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).
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Check out her book: Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents.