I didn’t have time!

By Mir
December 9, 2004

If I were a better mother (where’s that button, Jenny??), when my children arrived home after school, I would immediately go through their backpacks and lunchbags and deal with the contents therein. The lunchbags would be emptied and the ice packs set back into the freezer, the various art projects admired, the pine needles and acorns surreptitiously disposed of, permission slips signed, the next day’s items packed, etc.

And I fully intend to do this, every day, but I always end up sidetracked by other more important matters. Such as hollering, “Excuse me, were you raised in a barn? Close that door!” or commenting loudly to no one in particular that I’m sure whomever left this coat in a heap on the floor meant to hang it up, or suggesting that urinating is, in fact, a solo activity in need of neither an audience nor serenading.

Prioritizing can be a mother’s biggest challenge, as we all know.

Due to this lack of June Cleaver-ish handling of my children’s school belongings, the morning usually finds me empting out backpacks and doing my tried-and-true stint as a nagging, broken record.

“Monkey! Everything is still in here that I packed for you yesterday! What did you eat for lunch?”

“Nothing. I didn’t have time.”

“You didn’t have time? Was there an emergency storytime to attend? Schedule conflicts necessitating the cutting of the lunch period to make more time for dumping sand on your head? What??”

“I don’t know, Mama. I just never have enough time.”

Then my face turns purple and my head rotates a full 360 while I throw away unopened yogurts, untouched sandwiches, battered pears and apples, and other perfectly delicious and serviceable food.

Chickadee usually eats her lunch. But every now and then she, too, comes home with a meal untouched.

“Chickadee! Why didn’t you eat your lunch??”

“I didn’t have time.”

“Why not?”

“I had to poop.”

“Thanks for sharing. That took the entire lunch period? Did you have the Wall Street Journal in there with you?”

“The what?”

“Nevermind. Do not spend all of lunch in the bathroom!”

And then I scrape out her lunch items while marvelling to myself that yet again I’ve discovered another rule I just never thought I’d have to make. Don’t hit, don’t bite, say please and thank you. These are things I was prepared to lay down as the law, as a parent. Don’t spend your entire lunch in the bathroom? Do all parents have to make that an actual rule or am I just lucky?

I’m thinking of writing a whole new type of nutrition manual. First we had the four food groups. Then came the food pyramid. Of course you’ve got your various information on vitamins and minerals and all of that. But I have stumbled upon critical information that I think most parents would pay to be privy to.

My theory–known henceforth as Yesterday’s Unconsumed Calories Catalog, or YUCC–will help parents everywhere make informed decisions about what food items to pack for their kids. By balancing YUCC against the food pyramid, informed decisions about nutrition vs. time can be made more easily than ever before.

To whit: The food pyramid suggests that raw green beans and baby carrots are an excellent source of vitamins and fiber, as well as counting towards the recommended “5 a Day” for fruits and vegetables. But a quick cross-check against YUCC shows us that such offerings take approximately five hours to consume. Does your child have five hours for lunch? If the answer is no, then a veggie selection is not a good choice. YUCC reveals that it will come home again in the lunchbag, because your child can’t possibly have enough time to eat it.

Conversely: Although the food pyramid puts chocolate teddy grahams right up at the top pointy part along with other items that should be doled out sparingly, YUCC reveals them to be one of the most time-efficient food choices around. According to YUCC, chocolate teddy grahams take just 3 seconds to inhale. Perfect for that child on the go.

Being the caring, loving mother that I am–and also hoping that my children’s teachers will witness the vast variety of nutritious foods I offer their ungrateful snotty selves and therefore not call Social Services on me even though my children never actually eat–I have been able to catalog a plethora of foods for consumption times within the YUCC model.

For the low, low price of just $29.95, this knowledge can be yours. Because I am all about sharing the love. Order now!


  1. Brian

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…that’s great…..

    Tell us about yesterday’s lunch.


  2. Jen

    Ha! If it makes you feel any better, we have an unusual rule in our house too. It’s called “don’t take your shirt off every time you poop”. Yes, you can say it. I am THAT lucky!

  3. Michele

    Just the other day I was trying to understand why none of the lunches I prepare are ever eaten – then it suddenly hit me: I can’t cook (yes, sandwich cooking IS considred cooking in my home), and since I have no children I am NOT eating the crap I make.

    Of course if I had some chocolate teddy grahams, that might encourage me to eat lunch.

    Time after time your posts save me from myself…thanks.

  4. nina

    Oh yes, the mystery of the unconsumed lunch. A phenomenon with which I am all too familiar. I hate making the darn thing in the first place, and I hate it even more when I have to throw it out. *sigh*

  5. Mike

    My favorite excuse was my big boy’s the other day: “I left my lunchbox in the car!” *SIGH* I could leave it in the kitchen, if it’s not even going to get into SCHOOL with him!!

  6. carolyn

    Thanks for the great laugh!! I thought I was the only one who thought about these things.

  7. ben


    If nobody’s kids eat their lunches (I know mine doesn’t)..

    why do they have lunchtime?

    Somebody must be eating, something!

  8. RockStar Mommy

    Okay, at least your CHILDREN are the ones doing this. My husband comes home every single day with wasted food that was packed in a rush earlier that morning. I can’t tell you how many yogurts I throw out weekly. It’s enough to give a girl a stroke, really…

  9. Jazzy

    Well, I was trying to comment on your most recent post, but for some reason my IT department feels as thought The Zero Boss is not suitable for mine eyes…

    Woman I cannot believe no one wants to give you a job. If I had all the money in the world, I would convince you to move to Texas (no small feat I am sure) and pay you to humorize my life. Your writing and creativity are unstoppable. Seriously, I would pay you to make my life seem fun. Someone give this woman a job for pete’s sake.

    And while you are at it, figure out what smut The Zero Boss could possibly be attached to because I am cool damnit and I want to play with the cool kids.

  10. udge

    We had to make our own lunches, which we had to throw away uneaten by ourselves. Kids today just have no idea how lucky they are.

  11. Jenny

    Hi Mir, I found you via Jazzy. I love your site design. The scrapbooking elements are fantastic. Your writing is very fun and engaging as well. I’ll be back. xx Jenn

  12. beth

    Yes, the same things go on in my house. Why didn’t you eat your lunch? Because I didn’t have time. and then, yes, it gets thrown out. Our pooping rule is to put your clothes back on before you come back out. so, see, it’s not just you!

  13. Shiz

    Liars. They just didn’t like it.

    If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat it.


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