Mom Guilt: School Lunch Edition


As a full-time wife, homemaker, and mother of three, and a part-time photographer and blogger, I have a lot on my plate. I try really really hard to do it all. But sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I just have to let go of something on my to-do list.

This school year, that something was packing my kindergartner’s lunch. I had HUGE plans of packing the most thought out lunches every day for my boy. You should see my “School Lunch Ideas” Pinterest board. It’s loaded with cute inspiration. I bought all the fun food shape cutters and divided lunch boxes. And I even got some sparkly new markers for sweet little notes.

The year started out well. I rotated between animal shaped sandwiches and flower shaped cheese, meat, and crackers. I included a vegetable and fruit each day. And every day had a little treat, too.

mom guilt school lunchMy son started the year out well, too. He’d bring his lunchbox home 80% eaten (which is a huge win in our book)! But after the first month, his eating started to dwindle.

One of my biggest pet peeves is spending time (and money) making healthy meals for my kids and then seeing it uneaten and in the garbage. It irks me. So when he started coming home with everything but the mini Oreos still in his lunch box… I kind of lost it.

He’s got some good excuses for the uneaten meal: not enough time, tired of the same foods, distracted by friends, and too busy keeping the class bully from stealing his cookies.

So I cut myself a break. I added money to his school lunch account and started letting him buy a hot lunch once a week. And then… twice a week. And now we’re up to three or four times a week. And, oh hello, here comes the mom guilt!

Why am I feeling guilty for skipping the homemade lunches? I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve been looking forward to making school lunches since I was like ten-years-old. Or maybe because I feel like I’m taking the lazy way out. Or maybe because I’m a control-freak and I don’t like passing my parenting responsibilities onto others.

No matter the reason, I need to let it go. Sometimes, as mothers, we need to give ourselves grace. And even if we feel we are failing in one area, or if we feel the mom guilt setting in, we need to remember that sometimes we just set the standard way too high for ourselves (at least, I know I do!)

By taking a shortcut with school lunches now, I’m able to put more energy into other meals that we eat at home. And I’m getting at least fifteen extra minutes of sleep in the morning (hallelujah!) by not stressing about putting together the perfect lunch. I know that the school district strives to make sure they’re offering a healthy variety of foods at lunch. Plus, my son is getting less bored with lunch and (hopefully) eating more.

For these reasons, I’m saying “good-bye!” to school-lunch-mom-guilt and “hello!” to the positives this choice is bringing for me.


  1. Oh I so get it! 100% school hot lunch here. My sleep is just way too valuable (and my sanity!). God bless the moms who make cute lunches. That is just not my talent.


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