When I was young and my parents had separated, we moved on to a single parent pension which is modest allowance from the Australian Government to assist and provide the very basics for children without two parents on the scene. Its great and Im very thankful for living in a society that provides for single parents to ensure that there is some consistency at home despite the separation, and Mum could be home with us, rather than out, searching for a job for minimum wages.

One of the pitfalls of a having a modest income raising four growing preadolescent children is that there is not a lot of money for things that, today I take for granted. Going down to the nearest cafe for a coffee, just wasn’t something that was done, as ever dollar would be allocated to rent, groceries, utilities (water, electricity and gas) etc.  So lets just say that when I went to school, if we had a sandwich and a piece of fruit for each day of the week, we were doing well. At school, recess and lunch times would arrive and my friends had what I called ‘proper lunches’ muesli bars, cake, biscuits, chips, white bread sandwich (we know better now), basically a smorgasbord lunch that would make my stomach tighten with hunger!

I now have three beautiful children, two of which are now at school, and being a stay at home dad, I make it my duty to correct the ‘wrongs’ of my childhood, by providing what I would consider a lunch that would make other children envious… I know, I know, its shallow and questionable, but I really put a lot of effort into making their lunches with my main focus being, they are not hungry at school. However, my efforts are not being appreciated to my satisfaction… the lunch boxes often come home  with a half-eaten sandwich, biscuits left over, crackers and cheese not eaten, and this gets me frustrated! Why won’t my kids eat what I give them?!

After getting frustrated and trying different things like reducing their lunch removing goodies in the effort to have them eat the healthy things and providing a variety of lunch box fillers, I had some time to reflect and ask some questions… Recently, I asked my son why he didn’t eat all his lunch. He turned and said, Dad, if I ate all my lunch I wouldn’t have time to play with my friends (lump in throat). Ok, then, did you have enough to eat today? Yes, thanks Dad, just enough. I realised that I was making a lunch that suited a teenage kid not a 6 & 8 year old… Oops!