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Pottery Barn Lunches

All this talk about lunches reminded me of this post from last summer about the Pottery Barn lunch catalogue…..Enjoy;)

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…..


150 responses »

  1. This post had me in tears (of joy). Six years ago, I thought I would be creative and made a sandwhich in the shape of a train for my then 18 month old son. That was the first day he never ate his sandwhich. After I picked him up from daycare we went to the grocery store and he asked for his sandwhich. Of course, he must have been hungry….NOPE…he thought this was a toy and sat it in the grocery cart next to him and continued to play with it throughout the store. Yes, I did receive several odd looks as my child played with a sandwhich in the grocery store.
    I remember packing my lunches as early as second grade. My mother had 6 kids and I was number 4. My son is now in second grade and this post reminds me that maybe it is time he starts making his lunch:-)

  2. I thought this post was hillarious! Doesn’t everyone give their Mom a hard time about SOMETHING from their childhood? I do. Maybe I thought it was funny because I have a sick sense of humor or because I sent my daughters to school with star shaped sandwiches and flower shaped cucumbers today! I DO NOT do the full bento meal because I don’t have time and if I cut letters out of cheese and paste them onto the outside of the bread with mayo my kids won’t eat it and will think I have lost my mind. I am trying to get my kids to eat healthier and have been using the goodbyn small meal box. I like it because I can put the sandwich in 1 side with something else and fruit and another item in the other side. It’s all in 1 bowl and my 5 year old can open it easily. With several containers she seems to eat less food. Am I overcompensating my defense? haha.

    Why anyone is getting offended is beyond me! Thanks for the laugh and I’m now going to follow your blog! I’m glad someone posted this on Facebook.

    Oh! My kids can make their own breakfast too :) That really hit a nerve with some people! lol

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  4. I loved this so much that I shared it on my own blog–it reminds me exactly how much a not overachiever I am! And that was my goal to begin with.

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  6. And, the mommy wars rage on …. Sad!

  7. Soooo funny! And true. Nothing like making your kids feel completely entitled from the earliest age possible!

  8. I have to admit that I seriously LOVE Planetbox lunchboxes because they are indestructible and the lid is attached so they don’t come back home minus the lids which used to drive me insane!
    They do make packing lunch really easy – in fact, so easy that the kids do it themselves. I just make suggestions for them based on what I know is in the fridge.
    But seriously? Lunchbox love notes and daisy shaped sandwiches?????

  9. I’m not a mom, but am screaming laughing at your witty take on lunches. (Although, I am still mulling over the situation with your mom, sheesh!)

  10. From REAL mothers everywhere!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Brilliant writing/analysis. I’m a daddy/dude, and had almost the same experience–plus side, I “won” my wife through cooking. Right there with you….

  12. This was awesome….I was feeling terrible about my self as I was not going to win mother of the year again (5+years running) and saw this and thought if that is what I have to do to win then the kids can go to someone else’s house for Daisy sandwiches. I have way too much laundry to do anyway. I do wonder if every Pottery Barn Employee who has children is required to make them lunches like that?

  13. Do the lunch boxes come with a can of sterno or do you have to purchase it separately?

  14. Your poor mother! You sound like an ungrateful brat to me, but then again, I have taught my children (6 & under) to be independent and get their own breakfasts and make their lunches.

  15. Your “tic tac” nickname comment made me laugh. Each mom can decide what works best for their own family. Who cares what other moms are doing for their kids? I make “cute” lunches for my son based on the books we read together. He enjoys them and that is why we make them. When he no longer enjoys them, we will stop making them.

  16. OMG!! This has got to be the very best rant I have read in a long time!!! I have to totally call myself out on this one. But I am a very big fan of PB and PBK. BUT, I am also a BIGGER fan of calling out all of the bullshit in the pictures!!! lol Blair, Penn… CLASSIC!!! Seriously why would they not named them that!! My best friend and I grew up very similar to you. She was the one who posted this story on FB. I also have that eye rolling conversation with my Mother all the time. She gets so pissed when my brother and I start retelling “The Good OIe’ Days” stories. Then end with a “how did we survive again…”
    A few of my favorites from your post, I love that the kids have toothpicks holding a pinwheel sandwich together and hold notes into a tomato. Cause really, how many kids get toothpicks in there lunchboxes, and also how many kids are even allowed to have toothpicks inside there lunchboxes… With the tic-tac-toe sandwich, if I did that, my kid would have so many grubby fingers in her food cause what kid at this age can keep there hands to themselves when they see something like that!!!! I love the notes that you wrote about your shirt is from Nostrums, and the one about the Bully. Thanks for a great laugh!! I can’t wait to share this one!!! Keep up the good work LOVE IT!!!!

