Tough Lunch
October 15, 2012
Tough Lunch
Julie Samrick
Kid Focused

The price my kids pay for me to pack their school lunches is to simply put their lunch boxes in some visible place where I can find them. I've suggested the counter after school, or the pantry would be just fine too - I'm not picky. I just don't have time to dig through backpacks or scavenge through the car to look for little containers as I'm juggling breakfast and making lunch for three other people (and that's only half the family).  I think this is more than a fair price to ask, right?

For some reason, my 6 and 8-year-olds remember this routine, but my 10-year-old does not.  However, instead of nagging, "Where's your lunch box?...If you'd just put it...Blah, blah, blah!," I now simply place the contents of said son's lunch on the counter for him to pack when I don't see the lunch box. Sometimes I slip up and nag because if I don't pack his lunch, his water bottle (which is in his lunch box) won't be filled up, which makes me crazy.

I'd been better about biting my tongue until yesterday when I blurted out, "I don't see your lunch box."

"It's right in the pantry," he said, looking in the dark closet to retrieve the small black container.  "Awww... he's catching on," I thought, pleased and proud...for just one fleeting moment.

"Gosh Mom, look a little harder," he said, practically tossing it to me.

To simplify the rest of our interaction, let's just say for this week he gets to pack his own lunch and make it too.

It's hard to practice tough love with our kids, but it's extremely important we do.  Case in point: As his younger brother grumbled about not having the breakfast cereal he wanted this morning, my 10-year-old said to him, "You should show more appreciation for what you have around here.  You have a really good life!"

Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of 4 young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues.  Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox and connect with us on Facebook too.  Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 7:05 AM