It's true, I was defeated.
Six years, three kids, five days a week, 10 months in a school year (minus glorious, glorious pizza days), and the filling of lunch boxes had me crazed.
But that's behind me now.
Let's go back a little while.
When my firstborn entered school six years ago, I happily complied with our school's litterless lunch campaign. We bought little pots with matching lids, and slapped our teeny tiny labels all over them. I filled those pots with delicious bites, and sent my girl on her way. But as the years ticked by, and little brother and sister began boarding the school bus, my enthusiasm started to wane. She liked this, he liked that and the other wanted her snacks just so.
Every morning, three yawning children, three yawning lunch boxes, and one yawning mom.
I was bored, bored, bored. And I wasn't alone; those little pots were coming home with food in them more often than not.
And then a happenstance glimpse of another child's lunch box changed everything.
"What is that?" I asked my son's classmate.
"An oatmeal flax muffin," she responded.
"And who made it?" I prodded.
"My mom did. She makes everything in my lunch."
And it wasn't just the muffin (though it was outfitted in a delightful pink cupcake liner). Everything in that child's bento-style lunch box was simply adorable. I was smitten. I wanted to take her lunch and have it for my own. I wanted to make a lunch just like it.
I found the answer to my lunchbox despair:
MAKE LUNCH LOOK GOOD AND THEY WILL EAT IT!!!
Well in theory, it sounded good, anyway.
And when I put it into practise, it was (gasp) fun!
I've now made a permanent switch to a lunch box system that holds me accountable, and I haven't looked back since. When my kids flip that lid open, my handiwork is on display for all the world to see. I'm obliged to throw in bright colours and interesting shapes, and though I haven't yet mastered the art of rice krispie balls....my kids are biting.
The lunch boxes are coming home empty!
I have a long way to go (though please note the homemade oatmeal flax muffin),
But I've always loved a challenge.
I get swept up in the thrill of finding ideas to fill those brightly-coloured containers, and let me tell you there is inspiration to be found.
So stop sneering at those lunch boxes. Instead join me in giving them a knowing wink.
Trust me, your kids will thank you.