We’re All Just Faking It thumbnail

We’re All Just Faking It

3 Things by Debbie Koenig, Parents Need to Eat Too

3 Things by Debbie Koenig, Parents Need to Eat Too


Facebook torpedoes my self-esteem.

If we were friends there, you’d think I’m a successful cookbook author. A freelance writer with assignments galore. A mom so content, so together, so happy, life is one big ol’ banana split. With an organic cherry on top.

Here’s my reality: I’m a cookbook author with a kid who won’t eat. A freelance writer who hates to pitch—who’d rather fritter away the workday than send ideas to an editor she doesn’t know. A mom whose home is in disarray, whose squishy midsection certainly doesn’t need another scoop of ice cream, with or without the cherry.

Sometimes after a bout of Facebooking, I can feel myself shrink. I absorb the personas my friends present and seethe with jealousy. Why is life so easy for everyone else?

If I catch on before I shrivel into a self-pitying prune, I remind myself how you see me, and I realize we’re all just faking.

Maybe they should call it Fakebook.


Never ask what your kid ate for lunch.

When my son started school two years ago I packed carefully balanced meals plus snacks, always things I was confident he’d eat. Seriously, I never experimented at lunchtime. At first my system worked fine, and he’d bring home a mostly-empty lunchbox each day. But then came the days when I’d find whole, backpack-tumbled apples, droopy cheese sticks, and still-brimming thermoses of soup (now cold). He insisted he was eating the school lunch—peanut butter if he didn’t like the hot meal. Eventually I stopped packing a “main course” and just sent snacks.

When I picked him up each day, I couldn’t help myself: Before we’d even get home I’d ask, all faux-casual, “So… Whadja have for lunch?” This time last year, according to my son’s reports, he was eating a peanut butter sandwich at least four days a week. He’d never deign to eat one at home, presumably because he had them so often at school.

And then I chaperoned a class trip, for which the school provided paper-bag lunches. Peanut butter sandwiches for all! I was thrilled, since it was clearly his favorite school food. I handed him a bag, and he burst into tears.

“He hates peanut butter,” his best friend explained. My son had been telling me what he thought I wanted to hear for most of the school year.

Now, I no longer ask. Learning that lunch consisted of his classmate’s Oreos would just spike my blood pressure, anyway. Ignorance may not be bliss, but it’s much less stressful.

koenig family star wars party


Now that I don’t send a lunch-lunch with junior, the snacks I provide pack as much nutrition as possible. Wallaby Organic Yogurt makes the cut a few times a week. It’s smooth, no chunks of fruit to offend my boy’s delicate sensibilities, with a consistency thin enough to suck through a straw. That’s what makes it so appealing—in addition to the yogurt I also send a disposable straw (don’t judge), which the kid pokes through the foil top. Instant smoothie!

The cute drawing of a wallaby on the package doesn’t hurt, either.



Contributor: Debbie from Parents Need to Eat Too
Enjoy her blogs, Parents Need to Eat Too and Feed the Parents (Weight Watchers).
Join her on Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter.
Check out her book: Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Larissa March 20, 2013 at 9:42 am

    That is how I have felt about face(fake)book, too. Though once in awhile there is a mom like you who reminds me that what we put out there is what we want others to see. We want everyone to think we have it all together, but for many it is just a day to day struggle and the cute photos were the mere seconds when some how everything was alright.

  • dkzody March 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

    It’s not FB that makes me feel that way (probably because those are people I really know on there & I know what their life is like) but reading some people’s blogs make me feel that way. I’ve quit reading some because these people (whom I don’t know) seem to make things like retirement sound so easy and wonderful. They go places, do things, have fabulous clothes, all on practically no money. Hah. Or, they are cooking and entertaining with minimal effort. Or, they have dozens of projects for their children to do at the drop of a “I’m bored, what can we do?” Their homes, gardens, offices, etc, all look magazine-worthy. Another hah. So, I don’t read as many blogs.

  • Nina March 20, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I will try that yogurt for my kids. They are picky about yogurt!

  • Jenna@CallHerHappy March 20, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I am in love with that picture of your family! It is adorable! I guess I don’t know you at all except for this post, but I would venture to say that picture really captures your family’s personality!

  • debbie koenig March 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Aww, Jenna, thanks! It’s from my son’s 6th birthday party, which was Star Wars themed in a big way. Millennium Falcon AND Death Star Cakes! http://debbiekoenig.com/2012/09/02/how-i-spent-my-saturday-night/

  • debbie koenig March 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Larissa, sometimes I think I should put a Post-It on my computer, to remind me whenever I click to Facebook: SELF-CURATED. We only share what we want others to see. Lord knows when I’m circling the drain of depression, I don’t share that with the FB community.

  • debbie koenig March 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Ooooo, I HATE blogs like that. My FB friends are mostly people I know IRL, but there are also colleagues/competitors/people whose homes I’ve never seen. Lots of room for fakeness there.

  • debbie koenig March 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    My guy really, really likes it, Nina. It hits his picky-boy sweet spot.

  • Lisa @ The Golden Spoons March 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Fakebook!!! I love it!! It is so true!!

  • Paula Cohen-Martin March 21, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Love this post, Debbie! I sometimes think the same thing: if you read my posts you’d think I was a happy-go-lucky art teacher who does nothing but create and paint. And that I lived a charmed life with two wacky boys and a playful dog. Instead I live in a house where you literally can write DUST ME on any surface, where the supplies I hoard threaten to overtake the furniture and the house’s inhabitants, where despite my claim to make a killer veggie chili (I do) we actually make frequent trips to Subway for sandwich dinners.

  • Lisa Ahn April 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Oh, how I needed this post. This weekend (Easter weekend), I was sick with a stomach bug. My husband got Easter treats for the girls, and they were quite happy. But, after about five minutes on Facebook — and all those pictures of hand-dyed eggs, and crafts, and elaborate breakfast treats — I felt like Mom-failure-central. It’s great to have a reminder about what Facebook is — and isn’t. Thanks.