At the start of every school year, I am full of Good Lunch Intentions, which rapidly fade away as the months progress. My kids' lunches are sadly pretty monotonous at this point - either soup in a thermos with crackers and cheese or a turkey sandwich with carrot sticks or homemade mini pizzas or wholewheat bagels with cream cheese if they're VERY lucky. Throw in something dessert-y - either a granola bar or a homemade cookie - and some fruit and that is IT, that's what they get, day in and day out.
And that is FINE. Life is not all beer and skittles, my children. The idea that I'm responsible not only for my kids' nutrition and well-being but also for an unending font of lunch-time novelty is a pretty new one, I think - I seem to recall my childhood lunches being peanut butter and jam or tuna sandwiches day in and day out (in the long-lost days before allergies swept them away) and apples, always apples and no real feelings of being hard-done-by on my part (except about the apples, which I still hate), unless lunch was that square lunch meat with olive and macaroni slices horribly embedded in it. Anyone who claims to feel nostalgic for pimento loaf is LYING.
I don't think parental effort is a bad thing and parenting should definitely not be a race to see who can be the worst, but there's a difference between a reasonable amount of effort (nutritious, balanced, reasonably tasty lunch? Check.) and trying too hard, making something that's already a daily hassle into a competitive sport. My kids' don't need elaborate Bento lunches to have a happy childhood, thank goodness. And meanwhile, this sickly winter just chugs relentlessly on and my kids are missing school AGAIN because of the weather, so I hardly need to make school lunches at all, do I.
In case they ever DO go back to school, though: what's your go-to school lunch routine? And did ANYONE like pimento loaf as a kid?