Remember lunch breaks? When we were kids, it meant lining up on those cafeteria tables with your best buddies – trading an orange for a pudding cup. In high school, it was getting in your car and leaving campus to buy a slice of pizza in town, just because you could. In college, it was cramming for a test with your classmates while wolfing down a burrito. After graduation and in my first job, it was lunching with coworkers at new restaurants. And then there were kids.
At first, when I was pregnant, my lunch break turned into a time when I drove home and laid on my left side. Then, when my daughter arrived, lunch became me rushing to her day care to nurse her for a few precious minutes before rushing back to work.
When you’re a stay at home mom, lunch breaks pretty much mean you turn into a short order cook – serving up the masses and, if you’re lucky, grabbing a leftover chicken nugget off your child’s plate. Good luck ever having a meal sitting down, served the proper temperature and uninterrupted by a child demanding you wipe their butt.
When you work outside of the home, lunch breaks turn into this hybrid event of “get everything you can’t do after business hours done in 45 minutes while also cramming food in your face.” It might be meeting with a teacher or dropping off a payment at the bank. Or, it could be my lunch today: driving to Lenscrafters to beg them to repair my 9 year old’s glasses after what appears to have been a Tiger fight gone bad.
This kind of hybrid lunch seems to be a larger trend – with most moms I know turning a few lunch breaks a week into a marathon errand run. Is it that our lives have gotten so chaotic that we now must multi-task all the time? While I wouldn’t change my life for anything, I do occasionally long for the days when my friends and I would pile in my truck and speed to town to exchange $3 for a slice of pizza, a soda and a carefree lunch where all we worried about was getting back to school before the bell rang.