Sunday, 7 August 2011

Being a good mum - Part 1: The packed lunch

I admit it - I'm quite a judgmental person.  I try not to be, but deep down inside I am.  It must be my mother's fault, I'll think of a reason why.  But in fairness to myself (and my mum) so is everyone else I know. I have never met a person who isn't silently judging everyone they meet. Admit it - you discuss people with your partner, or mother on the phone during your weekly call.   And one of the biggest areas we all judge one another on is how we raise our children. "I swear she doesn't iron her tea towels or muslin clothes", "I've heard she never lets her kids do junk modelling", "I swear last weekend she was so busy on face book and blogging that she didn't brush her children's hair for 24 hours"  and so on.  But the thing is - I'm an equal opportunities judmentalist.  I also judge people in a good light.  "She is an amazing mum - her kids are so polite and well behaved", "She's endlessly patient - she push started her son on his bike 25 times in a 20 minute period" or "how does she manage to find time to work all day and still iron her tea towels and muslin cloths - I aspire to be her, she's such a Good Mum".  And that's the thing you see - I'm always trying to be "A Good Mum".

Now there are a million areas of Good Mum-dom that I find challenging (well at least enough for 10 blogs), but the one I would like to focus on today is the packed lunch.  Man - it seemed like such a simple concept when I was a child.  Peanut butter sandwich, an apple and a penguin bar - moving on. I ditched the penguin bar in these health conscious days - but a sandwich and a different fruit each day - sorted. Right? Wrong.  According to Oldest K there are numerous failings in this lunch.  Firstly no peanut butter sandwiches ever - they are potential manslaughter weapon.  Okay - a jam sandwich then surely?  Apparently not.  "Anna has the best packed lunch in the class.  She has a sandwich, cut into TRIANGLES not SQUARES, with a different meat and salad each day". Salad? Really? But Anna's mum is such a Good Mum, Anna never comes to school without her PE kit and her socks always match. I must aspire to be more like here. Okay - I can do this.  So we now have ham, chicken, tuna and erm, ham and tuna again.  With cucumber and sweet corn. And mayonaise. Cut on the diagonal.  My goodness - I'm exhausted before they've even left for school.  But surely now this is a Good Mum's  packed lunch..  Apparently not "Amy has a snack like healthy crisps or rice cakes" says Middle E. Firstly - healthy crisps?  Like carrot sticks?  No - crisps - she showed them to me at the shops.  And Amy's mum is such a Good Mum - Amy already does piano lessons and knows how to pack the dishwasher. I must try harder.  So now we have a luxury sandwich AND health crisps or rice cakes.  And fruit, still got the fruit in case the 5 a day police come round.  So now I make good packed lunches - right?  Wrong.  "Louise gets a desert every day".  Desert? Desert?  But Louise's mum is such a Good Mum.  Louise speaks Latin and wears organic, handwoven cotton school frocks.  Dammit.  Alright - so what qualifies as a suitable desert for a school lunch box? Everything I tried was sent home by the militant school dinner ladies hell bent on saving the world from unhealthy lunch boxes.  Too much chocolate. Not healthy enough. Made in a factory near a factory that once accidently used a nut. Fail.  Last ditch effort - sent a penguin bar. Success!  And vindication for my own mother!  A good thing too - I was this close to chucking it all in a doing school dinners...  

So there we go - my failing aired for all to see, I make rubbish packed lunches AND I'm aspirational.  But of course that doesn't matter, you won't judge me on that, because you never judge people, do you? Anyway - I must move on - I'm not sure when I last brushed the kids hair and I have some muslin clothes to iron...


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