lunch situation might open up your little one to try new foods because she sure isn't eating the green beans you make. 

You do home lunch sometimes and school lunch other times. You are meticulous. You know every holiday and are prepared with the decorations weeks in advance. You never forget school picture day and your child is perfectly dressed with the outfit you thought about him wearing since the first day of school. You make the coolest birthday party invites. You are like a mind-reader when it comes to your kids. Totally in-tune with them. You also know when the school is serving hot dogs and make sure your kid has a hummus, avocado, and carrot sandwich on 987-grain bread that day because your kid hates hot dogs. Since your kid loves pizza so much, you let her eat what the school serves on that day but pray she doesn't drink too much chocolate milk.

No matter what your lunch style is, as always, whatever works for your family works.

Are you a home lunch or school lunch mom? Does this description fit you?


Image via Melissa/Flickr