I have to be honest with you: unless they’re eating fruit or celery or something gloriously healthy (“Mom? Do we have anything else?” “NO.”), I make most of the snacks we give our kids. I know. I’m rolling my eyes at me, too. But bear with me as I explain. David and I are trying to consciously cut back on all the trash we produce (well, mainly me. David tries but he really likes Pop-Tarts and those Herr’s Crab Chips, and there’s no zero waste aficionado on earth who can convince him to, I don’t know, dig his own potatoes and make his own. Though I’ve probably tried). I know it sounds hippie, but I’ve always been like this, really, and well…I don’t know. We’re trying. If I can fill a thermos instead of buying a water bottle, I’ll do it. I’m not crazy, just inherently guilt-ridden.
Anyway. So. Because of my naturally hippie ways, combined with a way-too well-versed knowledge of all the different forms of MSG in our packaged food (over forty kinds! I am FUN at parties), I try to make my kids’ snacks instead of buying them. Do I fail regularly? Well, hells yeah. Making all that s— takes a hell of a lot of time (and apparently makes me swear a lot). And sometimes one cannot turn down the appeal of a well-crafted factory-produced crab chip (it’s the Baltimore, hon). We try. That’s all I say. We try. For the good of the kids, and all.
Here’s the truth: all of this “doing it all” food prep that I do? All of those snacks that I now can make from memory? All of those sweet moments I’m making with the kids as they help me measure the oats, and pour the honey, and melt the fair trade, organic, bought-in-bulk-with-an-organic-cotton-bag (never mind. I don’t get invited to parties) chocolate? It’s all a sham. Yes, we try to make all the healthy-ish goodies in bulk and freeze them. Yes, I think of Cian when I make the faux Lara bars, and of Quinlan when we bake her favorite (whole-wheat-no-granulated-sugar-because-I-want-my-children-to-hate-me) zucchini muffins. Saoirse is my focus when we freeze a batch of her energy bars (peanut butter, unsweetened rice cereal, oats, vegetarian protein powder, honey, enough chocolate to make it all palatable). Honest, I do. I’m not trying to be Awesomesauce Mom. I’m just being me, Mom, the mom who’s always baked with the kids and likes handing them food that we created ourselves. So, yay, me. Except, there’s that one little truth I still haven’t told you.
I eat them all. All. of. the. snacks. In my belly, they go, whomp, like Veruca Salt down the squirrels’ garbage chute in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For each serving we make and freeze and portion out for their lunchbags, I eat five of them. At a time. Most often at night, around nine o’clock, when I’ve had a glass of medicinal wine (yes, medicinal. I have three kids) and I’m suddenly starving and find myself with my head in the freezer (Sylvia Plath, there was a better way!) digging out containers (mostly old Tupperware, because I used up all of my responsible glass jars for leftovers) of my children’s food and stuffing it into my face like a grizzly bear who just found out she starts a diet in the morning (it’s called hibernation. I know. Fun at parties!). Almost everything I make ENDS UP IN MY FACE. The kids are none the wiser, because I do like all good moms do and hide in the pantry in case one of them sneaks downstairs after bedtime. David? David’s afraid of raiding the Secret Snack Compartment for fear of my reaction (“Those are for the children!”). Because, really: they’re for me. They’re allllll for me.
I try. I really do try. But a person can only be so strong. I mean, at least they’re mostly package-free, right? And look–they’re healthy! That chocolate is organic, after all. Not that the children will ever know.