I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a video that promised moms that they would never again be at a loss for ideas when it came to the production of creative school lunches.
The secret to eternal perfection was only one click away (for moms). Dads apparently need not apply. I was intrigued. Just one 14 second advertisement separated me from the deep well of inspiration. I would be a fool to not give it a shot! The fact that I am not a mom and that my kids’ answer to the perfect school lunch is R50, did not deter me. Not. One. Bit.
I simply had to know.
It was clear, if I was a mom I would be the envy of all moms. My children would open their Tupperwares to gasps of admiration from the other children who would stare longingly at the creation that my children had brought to school. They would go home and berate their own moms for the uninspired crackers and cheese that they doled out each day.
My children would realise how much they are loved. And that night, and for every night from this moment on, just before bedtime, when bathed and clean they will whisper prayers of gratitude for having been blessed as they have.
And they would wonder what magical inspiration lay in tomorrow’s offering.
So, I clicked on the link and I was not disappointed.
I genuinely had no idea that one could do all that with a mango. All one needed, apparently, was a sharp knife, a cutting board, a ripe-to-perfection -mango and about 6 free hours a day. And who doesn’t have that? One also needed the skills of a neuro-surgeon to ensure that you didn’t bleed to death when slicing the mango in the palm of your hand. This was to be the initial problem I would face. Given my fine-motor skills I was likely to hemorrhage way before that Tupperware was filled. The kids would no doubt find me on the kitchen floor and would always wonder what had possessed me to play naughts and crosses alone. In blood.
They were equally creative with avocados. I needs to be said that I have seldom seen an “avo” treated with that level of disrespect and I wonder if the producer of this little video wasn’t the Harvey Weinstein of fruit and vegetables.
It made me very uncomfortable.
As did the whole experience. Not because there was no chance that I could produce such wonder. But because somewhere out there in the land of Facebook and Instagram there seems to be a place where someone thinks that being a good mom means being the best mom. And being the best mom means being the Martha Stewart of school lunches. And whereas maybe on a kid’s birthday it is nice to do something different, the expectation that this is what parents should be striving toward is not only stupid, but downright irresponsible.
Surely its challenging enough to be a reasonable parent without social media raising the standard? In our home we consider it an achievement if both our school going kids actually go to school on the same day. And if they stay there for the duration we are practically overachievers. Anything more than that is quite frankly unnecessary. And is showing off.
I am not a mom. But I am married to one. And what I have observed is that in all the WhatsApp groups and on the various social media platforms, is an underlying need to be The Best Mom In The Whole World. It might be worth considering re-calibrating those goals. For me its being able to call my kids by the name we gave them, and not the names of our other children or our pets. But I am certain that somewhere in the middle lies the answer.