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Mothers making lunches…..or not

Like you – I have noticed a pattern here – where I continually talk about sandwiches.   Apparently they play a major role in my life…. what can I say.

When I was very young, my mother decided that I was quite independent and capable.

Upon discovering my love of “doing things myself,” she rearranged her kitchen cabinets and moved all of the cereal to the lowest cabinet.  She taught me how to pour milk and make a sandwich for lunch.  Once the basic survival skills were mastered she informed me and my brother that she would no longer be available in the mornings.

From that point on, we were responsible for getting ourselves up in the morning, getting dressed and ready for school, making breakfast and making ourselves lunch, and getting to the bus stop on time.  To our credit (and hers) we managed to do this pretty much without incident.   We never missed the bus and I don’t remember feeling neglected or abandoned in any way, even though the very first cereal I remember preparing for myself looked like this….

Fast forward to modern times when I have my own children and I have spent countless hours up at the crack of dawn preparing meals and snacks.  Reflecting back on that time – it seems just a bit outrageous.

It’s a topic of conversation that she doesn’t enjoy, yet my brother and I bring it up constantly.  It usually goes like this….

“Mom – remember when you announced that you were never waking up again – and we had to make our own lunch?”

She usually rolls her eyes…..”Oh – like you had such a bad life?  I think you’re fine.”

“Yes – I’m fine – but it was little ridiculous that you weren’t up with us…”

“Oh, poor you…yes – you had it sooo bad. Did you have a good life? Did your father and I send you to college and give you a nice wedding?”

“Mom – that’s not the point – I am just saying – it was crazy to expect us to do everything by ourselves….we were like 2.”

“I was helping you to become more independent…..Like it’s so hard to pour a bowl of cereal?”

“Well it’s not – but when you are 4-years-old the gallon of milk is a little bit heavy.”

Usually it’s by this point in the conversation that she has left the room or hung up on me.

While I do think her morning routine was completely unacceptable, I am secretly envious of her 1970’s “laid back” parenting style.

Imagine just simply not waking up in the morning and sleeping in with no worries about what your children will wear, eat for breakfast or eat for lunch? How luxurious!

While I know that those days of parenting are long gone – never to return, I received full confirmation this week when I opened my Pottery Barn Kids Fall Gear 2012 Catalogue.

To start off I should have known I was in trouble when the catalogue started off with a picture of a preschooler carrying a backpack.

The “Pottery Barn people” must have really brain-stormed to come up with an image of a child that everyone could relate to.

It was only logical that they decided on a photo of a small child carrying 250 pounds of school supplies in a bag that is as big as he is, outside on the grounds of what appears to be……Harvard?

Oh yeah – and of course his name is Penn…What else would it be? And I am sure we could all agree that yellow suede loafers are the obvious choice for 4-year-old boys.

OK – so on to the lunch bag section of the catalogue.  Of course modern-day parenting dictates that all snacks and lunches must be presented to children in fancy canvas totes with their names on it in bold text accompanied by an image of Darth Vader or Spider Man.

Gone are the days of the brown paper lunch bag.

Also, in the classic style of Pottery Barn, who historically since its inception seemed to make its mission as a company to make housewives and mothers feel badly about the state of things in their home……the “Pottery Barn People” have presented their impression of what a child’s lunch should look like.

Apparently their idea of a “lunch” drastically differs from mine.

Is this what my kids are supposed to see when they open their fancy lunch tote with 55 zippers and compartments?

Because that will never happen….

Please note that the sandwich has been fashioned into some sort of exotic daisy and a dipping sauce has been made available as part of Blair’s very balanced meal….If the other kindergarteners had any doubts if Blair’s mother loved her – I think it will be very clear now……

So … I am thinking I’m a great mother because I sometimes heat up Progresso soup in the morning and put it into a Batman thermos for Michael.

Once again – I am wrong.  I am not mother of the year – in fact I might be the worst mother in America – according to Pottery Barn Kids.

