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Back to School Anxiety

I might be the only mother in America to say this – but I do not want school to start.
As much as I complain about the kids, they aren’t that bad really.

I mean isn’t China already way ahead of us….is it really necessary to go back to school in August??

I am fairly certain that Americans aren’t going to suddenly plunge ahead in the industrialized world simply because we go back to school before Labor Day.

All that happens is that I get a little paler earlier in the season than necessary.

I actually dread the kids going back to school.

It’s so much more than them actually not being home all day.
I don’t want to wake up early and run around like a maniac signing permission slips, searching for library books and packing snacks.

I don’t want to make sure that the children are wearing matching outfits.
I don’t want to make sure that their teeth are brushed and that their hair is combed so that they don’t look like meth addicts.
I don’t want to spend my first moments every morning surrounded by adult and child assholes at the bus stop.
I don’t want to get an email from the PTO five times a day asking me for money in a variety of different ways.
I don’t want to plan playdates.
I don’t want to help the kids with their homework. By the way… why is this my problem? I am sure the Chinese mothers aren’t doing homework.

But the number one reason why I am dreading going back to school is that I do not want to pack lunches everyday.
It seems like just yesterday it was the afternoon of the last day of school. I took both kids lunch boxes and announced, “If I pack one more fucking lunch I am going to slit my throat,” and kicked them down the stairs into the basement.
Well here we are…in two weeks I will be in the basement dusting them off and bringing them back upstairs.

I know you might be thinking….what’s the big deal?
Well let me break it down for you.

First of all, gone are the days when you could just throw some bologna in between some Wonder bread, slap an apple on top of it so it’s flat and mushy by lunchtime and send the kid on his way.

I distinctly remember two things about lunch when I was in elementary school.

I remember there were 2 girls who brought liverwurst sandwiches. I did not want to sit next to them because it smelled and made me want to throw up and also I felt bad for them, because I figured their life must be pretty bad if their mother sent them to school with that shit.

I also remember when a boy named Andrew choked on a hot dog and the gym teacher had to give him the Heimlich maneuver to save his life and the hot dog came up with an ocean of vomit and chocolate milk.

I never ate a hot dog again after that for a good 20 years.

Nowadays there is quite a bit to consider.

There are a lot of issues to deal with when considering lunchtime.
There’s the whole childhood obesity issue, there’s the cavity issue, there’s the cancer problem, the high fructose corn syrup problem, and the food allergy problem.

Let’s start with food allergy problem.

My kids do not have food allergies but have been basically told everywhere from the gym to the playground since they were born that peanuts are not allowed. As a result, my children, who eat peanut butter and fluff like it’s their job during the summer – will not take peanut butter items to school.

Other kids (who also do not have a peanut allergy and are sitting at a table free of food allergies) make fun of them and won’t sit with them if they have peanut butter in their lunch!!!!

Personally I think it's a bit much but in their cafeteria this sign is actually hanging up and it says in big bold letters across it, "Fuck this guy."

Personally I think it’s a bit much but in their cafeteria this sign is actually hanging up and it says in big bold letters across it, “Fuck this guy.”

Can you believe this? So out goes what was once a major staple of American lunch for about 5000 years.

Ok so then there’s the whole matter of obesity and cavities.
Remember how children used to be allowed to eat fruit roll ups, raisins, Capri Suns and fruit snacks?
That’s not allowed.  Now that elementary school children in America are the size of sumo wrestlers, only the most horrible parents that can’t read would send such items into school.

If you go to the dentist with your children you will find that these foods will basically cause the children’s teeth to rot out of their heads.

Of course it does become confusing when the dreaded peanut is on the good side.....

Of course it does become confusing when the dreaded peanut is on the good side…..

So you think “Ok, well they can have some sort of sandwich and water.”

Well there’s the matter of the nitrates in the cold cuts. Remember when a cold cut sandwich was a healthy option? Remember when we all ate bologna sandwiches our whole life?

Yeah – that’s what would now be referred to as a “nitrate surprise.”
If it was up to Sam he would have a pepperoni sandwich every single day. I have now spent the whole summer switching up different cold cuts and mixing them in with one piece of pepperoni to cut down on the red dye and carcinogens. He will eat these sandwiches if I call them “Italian combos.”

I try to get him to take other things. Sometimes he will eat cold pizza and one time Mr. Gaga sent him with a sausage and pepper sandwich.

