For the last three weeks, my Facebook feed has been filled with the most adorable lunch ideas.
There’s been butterfly PBJs, tic-tac-toe veggies, fruit kabobs, and crustless turkey sandwiches with kid’s names stamped in them.
And all of the videos assure me that these lunches are a breeze to make and only take fifteen minutes. Which is probably not a huge time commitment for one kid on a night that you don’t have soccer practice, church, or homework.
But since I have four kids and we have something almost every night, taking an hour to make an adorable lunch is not how I want to spend my time.
And quite frankly my kids don’t care.
Sure my four-year-old would love a mermaid shaped sandwich with Cheeto hair and Goldfish friends, but more than that, she’d love for me to read her a Fancy Nancy book and listen to her day.
And studies have shown that kids find comfort in the familiar.
So packing your child the same PBJ, sliced apple, and Sunchips every day for lunch is probably a comfort to them more than an inconvenience.
But if the idea of a lack of variety is truly troubling, make a schedule.
My kids had to choose one day a week that they would buy lunch at school.
That meant I only had to pack four lunches per kid per week.
Then you can be a bit creative.
Have a PBJ day, a meat sandwich day, a pepperoni and cheese day, and a tortilla roll-up day.
And on nights that we were home together, they were responsible for helping me make sandwiches or put chips in baggies.
And on mornings that I didn’t pack their lunch the night before, they were responsible for helping me to grab Uncrustables out of the freezer.
I said, “grab Uncrustables out of the freezer.”
I love, love, love the idea of eating whole, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, small batch, naturally sourced food as much as the next semi-crunchy mom.
But there are days that I just can’t even get it together enough to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
And I thank Jesus every time I pull an Uncrustable sandwich out of my freezer. Because on those days, those little, frozen disks are life savers. My life legitimately feels saved because I know that my kids will have a lunch that day that they will actually eat.
Because an adorable lunch isn’t your priority.
Nourishing your kids is your priority.
Let the rest go.
Make sure that their lunch has good, healthy food that they like and let it be enough.
Because my kid has never thought to ask for a mermaid shaped sandwich.
The “pressure” that we feel to make turkey skewers and DIY fruit pizzas isn’t from our children.
It’s from us.
We see that someone out there did that once and took a photo/video of it, and somehow we translate that adorable lunch to mean that they must love their kids more because they spend more time on their kid’s lunch presentation.
Because that’s all it is.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul tells them of all the good works they’ve accomplished in their missionary endeavors.
He then writes, “We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in outward appearance rather than in the heart.”
Being concerned about outward appearance isn’t a new thing that’s come about in the social media age. It’s been around forever.
It’s much easier to spend your time making caterpillar shaped lunches than to spend your time shaping your children’s hearts.
Because at the end of an hour of making cute lunches, you have some really cute lunches. They’re tangible and done and photo worthy.
At the end of an hour of doing a devotional, reading a Bible story, or doing a family service project, you have your regular looking kids. You can’t snap a photo of their improved hearts or the impression that service made. And honestly, my kids often act like hellions when we are trying to serve others. I often think it isn’t worth it.
But I know it is.
So we continue to find a way to serve someone else every week.
God gave us a certain amount of time in each day.
He made our bodies able to move at a certain speed.
It was all done intentionally and perfectly.
So if you want to spend your time making Instagram worthy lunches for your kids, it’s obviously your choice. You’re an adult. But understand that it comes at a cost.
You give up sleep or time with your husband or time with your kids or time for yourself.
You cannot do it all.
So as you move forward into this school year, I encourage you to be deliberate.
Choose what is important to you and stick with it. If crustless flower shaped PBJs and butterfly cucumbers are it, do it.
Make those beautiful lunches and make enemies of all the other moms. Kidding! (Sort of.)
We don’t have time for all that nonsense.
I’m too busy making sure my kids can read, do math, get clean, eat dinner, learn some life skills, and love Jesus to use cookie cutters on my veggies.
So buy some Bento boxes and icepacks to keep those Uncrustables cold, and let it be enough.
Because it is and so are you.
What do you think about making a school lunch for your kids? Tell us in the comments!