  17. With little kids underfoot, I can no longer keep my scrapbooking stuff out, so that creative outlet is gone. I can’t draw or paint like I used to. I don’t have the patience or skill for card making or cake decorating.
    So I make my daughters’ lunches fun sometimes. I don’t do it to one-up other moms. I do it to reduce the amount of waste we’re throwing out, save $$ not wasting it on bags to get tossed, to encourage my child to make healthier choices because she has a positive association towards healthy food when it’s fun, and – primarily – as a creative outlet for me.

    I can’t control other moms feeling inadequate or feel that I’m trying to out-do them. I can only control my intent. And as long as you’re making the best choice you can for yourself and your family, whether it’s school lunch so you can spend a few more minutes with your kids each day, or painting pictures on cheese, you’re doing a great job!

    It’s too bad that people have to make fun or disparage the work of other moms. It would be nice if we could all support each other as the hardworking loving people that we all are, doing the best that each of us can, for our families.

  18. From a mom who does not pack a bento box lunch and does volunteer in the lunchroom at my daughters elementary school, this was so freakin funny! I never see kids with lunches that look so “pretty” and I see 350 kids come thru the lunchroom everyday! There are those with the bento lunch box but to my suprise (insert sarcasam here) their lunch looks nothing like that in the PBK catalog! Worst lunch I’ve ever seen packed was a bag of Cheetos, a bag of Goldfish crackers and a bag of Fritos. Clearly this child packed his own lunch…I hope!

  19. Will you publish your notes? They seem more appropriate;)

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  21. My 4 year old and six year old know how to make their own cereal and basic sandwiches. I think it is a great skill for them to have. I do put their lunch boxes together though, as I think they’d load it up with cookies and no fruit.

  22. I can’t believe you heat up the Progresso soup…you know it will be room temperature again by lunch time. I vote you save a little time and not heat it in the first place.

  23. Wow. In the 50s, we got half a sandwich (cheese or PBJ) – the other half was what you just had for breakfast. Sometimes a cupcake (faithfully baked by me, the oldest, every Saturday as one of my regular chores, enough for a week for 4 kids). Probably Kool-Aid in the thermos. And starting on November 1, one piece of Halloween candy for as long as it lasted. (Each kid was allowed to keep 10 favorite pieces. Everything else was sorted into boxes and used for months and months as part of the lunches.). Never minded any of that! Do miss my pink lunchbox with Fifi, the French Poodle.

  24. I must be a really horrible mother. My kids get themselves up, dressed, and out the door on time all while I sleep away. Although, I do have a sleep disorder. They come in my room and say goodbye in the morning then walk to school with the rest of the neighborhood kids. If my daughter wants home lunch she makes it herself, if my son wants home lunch I try to remember to slap some turkey on some bread and leave it in the fridge. My son is in Kindergarten and I’m sure he’ll be making his own lunch by the end of this year or beginning of next. Yes, I feel bad that I can’t wake up but they are learning how to be independent and take care of themselves. In today’s culture of many parents doing everything for their children I am happy to know mine will be able to take care of themselves. My daughter actually decided to start getting up and ready on her own because she was tired of being late when I took her.

    • Good for you. That is exactly what kids need. You’re there to keep them safe and fed, give them a moral compass and be a role model. You are not their servant or maid. If they can walk, they can do their own work. :)

  25. My son makes his own breakfast and lunch (he has since he was in second grade). I asked him if he would like me to get up in the morning and make him a lunch like the Pottery Barn picture (with notes included)… he asked me to PLEASE stay in bed.

