BY MIA FREEDMAN
It was the afternoon before school started term 3 and I was stuffed. Actually, I was stoked. Stuffed AND stoked. My pantry was empty (stuffed) but I’d remembered this in time to fill it up! That’s a win right there! Stoked.
Like many parents, I find lunch boxes a challenge. Three kids, morning tea and lunch five days a week. OK, that’s a lie. My eldest runs his own race, I only have to sort the youngest two.
Still, that’s a fair amount of food. Especially when there are requests for VARIETY.
So I bolted to the supermarket and flew up and down the aisles, hurling lunch box supplies into my trolley like a maniac. I had no children with me at the time which made the whole exercise infinitely more efficient. No nagging. No arguments. No negotiations.
I was feeling pretty chuffed to be honest, as I loaded my trolley onto the conveyor belt. So many options for the lunch boxes. I was winning motherhood today. Winning. This happens rarely. I celebrated by posting this shot of my bounty to Instagram/Facebook with the caption:
“School’s back tomorrow and I’m at Woolies panic-buying all the snacks. Lunch boxes, I haven’t missed you these past 3 weeks.”
I read recently that no matter what you post, 10 percent of your audience will be offended. And it was so liberating to know that. Afterwards, the push-back stopped bothering me because it’s just a numbers game.
I do get curious sometimes though as to what it is about an innocuous photo or post that will be upsetting to the 10 percent. Because come on, a photo of some snacks? I may as well have posted a photo of some kittens.
By looking at this photo, can you guess my mistakes?
I thought nothing more of my snack photo until I logged on later and was immediately alerted to the controversy I’d caused:
Pot? Stir? Arguing? BUT IT WAS SNACKS.
More. This time in my defence:
But in defence of WHAT?
Well, I’d committed several crimes it would seem. They included killing the environment with packaging, spending too much money, over-feeding my children, feeding them too much processed food and buying snacks at all. “What’s wrong with a sandwich and a piece of fruit like I used to have?” grumbled one commenter. “No wonder we have a nation of fat kids!” ranted another. “Too much plastic! Bloody hell, we have to say no to the deathly polluting stuff!” raged a third.
197 comments in all. In 90 minutes.
For a moment, scrolling through the comments with my eyes wide, I felt a semi-hysterical giggle bubble up in my throat and try to escape through my nose. Someone even went to the trouble of finding out how much the small container of cut-up strawberries had cost and berated me for spending the same amount as it would cost to buy a whole punnet of strawberries “that would have been in the next aisle”.
‘Snack-shamed,’ I thought to myself. ‘I do believe I’ve been snack-shamed!’ and that made me laugh some more in that slightly incredulous way you do when you see yourself through external eyes. There I was feeling all Mother-Of-The-Year because (a) some of the snacks I bought were organic and (b) I’d remembered to buy snacks at all and wasn’t standing in front of my empty pantry at 7:30am wondering how I could pass off a couple of dry Weet Bix as a Fun Morning Tea!
It turns out snack-shaming is a thing. It’s not just me. When one woman posted a photo of a fruit snack pouch that contained mould, instead of receiving empathy she got outrage. HOW CAN YOU FEED THAT TO YOUR CHILD? people said, as if she’d been spoon feeding him crack out of the gutter.
Come on people, please.
It’s a snack.
So there you go. For what it’s worth, I do give my kids sandwiches and fruit. But I am not this parent:
Nor this parent:
I’m sorry but I’m not. Actually I’m not sorry. I’m just not that parent. I do my best. There is packaging and there is a combination of fresh and processed food.
My kids are OK though, thanks for your concern, snack-shamers!
Come on. Join me in the naughty snack corner. What did you have in your lunchbox as a kid? If you have kids now, what do you pack them?