I hate making lunches. I love some routines – like morning coffee and Saturday night Pinot Grigio – but as I’m spreading peanut butter over Loch’s homemade flax bread, I wonder how many sandwiches I’ve already made and how many more I’ll make before my kids go to elementary school.
One day last week, while waiting for the microwave in the staff lounge at work to finish distorting the molecular structure of my hockey puck of a stir-fry, I complained to a co-worker about the degree to which I detest making lunches. My own frozen Lean Cuisine being evidence of how I view making a third lunch (my lunch) to be unthinkable. This same work colleague suggested that I start teaching my kids to make their own lunches.
I’ve now been working full time with two kids under five for just over six months. I distinctly remember some of the key moments of the early days back in October. I remember having energy to get up at 5 am to work on my novel and that by Christmas I had to press the snooze button eight times. I remember never sitting down. I remember arriving home with the kids and no husband, having to pee and not actually making it to the bathroom for an hour.
Over time, we have found balance. But, departures and arrivals continue to be a cacophony of activity and insanity. Every day when we leave the house and when we come home, there is a 10-20 minute transition time that involves numerous bags being trucked to and from the car, a hide-and-seek game with shoes, the search for appropriate jackets and matching gloves.
Sometimes Corbin is so excited to go to daycare and play with his friend Sophie that he grumbles that we are not leaving soon enough. Other times, it is a fight to get him out the door. But eventually we all tumble out the front entrance of our house, kids with trains or books clutched in hands, and Loch and I with our mugs of steaming coffee. Once everyone is buckled in and we begin driving to our various drop-off points, I hear myself sighing and beginning to relax into the day.
I’m still exhausted as is my work-late-into-the-night husband. For a while, it felt like our life was a hamster wheel of comings, goings, laundry, lunches, dinners, breakfasts, work and grocery shopping. As we move forward it feels more like a routine and it is easier to toss in the fun bits that make the seasons more memorable. But even now I feel like the challenge of getting through the day and getting my kids to pick up their toys, get into the bath and jammies, is enough.
My work colleague tells me that teaching them to make their own lunches is easy. You just lay out the choices and they pick and choose what to put in their respective boxes. Lately, Corbin has been getting himself dressed and for now this and his assistance after dinner and general cooperation are enough. The very thought of setting up the choices for his lunch and having him learn how to put it together is simply tiring.
And so, I continue to make the lunches, putting snacks and sandwiches in organized containers. I can do it in less time, with less mess and if I get up before the rest of the family it is an opportunity for a short period of solitude in the kitchen before the gong show begins.
“Abominable Snowman Wants My Lunch” Rhea C. @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. All Rights Reserved.