School Lunches, what should be done?

yea.... It hasn't changed much

Image via Wikipedia

This week is Nation School Lunch Week.  Our schools have the job of feeding our children lunch during the school year.  This is a job that I cannot image being a small undertaking.  My children go to a small rural school, Kindergarten through sixth grade, there is about 630 children attending that the school system needs to feed 5 days a week.

I understand why schools serve the foods that they do.  Most kids are picky and they are trying to get them to eat what they know kids will eat.  I see no problem with that.  I myself have one child that is extremely picky, and know that it is a fight most nights to get her to even attempt to try anything that doesn’t look like a hot dog or mac n cheese.  I couldn’t imagine doing that with 600 kids.

Many in this country are trying to put the blame of childhood obesity on school lunches.  personally I am going to blame helicopter parenting, convince of fast food, busy lifestyles, and technology.  Children need to get up and get out to play, I have seen mothers on message boards saying that they won’t let their children outside by themselves even at 12.  I’m sure that these parents have their childs best interest at heart, but with all of the responsibilities that come with being an adult how much time can you really spend outside just watching your child play?  Our busy lifestyles have a lot of us reaching for prepackaged meals or stopping at one of the fast food restaurants that seem to be on every corner anymore.  Most of us don’t have time to cook, and in order to just get something in us and our kids we go for what is convent and not necessarily the healthiest.  Technology from the internet to the 798 channels on cable tv to video games keeps more children in the house than anything else.  Kids are happy to sit on the couch and hold virtual races rather than go outside and have an actual race with other kids, or to see what is going to happen in tonight’s episode of “Teen Mom” so they are in the loop at school the next day.  Today’s children eat the same amount of meals at school that previous generations did, you cannot say that school lunches are what is making them obese when for generations they didn’t.

Hungry kids are not going to learn as much as full children.  The government started the free/reduced lunch and breakfast programs for this reason.  I can understand the wanting to feed our children healthier meals at school, but at what cost is that going to come?  Our schools are already under funded in many places, the arts are being cut out of school days to save money.  What next can we cut so our children can eat the fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods that many are pushing for?  For many places in the United States fresh produce is not readily available year round.  It must be shipped in from other states and some time countries, this in turn raises the cost of that salad many are trying to get to be the main entrée on our children’s lunch menu.

As I look at my own children’s lunch menu this week I see a mixture of different foods that would cater to different taste buds.  Every day there is a vegetable and a fruit.  I know that these are probably going to be coming either from a can or frozen for a couple of different reasons. 1 the growing season in Indiana is over, in fact we’ve even had our first frost of the year.  2. The cost of these items fresh for that many students is going to be more than is allotted in any school budget.  Finally 3. Can you imagine how long it would take to snap green beans or shell peas for that many kids?

Many parents will tell me that I am letting my children eat “crap” at school and I should be packing their lunch.  To them I ask what is the difference between me putting an individual applesauce in their lunch box and the school putting it on their tray.  I’m realistic, there is no way for my kids to heat up a lunch that I send with them.  While I don’t mind sending a cold lunch on a day that they are having something that they don’t like at school, I do not want them eating cold lunch every day.  They would get bored with it, and it nutritionally would not be as diverse as what they are getting at school.

I know that something does need to be done about school lunches.  I’m not real sure at this moment what that is.  I am torn between wanting kids to eat healthy and the schools offering items that they will actually eat.  The cost of what it would cost for fresh items plus the extra personal to prepare those items and with our country already in the red.  The final thing is wanting my children to eat healthy, but at what cost is that going to be to me each week while handing out lunch money?

Another child left alone

A mother holds up her child.

Image via Wikipedia

I just heard about yet another child left home alone while their parents were out partying.  As a mother of 3 my heart goes out to this little one.  I’m sure that they were confused enough waking up in the middle of the night to find their mother gone, and then being placed into a home where they know no one makes it even worse.

I understand the pressure put on mothers today from society to be perfect.  It seems that unless you give up all of yourself people will label you a bad mother.  With all of the groups out there from the breast feeding militia, the rear facing till they are in their teens fanatics, the granola mommas cringing when you even think about sending chocolate chip cookies for snack day, the attachment parenting mommas who think you are horrible if you don’t spend every second with your child till they are married it is hard to figure how not to lose yourself.

