How to Have Lunch

>> Wednesday, May 5, 2010

*Photo by Charles C. Ebbets circa 1932

Remember when you used to work for money? Remember how you'd LIVE for your lunch break? Regardless of whether it was brown-bagged or a fancy corporate lunch, it was a break a BREAK from work.

Remember that?

Now that you've got kids, what does your lunch look like? The leftover crusts from your three year old's PB&J? A handful of lucky charms and a Diet Coke while you are wrestling your toddler for a nap?

SAD! Stay-at-home parenting is a hard HARD job. There are no government mandated breaks or lunch hours. You go from morning 'til night just trying to catch a breath most days. And lunch? Forget it, it's lost in the shuffle.

Well, I have discovered, out of pure desperation, some tips to making lunch an actual BREAK from the demands of motherhood. Now, I can't guarantee that your preschooler will leave you in peace, but at the least, you'll get a snippet of quiet time.

So, first, let's discuss MENU.

Kids like Pb&J, they like mac n' cheese out of the box, they enjoy microwaved hot dogs. Now, if these lunch items make you swoon, then by all means, please keep eating them. But, if they do not twitch your twaddle, then I strongly suggest you make other plans.

If you have a little extra in your food budget, spring for some nice artesian bread, deli meats and cheeses, if sandwiches are your thing. If you like a nice hot meal, there are actually frozen meals that taste pretty dang good. Check the freezer section, and try out some different kinds. A lot of them are pretty cheap too. (Cheaper than driving through somewhere.) Get some rolls or make some toast for on the side. If leftovers are your thing, great!  Make a nice side salad to spruce it up. Just make sure you're enjoying the food you eat.

I want you to be EXCITED that it is lunch time. I want you to look forward to that meal. And the key here is, you can't spend forever prepping it. It has to take five minutes or less. Otherwise you're wasting valuable BREAK time, cooking.You're going to have to cook dinner in a few hours anyway! Do not waste time cooking your lunch. QUICK and DELICIOUS. Whatever that means to you.

Now let's talk TIMING.

Do not eat lunch at the same time your kids do. 

Everyone's schedules will be different. Heck, daily schedules vary in the same family. You need to find an hour (YES, and HOUR) of your day when you can carve out time to have to yourself (as much as is humanly possible). I find that if I can feed the kids lunch, and then without passing go, without collecting 200 dollars, put them directly in jail, erm... bed for naps, then I have an hour of time to eat.

Unfortunately, only one of three actually nap.



I let the other two watch TV.

I know, right? Crazy. Revolutionary idea. But dang it all, it works.

Now, here's the deal: If you have kids who aren't in school and who don't nap, you do not get a break. Ever. Someone is ALWAYS bugging you.


So, in order to accomplish a break time, I have eliminated absolutely all TV except for that hour immediately after their lunch.

And that is my lunch time. By that point, I'm starving, and ready for a break. The baby goes down, PBS Kids comes on (or Veggie Tales or whatever is age appropriate) and my lunch is made. Yes, the kids bugs me a bit, but I'm nearby and they know it. They tend to just veg.

If your kids won't sit and watch TV, supply them with books, or paper and crayons or kick them out to the backyard with buckets and shovels. What distracts your kids the best? What keeps them happy for the longest? Use it. If that means that you plan your day differently so that TV no longer comes on first thing in the morning, or that you move the baby's nap time or you eat after you pick up your kindergartener... whatever! Just figure it out. It will take some shifting and planning.

And it will be worth it.

Finally, Lunch Time Activities For Mom
Is the Grey's Anatomy on DVR calling your name? Is that novel just sitting there begging to be read? Are your emails clogging up your inbox? Take time to do things you normally don't have time to do; things that you don't want kids around for. Do not sit on hold with the insurance company while you eat. Do not pay your utility bills. NO NO NO! Relax, and take a break. The rest of the day is waiting for all that "real life" stuff. For me personally? Lunch is where I sit, eat SLOWLY, drink an ice cold beverage and read a book. It is fantastic.

Like I stated earlier, I want you to look forward with great anticipation to your lunch break. It is SO nice to sit and relax, even if you can only squeeze 14 minutes out before someone needs something. Get foods you like, get your kids squared away and recharge for the remainder of your eternally long days.

Seriously, you'll be SO glad you did.


Yasmine May 5, 2010 at 12:00 PM  

I check blogs on my lunch break. I'm actually eating my lean cuisine right now!
(On a nice plate. I don't eat it out of the plastic tray.)

Amber C May 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM  

I actually let Belle eat lunch and watch a movie while I go to my room (where my laptop usually is) and eat my lunch and surf or do homework.
Good tips, thanks!

Nathaly May 5, 2010 at 5:56 PM  

You don't even know how many times I've slipped up and said to my hubby, "Today during my lunch break...I mean during nap time...". Glad to know everyone needs that little break!

Just One Week May 20, 2010 at 8:00 AM  

I think this is a wonderful way to claim some personal time during a hectic day!

Stopping by to welcome you to SITS!

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