Is it bad parenting to give my son his leftover lunch for dinner?

Do your kids constantly come home with their leftover lunch? 

My youngest son is not a great eater.

Not at dinner time, anyway. For whatever reason, he doesn’t really “do” dinner. This used to distress me in that guilty mother way because I felt I needed to see him eat (Jewish mothers are particularly vulnerable to this type of guilt).

Even though I’ve long given up on the idea of being the one who actually cooks the food, I try to make sure it’s provided somehow.

Last night was fairly typical of meal times in our house. We sat down to eat dinner and without even attempting to get him to eat what the rest of us were eating (slightly spicy soup and garlic bread), I put this on his plate:

The sandwich at the centre of the drama

It’s the turkey and cheese sandwich he didn’t eat at lunchtime yesterday because there was a meal deal charity day at school or something and he’d had a sausage roll instead.

I feel the need to tell you that the sandwich was on brown bread in a bid to acquire a few extra points along with the points I get for having two different types of protein in there. This is how my head works as a mother so much of the time. I am constantly adding and subtracting points to some imaginary and entirely unhelpful tally of ‘Good Mothering’ that goes on as running commentary that only I can hear.

But it’s LOUD.

Because I am easily intimidated by people who can cook and because I like to share the non perfect moments of my life on social media, I posted it on Instagram with the caption: “Leftover cheese sandwich from child’s lunch becomes his dinner. #cooking #mamamiamoments”.

The comments were mixed. Some were in wild agreement that serving your child his uneaten lunch for dinner was a perfectly sensible idea.

Others weren’t quite so happy.


Me? I was a bit stoked. My son picked at his sandwich and ate the inside (double protein FOR THE WIN!) and there were no fights or tears. MORE POINTS. Like most mothers (and come on, it’s usually the mothers), I am torn between not wanting to make separate meals for my kids and wanting them to eat something. Anything. Even if it’s cereal. Is cereal such a bad dinner occasionally? I would argue (usually with myself) that it’s not.

So, tell me. Should I put another dollar in the therapy jar or consider this a victory?

Next time you have one of these #mamamiamoments when life isn’t Insta-perfect, hashtag us so we can share it on our feed. SOLIDARITY.

Find out how Mia deals with haters in her video series, ‘Hey Mia’.