One time when Sam was in kindergarten I sent in a grilled cheese wrapped up in foil so it would still be warm by the time he ate it.
When he got home he said that one of his friends (whose mother basically lives at the school volunteering and involving herself in everyone’s lives) looked at his sandwich and said “What kind of mother would send in a grilled cheese sandwich?”
Can you believe this bullshit?

I said “Oh! Why don’t you tell him a mother that has very limited to time to spend making lunch because she has better things to do with her life…unlike your mother, you douchebag.”
But apparently he was only 5 and had a hard time remembering all the words in that speech even though we went over it several times. He never took a grilled cheese sandwich again.
Then there’s Michael who will not eat one cold cut ever.
He flat out refuses.
He will only eat a bagel with cream cheese or Italian wedding soup.
I loyally switch back and forth between the two lunch items ALL YEAR LONG.

Sometimes I think about the two girls who ate liverwurst and worry for him.
“Does anyone every wonder why you are eating Italian wedding soup everyday?” I ask.
“Do you think people think you are weird?” I ask.
“I don’t care.” he answers simply.
And he really doesn’t.
Which leads me to the final point about lunches.

Children really don’t have any shame anymore.

If my mother put one toe into my cafeteria when I was young, I first would pretend I didn’t know who she was.  If that didn’t work I would throw up or faint.

Not today’s children…They beg and plead for their mother’s to join them for lunch. Upon joining the children, parents sit at the “parent and child” lunch table and enjoy special lunchtime bonding.

I only agree to this for the children’s birthdays and am shocked to find every time I show up the parents tables are bumpin.

Is this really what our world has come to?

Doesn’t anyone have stuff to do anymore??

Would any mother before the year 2000 actually stop what they were doing to come eat lunch with their kid?



Please God let these last few days of summer be sunny and wonderful and please let the transition back to school be easier than expected….

I am going to sleep now to dream of a world where children eat peanut butter and jelly and don’t want to eat lunch with their mothers……





17 responses »

  1. FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME……I am SICK school starts in 1.5 weeks

  2. I love this! LOL, I feel your pain and get crazy creative. Creamcheese has become our new peanut butter (ugh). Keep on writing!

  3. yeah, I’m an opposing viewpoint here. My 3 girls started back on the 7th and my wife and I are relieved. It makes are days better with a set schedule. again,my kids are older but still, having a built-in government provided babysitter for 8 hours is nice.

  4. Pingback: Pottery Barn Lunches | Lady Goo Goo Gaga

  5. I just wrote this on a non-parent-related MB a couple weeks ago when ranting about lunch container companies: “Remember when your mom used to send you with a paper sack with a PB&J in a baggie and a piece of fruit and a juice box… and if you were really lucky, another baggie with a couple cookies in it? Those days are OVER, my friend. Those days are over.”

  6. Ahhhh I was a girl who had liverwurst sandwiches and I still like it!! I also still love cold cuts, salami and all that stuff we grew up on. It is SO hard to quit all that crap now that they say it is so bad. I couldn’t even quit cold cuts during pregnancy and that’s when they really stick it to you. Food is such a brain F-$*#@-K these days!
    On another note, are you serious about all the crazy parents in the cafeteria? Where do you live?? Is this happening all over? My daughter is only 18 months old but your posts make me nervous for pre-school – graduation!

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  8. Factor in the dreaded (& never spoken in front of her) word “picky” and it’s a crap shoot! I essentially send her to school with a collection of high carb snacks, a banana and a go-gurt, while crossing my fingers she at least eats the banana! Pretty please? She would eat pasta for every meal, every day of the year if I let her!

  9. Thank you for the laugh! I’m sure someone is going to roll their eyes over this but I truly love making my kids lunch. It just makes me happy, even though I’m not sure why. I’m not the daisy sandwich kind of person, just standard stuff, but I love it all the same.

    I completely agree about the PTO and sending the kids off to school looking like hobos. I’ve given up on the latter – as long as their face and shirt are clean, I’m good. ( :

  10. Oh my! I’ve been trying to talk the girls into taking grilled cheese! I guess I’m not with the “in crowd” lol. This is off subject here, but I have daughters and OMG. It’s like being in high school all over again with the mothers competing! It’s sad but funny to watch.

  11. I just found your blog via the Lunch Box Blues guy and want to thank you for filling the rest of my afternoon here at work. We are kindred spirits! I tell my kids all the time that I am not the Cruise Director so they can find their own damn things to do and that I will not cut the crusts off their sandwiches because it will make them soft. Anyway you’re my new favorite blogger. Hope you keep posting!’Cheers,
    P.S. I especially loved your post about Kim Kardashian.


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