I was recently at a kid’s birthday party. If you have kids under 7, when aren’t you at a birthday party? The party had just begun so none of the kids were killing each other yet although my 4-year-old son Jake had already thrown down the gauntlet by calling someone a Diaperhead. I seized the moment to nosh at the food table before everything had been fingered, licked and put back.
At the parties we go to, there’s usually a good spread since moms seem to enjoy outdoing the food from the last birthday party. I’m fine with the one-upmanship. It just means tastier food with each party.
Onto my plate goes around-the-world offerings of meatballs, spanikopita, parmesan bread, herb dip, Margherita pizza and of course fruit and veggies to put up the “I eat healthy” front. Another mom mentions she’s really hungry because she forgot to eat lunch. She says this happens often, her forgetting to eat and that even her husband has to bring her food sometimes as a reminder to take in sustenance. e
This was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. This meal was in fact my SECOND lunch.
I don’t think I’ve forgotten to eat since, oh, let me see — never. And it especially hasn’t happened in the four years since I’ve become a mom. I already operate on no sleep, there’s no way in hell I could do it on an empty stomach.
Food gives me the inspiration to get out of bed when Jake comes running in at 6:24AM ready to rock. Food gives me the stamina to simultaneously pack his school lunch, tell him for the tenth time to get dressed and separate LEGOs with my teeth. Food gives me the strength to drag my ass in and out of the shower and put on something other than the t-shirt I’ve worn for the past three days straight. Food gives me the patience to coax my child into the car for school when he insists on building a LEGO train first and there are only three pieces in place… the ones I separated with my teeth.
Food even helps me survive children’s birthday parties…
As long as I’ve eaten “three squares a day,” I can get out to the toy store, buy a toy, hide the toy, and handle the tantrum that ensues when Jake inevitably finds the toy and wants to play with it. On the day of the party, like this day, as long as I’ve got Margherita pizza and meatballs digesting in my stomach, I can man the bounce house and direct traffic. “Jake, watch out! Don’t fall on McKayla’s head!” I can also comfort Jake when the balloon animal he waited ten minutes for pops. I can hover over him during cake cutting with a firm, “Wait your turn! Your piece is coming!” And on the way home, when the goody bag gets ripped open and fifty-cent toys fall, break and roll under my seat never to be seen again, I can keep my cool when Jake screams that he wants his toy fixed “right now!”
I can do all these things because I am a mom who “remembers to eat.” I’ve discovered that satisfied stomach = capable mommy.
Even if by some earth-shattering anomaly it were to turn 2:30 and it had slipped my mind to eat lunch, I’m pretty sure that by simply walking through the kitchen, pantry doors would swing open, the fridge would buzz and light up, and apples sitting on the counter would roll off and land in my hands already peeled.
You know those cable shows where people re-enact lost-in-the-woods survival scenarios and live off of three drops of water collected off a leaf and by Day Three rejoice because they finally get a good meal of roast skunk ass? I. WOULD. DIE. Literally DIE before they ever got the camera footage back to the editing bay. And if Jake were with me on this journey, it would happen far sooner than that.
Forget to eat? I’d more likely forget to breathe.
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