  26. My 11 months older brother (yes that’s right) poured us bottles for nap time. I think he was 4 and me 3. Who knows where mom was. And why we were still on bottles, but mom tells us to shut up whenever we bring it up. I would be torn apart by her now if my children had bottles past 2!

  27. I buy lunches. There is nothing I hate more than making lunch. I will get a second job to afford that Organic-locally made- catered crap my children are delivered every day. What happened to spaghetti and canned green beans? Good times.

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  29. I still make lunches for my 2 kids. I am up anyway so I figure, why not. They both are fully capable to of making a sandwich and do so on the weekends. This blog had me cracking up

  30. I’d love to be this kind of mother and make my kids lunches like that. The loafers probably stay clean as he most likely goes to a good school and doesn’t get dirty. The lunches are awesome. You are just bitter because you grew up poor. I get it. I did too. But for my future kids this would be great because they deserve what I didn’t get

    • So good schools don’t have dirt on the playground and I’m poor and your plan for your unborn children is to make their sandwiches into tic tac toe boards? Let me know how that works out…..

  31. Lazy ass moms I feel bad for ALL your kids

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  33. Having trouble sleeping so did what any sane person would do… Pinterest right?
    Then I feel down this rabbit hole because thanks to this post I am now aware that school lunches are yet another reason I evidently fail as a mom :-)
    Who knew packing you kids school lunch was now a competitive sport?

  34. You are hilarious and I confess to owning the planet box and using it daily, as well as the Darth Vader and Spiderman lunch boxes. But shit, i would never make a f’ing flower, hard enough to assemble the lunch in the morning. WTF are these kids going to do when they go to a normal restaurant or have dinner at home!!?? Sadly I do not recall my Mom ever packing me a lunch or even owning a lunch box so I am making up for it. Also they are in school/daycare for 10 hours so this is my working mom guilt showing off. But hell I love to cook so making the lunches is no biggie. I think this is hilarious and you should follow up with the Kumon kid post..I mean you DO have your kids learning Mandarin right??!! And if they are not solving differential equations by 3rd grade you might as well start saving for Stripper School and twerking lessons.

  35. This made my day!

  36. My mom made my lunches, but–like yours–she wanted me to make my own breakfast so that she could sleep in. Her solution to the milk jug weight issue, though, was to leave a small pitcher of milk in the refrigerator.

    Some day I’ll do the same with Baguette, but first we’ve got to get to a point where she wakes up before me. Hahahaha!

  37. Just saw this. So funny! My mom made our lunches for a while, but as soon as possible, she left cereal in a bowl, a cup of milk in the fridge, and said “Don’t wake me up. I’ll see you when I see you.” [paraphrasing the last part]. Kudos to you though, because I did sometimes miss the bus, which led to my trudging home, ringing the doorbell, being greeted by my angry-looking mom in her robe, and being given the stink-eye the whole drive to school. (But I also turned out fine, had a happy childhood, and have a great relationship w/my mom). This also reminded me of the time my younger, special-needs brother spilled half a gallon of milk on the floor trying to take care of his own breakfast. Thanks for the laughs and the trip down memory lane! (And those Pottery Barn notes are ridiculous!).

  38. My kids have to do their own laundry, dishes, help cook, pay for their own cell phones if they choose to have one, pay for their own driver’s straining ($400) if they want to drive and pay for their own car and college should they so decide to want to drive or attend college. On the flip side I absolutely LOVED doing these lunch things for my kids when they’re little. Why does that make you a mom to be made fun of or sworn about? All of my kiddos love language is Words of Affirmation. In turn, they are the kids that always have a kind word for the under dog. My son is 6’3″ and on the football team. His coach once said ‘the kid could be at the front of the pack during running drills but instead he decides to stay back with the overweight kid who’s struggling to make it at the back of the pack. Ive never seen such an encourager.’ Or my daughter who is now in college for film to help expose human sex trafficking and other human suffering areas that need more attention. Those notes and words of encouragement planted seeds of kindness and compassion. It is the one thing in my life that I can say I am proud of the outcome <3 I, for one, would never make fun of you for NOT doing it. After all, it's your child, raise them how you see fit with the long term outcome that you wish for.

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  41. Thank you for posting what all of us moms are secretly thinking ;)

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