Mom Shame & School Lunches

So I’m a bit of a Pinterest junkie. I do mostly food stuff on there, but sometimes I look for things to decorate my imaginary beach house or pick out outfits for when I will be heading off to some (also imaginary) fancy celebrity party. I was on the other day prepping for a talk I am doing this week on Snacks and School Lunches when I came upon this image:

School lunch image from 100 Days of Real Food

And all I could think was, “are you freaking kidding me?”! I mean, I consider the fact that I make school lunch every single day with fresh vegetables to be a major accomplishment. I had no idea I was supposed to make lunch look like an owl perched under a food rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

I kept going. And found this:

Image from Lisa Leakes Facebook page

And this:

Image from

And then the Mom Shame slammed down on me in waves so great that I contemplated curling up on the dog bed until the room stopped spinning. I am a Certified Health Coach, and the lunches I pack for my kids are PATHETIC compared to these pictures. In fact, I don’t even want to show you what I normally pack for lunch because I am so ashamed. But I will.

Image from Courtney Abrams

On today’s menu we have leftover ginger scallion rice noodles with zucchini, cherry tomatoes and watermelon.

You can see it is pretty basic.  Usually I pack leftovers from dinner, chickpea salad or a sandwich as the “main.”  Cucumbers, carrots or tomatoes for the veg (yes, I know tomatoes are a fruit but I have picky eaters), and then something sweet.  Usually fruit.  For a snack it is usually cheese and goji berries, rice cake with almond butter, celery with peanut butter and raisins.  Again, simple foods.  Things to give my kids the boost they need to get through the day with taste and flavor they like, while trying to stay true to whole foods and nutrition.

I thought I was doing a good job.  I kept the sugar intake low, tried to include variety, fiber, protein.  All the good stuff.  I had no idea I was supposed to be replicating great works of art, using cookie cutters to make my carrots a flower, and creating my own Mom version of Lunchables.  The more I think about it, the more I feel the Mom Shame.  For me, my Mom Shame manifests itself when I encounter ‘crafty moms.’  These are the Moms (and Dads!) who are making lunches that look like the ones referenced above and simultaneously having the ability to DIY an adorable handmade Halloween costume of Amelia Earhart for their 2-year-old.  I can’t do the majority of things crafty moms can do, and now my shame is compounded by knowing that  I am also a lunch making failure.

It’s not the lunch that is the failure by the way, it’s in the presentation that my Mom Shame comes out.  Am I alone in feeling this way?  I hope I’m not the only one.  I mean, I can’t be… right?  I know there are lots of other Moms and Dads like me who are doing their best to get good, healthy food on the table and in the lunchbox.  Do these other parents have something I don’t?  Do they care more?  Do they love more?   Or are they just more invested because they know if they share their photo on Facebook or Instagram they will get lots of “likes” and feel validated about what a great parent they are?  (Check out my fun smoothie pic here because I am obviously guilty of the same thing.)

I don’t know the answers.  I just know that I am doing the best I can with the skills I have.  I make lunch for them, I love them, and I even allow them to cuddle on the dog bed with me.  So to all the “Super Moms” out there with your bedazzlers and cookie cutters for sandwiches, I salute you.  I admire you, and I even envy you a little.  But I’m going to try my darndest not to be shamed by you anymore.  Of course to do so may involve a Pinterest intervention.

What do you make for lunch?  Are you creative with your offerings?  We would love to see pictures!  Feel free to post on my Facebook page or direct message me on Twitter. Or send them to me here at Happiness Series.  You can also tag me on Instagram.  And of course, if you’d like to continue the conversation, please message me to set up your free health consultation.



Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Courtney Abrams is a Health Coach and Founder of Roslyn Wellness. Trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she helps clients work within the realities of their day to day lives to find ways to make small and manageable changes to their health that can maintained over time. Her clients include people trying to lose weight, beat sugar, increase their energy, cook simple healthful food and reduce stress to name a few. She also shares a passion for food policy and educating people about the foods they are eating and the governmental role behind much of it. You can learn more about Courtney and Roslyn Wellness at

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