As I kept reading – it became clear that I am, as I suspected, a very, very bad mother.  I might as well just stay in bed like my mother…..because I have not once shaped sandwiches into a tic tac toe game smartly utilizing carrot shreds and pieces of grapes.

In the town where I grew up – If I ever opened up a lunch to reveal a tic tac toe game made out of sandwiches, I would get my ass kicked and my new name would be “Tic Tac” until I graduated highschool…..

Just when I was about to throw the catalogue in the garbage something caught my eye.

Wait – could this be true?

I know that good mothers are ones that send in little notes with their children’s lunch.   I have been known to even send a note here or there.

But could it be possible that Pottery Barn Kids is SELLING IN THEIR CATALOGUE, something called “Lunch Box Love Notes.”

So – if you are too lazy or dumb to write out your own note to your child – no worries!! Pottery Barn has done it for you!!!

Thank you Mom for sleeping the day away and never sending me to school with a miniature sandwich with a yellow tomato ball and a queer love note on top of it.

Please notice the green note  in the bottom right-hand corner.

So in case your kids is telling horrible stories at the lunch table – and the other kids are staring blankly at him – or saying something like “That story sucked,” – your note will be there to save the day!!

God forbid the 6 hour school day goes by without these children receiving some undeserving accolades from their mother!!

I actually perused the catalogue for a minute – thinking it would be nice to have the notes ready to go in the drawer in the morning.  Maybe I would buy some, but I searched through the whole thing and couldn’t find any that were my kind of notes…..

Really?? It’s not enough that this lunch consists of yuca chips and cherry tomatoes? If my mother ever put a note in my lunch that said I was a “kind person” I would kill her.

I usually write things like:

“Hope you are having a nice day Michael – by the way the shirt you’re wearing is from Nordstrom – so if you rip your clothes at recess again today you are punished for a week.”


“Hi Love bug – don’t forget – if that bully bothers you again remember how Daddy told you to punch him right in the face!! Have a great day :)”


“If your friend offers to share his fruit snacks today, you are not allowed to eat them. This is why he already had a root canal when he was 4 – you will thank me later :)”

I guess I will be writing my own notes this school year…..


37 responses »

  1. Oh come on Gaga, you never taught yourself how to fashion flowers out of food? Seriously, I think Pottery Barn started the Mommy Wars.

  2. What? You mean to tell me you’re not making bento box style lunches for your kids at the crack of dawn?
    This might just be my fave post yet!

  3. I just called my mother and said …”did you ever put a note in our lunch boxes”….her reply…. “what are you nuts…your lucky you got a sandwich you think I was putting a letter in there too!”

    Every once in a while she would draw a heart on the napkins.

    Why does pottery barn love to make us feel bad?? Loved the post!!!

  4. 1. You are hilarious. I adore your blog, and I don’t even have kids.
    2. I love your mother.
    3. Those lunch boxes are truly frightening, in a Stepford Moms kind of way.
    4. My sister’s kids get themselves up, dressed, make their own lunches, and have since they were pretty young. So, take that Pottery Barn.

  5. My kids make their own breakfasts (I agree with your mom – it’s not *that* hard to pour cereal in a bowl and add milk), pack their own lunches (except I am making the sandwiches again because I got tired of cleaning up jelly from the countertop, cabinet door and floor when they were finished), and walk to school by themselves. I am not still in bed when they leave, but I am showered, dressed and doing laundry when they walk out the door. Someday, their spouses will thank me for teaching them a little independence….or their therapists will thank me for giving them more issues..

  6. You would hate hate hate where I live I am surrounded by the Stepford Lunch Pail Women. No sugar is allowed in lunches at my daughters preschool and I have seen actual live versions of the catalog. It’s funny because I got this very same catalog the other day and chucked it….

  7. This made my day! All 3 of my kids get up and help each other get their bowls of cereals and no tic tac or notes here…love my kids but come on! I think I may start the making their own lunch with my 10yr old this year. Only reason I don’t is because I have to make 3 others and it is easier… but this is great! LOVED IT!!!