I’m starting to wonder if we aren’t hearing more and more about these mothers leaving to go party because of them getting overwhelmed and losing themselves.  Today’s moms are being pushed more than ever to be the best parent 24 hours a day.  The internet is full of people with parenting criticism and perfect children who never once threw a tantrum because they didn’t want to go to bed.  You go to a site thinking that you can get help with your problem and instead are told how horrible it must be to think about getting a babysitter so you can go out for a night without your child. Or how you abandon your child all day for someone else to raise while you go to work.  Or my personal all time favorite Why did you even have a child if you were going to have someone else raise them.

I think that we need to step back and look at what we are doing to young mothers today.  There is a difference between putting information out there for mothers to make an informed decision and ramming the information down their throats to the point where they are scared if they give their child an M&M that they will be obese later in life.  We all have our causes that we feel strongly about, but we need to start figuring out new ways to get others in tune with our feelings. Putting each other down and telling someone else that they are a horrible mother just because they didn’t make the same decisions as you did in raising their children is something that no mother should do to another.

Of course there is the other side of the coin, that maybe these people are really just stupid.  Which brings up a couple of things that I feel strongly about…

first, you should have to pass a basic test in order to become a parent

second, stupid people shouldn’t reproduce (please refer to question one for more explanation)

Zombie Post Monday

After a long weekend with sick kids, work, and oh ya hubby to deal with I saw this over at Real Life with Kids and instantly knew what todays blog post was going to be lol

I orginaly wrote this little rant about Ranch Dressing after a trip to the grocery back in May

Why do we need so many different kinds of ranch dressing? Off the top of my head I can think of peppercorn ranch, hot and spicy ranch, cheesy ranch, 3 cheese ranch, italian cheese ranch, cucumber ranch, fat free, low fat, light, and of course original. There are several that I am missing from this list I’m sure. I’m really just confused on why we need this many different kinds of ranch dressing. I have enough going through my brain without having 20 different varieties of ranch dressing to choose from when I go to the store. It never fails that if I have everyone with me I manage to not grab original, and don’t realize it till I get home. Maybe I should switch to french, they don’t seem to mess with it like they do ranch.

It figures….

Toliet Paper Check, ya soft

Image by Jp Gary via Flickr

As any mother knows, it is impossible to go to the bathroom by yourself once your children are able to crawl.  The only time I have been able to pee by myself in the last 8 years is if it’s in the middle of the night and then I’m scared that I’ll wake one of them up if I breathe too loud.  So what happened the other day has me completely baffled beyond belief.

My husband was using the bathroom when our youngest decided to open the door.  I heard the familiar “What ya doin” come out of his mouth, and then the even more familiar ” Get out of here and shut the door behind you!”  Then something that would never be heard if I was in the bathroom, the door close and little feet in the hallway.

Now I’m confused on why my children will leave my husband alone so he can go to the bathroom by himself, take a shower with no one interrupting, not walk into the bedroom while he is changing clothes, or even let him check his email in peace.  I’ve tried to do all of these and without fail someone in this house will interrupt me, even sometimes my husband.

The only reason I can think of for this differential treatment of Mom and Dad is that mothers have a beacon that goes off in a frequency that only her children and husband can hear to let them know that Mom might possibly be doing something without one of them present.  Now if I could only figure out how to turn mine off so I can manage to take a shower by myself.

Lesson to mothers….

We all know the mothers that over react to everything.  The ones that think allowing another child to bring cupcakes to school for their birthday will lead to their child being over weight.  The reason that we don’t keep score during children’s games, and everyone gets a trophy.  And my all time favorite, the ones that think CPS should be called because you don’t have your child in bubble wrap attached to your hip 24 hours a day until they are married.

One group is taking a stand against these mothers.  I applaud the Madison Heights Wolverines Cheerleading Squad for finally showing one of these mothers that going over the top is not encouraged.  I do feel bad for the little girl that isn’t allowed to be on the team due to her mothers actions.  I also am sad that her mother had to embarrass her by going to the media, and making a huge deal over, in my opinion, nothing.  I can understand Jennifer Tesch’s frustration with not liking something that was going on.  But after she was told that this cheer had been done for 20 years, why take it to the media over something so small?  Not to mention that people don’t pay attention to cheerleaders during football games, they are there to watch the football game.

Parents of children are becoming more and more involved which can be a good thing.  Unfortunately we also get those parents that feel that they should be the center of attention, instead of the true reason behind activities which is kids having fun and learing to work together.  I’m hoping that with this one organizations stand against over the top parents more will follow suit, I doubt that will happen, but I can at least hope.