All it takes to get us in a tizzy these days is a mom in a bikini or a photo of a cutesy lunch. In this case, the offending Instagram image was of fish and chips rendered in lattice served up with peas in a pineapple cupcake holder.
I have done the same thing to my kid's meals exactly never. In the past, I may have sneered or ridiculed parents who make masterpieces out of their kids' Goldfish crackers. After all, I am no Michelin star mom. I don't "do" presentation. It's a kids' lunch for crying out loud. The last thing I want is to set a precedent that I can't live up to. My son must learn to appreciate his peas sans embellishment.
But - and this is the important piece - I finally get why those moms (and maybe a sprinkle of dads, too) go to all that bother. Not because they expect the Lunch Maker of the Year award. And hopefully not because they're deluded enough to think it means they love their kids any more than the rest of us do.
No, they do it because they like it. It's their thing, if you will, their creative outlet...
The effort this writer puts in when one of her kids needs a costume is, she claims, borderline psychotic. "That’s my peas in a pineapple cup situation. My children look like they are part of a full scale Broadway production."
For others, it may be crocheting intricate sweaters or baking 10-tier birthday cakes. Whatevs. The point is, we all have our gifts and interests.
For instance, I deliberately don't bake my son's cake, and he's luckier for it. I play to my strengths. Instead, every year I make a huge hand-drawn and painted birthday banner, of whatever character he happens to be into. My version of a time capsule. I'm sure to some parents who've seen my posters I'm a barking mad overachiever (though of course they are far too nice to say so to my face!)
So though I would never deign to make a lattice out of my son's fries, I won't have a pop at any mom who does - certainly not this mom from Melbourne. The crazy creative stuff she does with her son Jacob's snacks makes me wish she designed my evening snacks. A Don Draper crackers and cheese plate, anyone?