  8. Lunchbox notes?! I have never seen this before! And those are sooo twee, in the wrong kind of way. To my mind at least. The lunchboxes are cool in a Japanese Bento style way but I was kind of distracted by working out what all the non-corresponding shaped divets in the top of the box were for. I love the idea of Bento boxes but life gets in the way. And I don’t even have children! (But I am on a lifetime ban from my making my husband’s sandwiches apparently, ah well). 😉

    • We have the notes…not from PB, but Office Depot, I think. I do add personal notes to them, and the kids sometimes put one in my lunch when they are making their own.
      One pack of them has “interesting” facts. My teenager loves them.

  9. Those lunch boxes are over the top! So crazy! The part about the Harvard attending preschooler is so funny!

  10. One, I can totally relate on your mom’s take of “independence”. My fondest memory growing up was being 3-4, making my own coffee and watching Seaseme Street until mom staggered out of bed.

    And holy shit, that’s like Pinterest on crack! I think even Martha Stewart would be ashamed of what she does.

  11. Just started reading this blog and you are so FUNNY! A friend of yours told me that I needed to read your blog and she was right. I can’t stop reading.

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  13. I always threw the PB kids catalog straight in the garbage when I received it. Way to make every mom out there feel like an utter failure in every category lol. Those pictures of neat, tidy rooms with everything in it’s place…talk about things you can never live up to! Who has the time! Gosh, I’ve been known to throw cold pizza in my daughter’s lunch box, and you know what? she is siked! Let alone tic tac toe lol. Damn over-achievers!

  14. Oh, don’t worry…didn’t you notice the front of the lunchbox, which clearly states, “For Pottery Barn Kids” on it? Apparently these fantasy lunchboxes are only for the fabled “Pottery Barn Kids,” which are really manufactured guessed it..a giant Pottery Barn. I imagine they come out looking sort of like Oompa-Loompas…all the same and a little off-color, and then they’re fashioned into a Blair or a Penn or whatever other mutant child can be convinced to wear leather loafers and a sport coat to preschool. You needn’t fret…this only applies to children who are manufactured from silicone. Very lifelike, though, huh? Pottery Barn does a good kid.

    Hehee! I loved this! Have a great week, and thanks for the laughs!
    Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood

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  16. I love you more than I did 5 minutes ago. Just shared the shit out of this.

  17. Man, here I was packing my own lunch for myself when I was in 1st grade like a sucker. Kids these days don’t even know how good they’ve got it.

    I came over from finding the funny.

  18. By the time my youngest sister was about 5, my mother would be up, but she would watch The Tonight Show that she had taped from the night before. We all thought this was normal. We’d all be up and mom would be sitting there, watching Johnny Carson and we’d get dressed in front of the tv and loved it if Jack Hanna came on with baby animals. By this time, my mother had also checked out of the lunch making with my middle sister and me. I guess she thought my youngest sister could make her own lunch and let her one day, without checking. What a surprised when the teacher called and asked my mother if she knew that my sister had brought like a dozen fruit rollups and nothing else for lunch. And that when she asked my sister if my mother knew, she said “Oh, no, she’s too busy watching Johnny Carson to make our lunches”. Good times in the 80s, huh?

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  26. Someone shared this on FB and I am so glad I clicked the link. Hilarious and I’m looking forward to reading some of your other stuff. Cheers!

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  28. So funny and refreshing! This is kid’s first year in pre-k and her lunch doesn’t look anything like a tic tac toe or smily animals, and I do have a friend who decorates the heck outta the sandwiches and it made me feel bad. Thanks for the virtual pat in the back 🙂 Love your writing!

  29. Could you allow me to post this on my twitter?

  30. I grew up in the 70’s with a mom who hated mornings. Her bleary-eyed lunch-making skills were best summed up with the bologna sandwich made for my twin brother in the 3rd grade. It was the paper picture of bologna from the packaging. With mustard. On white bread. We were making our own lunches after that.


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