As moms, we are always juggling so much. Every day, there is a constant to-do list going through my head of what needs to get done. There are constant demands for my time — buying more diapers for daycare, packing lunches, signing permission forms, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner, coordinating playdates, getting a gift for the birthday party, making sure my kids don’t kill each other. Oh, and working my paid job while coordinating two pick-ups and drop-offs. And maintaining a relationship with my husband.
Recently, my older daughter started kindergarten. This came with a whole bunch of new expectations — for her, and also for me. New schedule, new friends, new comparisons. The anxiety started mounting while reading my local moms’ Facebook group. Everyone was talking about school lunches. And school lunch boxes. Should be fairly simple, right? Nope. There were multiple threads about the advantages and disadvantages of different bento boxes. Then I got invited to a Facebook group literally devoted to toddler lunches. Most of this group’s posts show various — you guessed it — bento boxes full of bite-sized, adorable kid cuisine.
Confession: My kid does not have a bento box. And yours doesn’t have to either.
Full disclosure. I ordered one on Amazon. I thought about cleaning out each and every crevice. And I pictured myself slicing and dicing each and every morsel of food, using different cutely shaped cookie cutters, and making sure it all fit in each little compartment. Then I returned it.
My kid gets Tupperware. Her sandwich is regular sized. Her fruit is whole. Just like mine was when I was a kid.
And this is fine.
The fact is, this isn’t about bento box at all. This is about the constant pressures of motherhood, the constant fear that we are not providing the best for our children, and the constant battle of social comparison. To me, the bento box encapsulates the constant striving for perfection. And the fact is, I’m done striving for perfection. I’m striving to be perfectly fine.
My kid got to school on time today, with a sandwich and a smile. And that is perfectly fine.