It’s been a long week already. Jeremy has been out of town for work since Sunday morning. Only 2 more days to go. Trust me, the kids and I are counting down! They have done well, for the most part, although I can tell Jeremy’s absence is definitely affecting Cooper. I have caught him staring longingly at Jeremy’s scooter saying, “I want Daddy. Where’s Daddy?” Mason definitely misses him, but she’s gone into auto-drive – like me.
Due to his absence, our routine has gone a bit haywire. I’m not making serious meals for dinner that enforce veggies and meat. We’ve had English muffin pizzas, chicken and veggie stir fry (ok, that one was healthy), Potbelly sandwiches and ice cream (Yay! 31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins!)… Tonight I’ll probably cook hot dogs and tater tots. Tomorrow is pizza night. I feel guilty that I didn’t do more, but it’s tiring being a single parent and trying to stick to the routine and the meal plan.
Added to my guilt is that I kept Mason home from school on Tuesday because of her ear infection and a sore throat. But work was super busy, so I had to plop her in front of my laptop with an array of movies while I worked. And then I took her to Wendy’s for lunch! Chicken nuggets and french fries. Great mothering, right?
But the kicker in my mothering abilities came this morning… I’m still not into my routine of packing lunches the night before despite our new efforts thanks to EasyLunchBoxes.com. As I passed through the kitchen on my way to work out this morning, I started thinking about what to send for lunch today. Easy – Lunchables. I knew there were several in the fridge, and while I consider it a treat for the kids, I felt they deserved it today. And heck, I deserved the break of having to think about it yet again. I was fine with my decision.
But then I watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution while I was on the treadmill. If you’re not familiar with the show, please watch it! I have learned so much from it (as will be evidenced soon in this post), and I think what Jamie is trying to do is so important for America to witness and become a part of.
In the last episode, Jamie returns to Huntington, WV to see what has happened since he left. He was disappointed to see that instead of parents encouraging their kids to eat the new, fresh food served at school, they were sending them to school with brown bag lunches filled with their idea of a healthy meal. And do you know what the majority of students had? Lunchables. Jamie had a fit. He couldn’t even talk about them because he knew it would just bring out profanity, which would then have to be bleeped from the broadcast. He referenced the ingredients on the back of one of the boxes, and the list was astoundingly long for what should be simple foods. Because the food is so processed, it’s not doing our kids any good.
I admit, in the back of my mind, I knew they weren’t good for my kids. I knew there was a lot of processed stuff in there, and I’m sure the sodium amount is ridiculous. But it’s just so easy. It gives me a break from making homemade lunches once a week, and because of that extra 10 minutes I get by not making a lunch, I am feeding my kids crap. That’s not fair to them.
Ok, let’s back up a bit. I just said it’s not fair to them. If Mason and Cooper were old enough to understand, they would say, “But it’s so good, Mom! We love Lunchables! It’s fair because we get to eat what we like one day a week.” Yes, my kids love Lunchables. Mason only eats the pizza ones. I serve Cooper the turkey and cheddar ones. I assume he likes them. And I will say that I only buy the basic ones that do not include a treat. And if they do have a treat, I have instructed Mason to throw it away. (It’s Airheads for the pizza one – disgusting!)
But all that is just Jamie’s point. If we serve the processed crap to them, even for just one day a week, we’re undermining all the effort we put into serving them healthy food all the other days. It’s an effort I need to keep up every single day, even when it is difficult.
Sadly, I have the Lunchables in the fridge. Sadly, I cannot afford to just throw them away, nor would I because there are starving people in the world that would appreciate even a processed meal. And saddest of all is that I still sent the Lunchables to school this morning. And I served my kids Pop Tarts for breakfast. So yes, just call me Super Mom. Maybe some day I’ll live up to the title. Today was not the day. This week was not the week. But I promise I will make every effort I can moving forward (once I run out of Lunchables!)