If you’ve been reading my blog for even a hot second, you know that I never, ever share any practical parenting advice. I talk about parenting, yes. What it feels like and what I hope for and what I dream about. You know, those highly impractical things. I don’t offer parenting hack-type things, because I don’t have ‘em, people.
I am always the mom who feels one step behind, asking other moms, “Now, where did you get that?” “How does that work?” What the heck are you supposed to do with a kid for the whole, dang summer?”
I have no idea where you buy those hand-sewn bib-looking fancy dresses. I can’t even remember what they’re called. Smocked, that’s it. I just Googled “smocked dresses” to confirm that it is indeed the name. I don’t know which brand of kid shoes are the best and which last the longest. My kids wear Target or Payless shoes because they’ve usually lost one of the pair within a week, and I refuse to spend more on my kids’ shoes than on my own. I cannot give you any great recipes to cook for dinner or holiday craft ideas or advice on organizing your life. If you need proof, take a look at my hall closet. This is not a joke.
I didn’t even provide my child with one of those nifty “First day of Preschool 2014” photo props that apparently ever other mother I know hand-crafted for their big day. We took silly selfies at Starbucks instead.
So now that you know all of that, you will understand why I am so, so excited to share with you my one moment of practical parenting genius. You must also know that as far as parenting duties go, I have one nemesis. I hate making lunches. Hate it. In my mind, the worst part of my daughter starting VPK five days a week is that I have to make a lunch Every. Single. Day. I would pay someone to do this for me if I could. For real.
Making lunches requires cleaning from the day before, creativity to make sure the kid doesn’t eat the same thing every day, mom guilt about what I am or am not giving her to eat, and staying up past the time my kids go to bed to do extra work because I cannot do one more thing in the mornings. But the worst part? Finding matching Tupperware in my terribly disorganized cabinets.
Now, let me tell you about the Tupperware problem. It is the greatest mystery of all time. How can you have a cabinet full of these very useful plastic thingies, yet for the love of all that is holy, you cannot find two thingies that go together to make the thing work? At one point in time, Michael even pulled out and matched up every single piece of Tupperware and numbered them. Each lid was numbered to its matching piece. Genius, right? Didn’t work. I dig through the cabinet like a dog hunting a bone, and I can’t find a dang thing to match. Not to mention, one that is the correct size for the portion I’m giving and fits correctly in the lunchbox.
For three years now, this has been my Achilles heel. I have despised the making of the lunches. And then came this: the Bento box. It changed my life.
This nifty little box allows you to forgo the endless rummaging in the cabinets for the appropriate-sized Tupperware. It doesn’t matter if I’ve run out of Ziplock baggies- I don’t need them. I just put a little sandwich in (oh, and I got a handy sandwich crust remover, too), put a handful of different little things in those cubbies, and I’m done.
No yucky trash to clean out when the lunchbox comes home. No bags full of wasted leftovers because pre-packaged foods are too much food for a little kid. You put in exactly what they’ll eat and that’s it. A sandwich, a fruit, a veggie, a snack. Done.
My life has been dramatically altered by a little plastic box.
And here’s the other thing that has made making lunches so much easier for me. This is my friend Kristin’s blog all about making fun food for kids. Just by passively observing what she’s been making her kids, it has given me a lot more ideas about what I can make for mine. And when you have lots of ideas floating around in your head, it doesn’t seem like such a chore. It seems maybe a little bit fun, and I can’t even believe that I just admitted that.
A Bento box and a blog. It’s all you need to make lunch-making a little less terrible.