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Dear Self,

Hey, I know you work at night. Working full-time at home WITH kids means you have to do a little creative scheduling. However, your lack of planning shouldn’t mean your kids suffer.

For example, when you don’t get out of bed until 8:30 and you’ve got to get Big Girl to camp by 9, well…it’s no wonder she’s always late. Yes, I know she takes a LONG time to eat. And yes, I know she has been giving you a lot of garbage and backtalk lately because she doesn’t like what you’re offering. (Taking a quick pause to mourn the untimely and depressing loss of Kashi Mighty Bites — anyone know of a store that stockpiled them?) However, it’s important to find a solution to this problem before you’re standing there freaking out about the fact that she is going to be late.

Let’s review this morning, shall we? Okay, it started relatively benignly. You were so excited to show Big Girl the cereal you purchased the night before at Trader Joe’s — Yogurt & Flakes Cereal. It looked so yummy in the aisle. Four types of dried berries. Little yogurt drops. What’s not to like? So you show Big Girl, pour it in a bowl and get upset when she isn’t a fan. (Okay, let’s not sugar-coat it. She hates it.) You’re hammered for time, so you ask her to eat it anyway. Let’s stop right here: Does anyone force you to eat cereal you don’t like? No, I don’t think so. But I digress as always. She tells you she wants something else, asking for oatmeal. She didn’t eat it the last time, so you say no. The clock is ticking. You’re eight minutes away from being late. So you make a deal with her: Eat five bites of the “yucky” cereal and a banana and she’s good to go. She does it, gagging and fake crying the entire time. And then you head off to take her to camp.

Let’s review now. Did anyone win that little exercise in futility? Not you, who got aggravated and really hurt when Big Girl told you that you were — yes, I will repeat it — the poopy-est mommy ever. Not Big Girl, who went to camp with a semi-empty belly. And certainly not Little Girl, who only got a banana, 10-ounces of milk and some raisins for breakfast because you were too busy dealing with all the drama.

Okay, so what are we going to do to fix it? What’s that? You want to picket Kashi for getting rid of your kid’s favorite cereal? Sue them for loss of productivity since, without Mighty Bites, you’re missing some work time? Nah, not going to work. How about this: You know Big Girl loves cream of wheat, eggs and toast, pancakes. Why not try getting up 15 minutes earlier to cook one of the above? Here’s another thought: Ask Big Girl what she wants to eat the night before, and prepare it before you go to bed. It only takes a few minutes to heat something up. Pancakes freeze nicely. You could make a big pot of cream of wheat on Monday and ladle it all week.

You might also expand your definition of breakfast. You can make some really yummy breads and bars that provide plenty of nutrients and energy, and they are quick and easy. (Once you make them.) Smoothies are good, too. As are breakfast sandwiches like sunflower butter on toast or scrambled eggs on a roll.

I just re-read what I’ve written so far. It sounds a little harsh. I hope you don’t mind the dose of honesty! Still, try not to get depressed or feel too much like a breakfast failure. Just try and follow these rules, okay?

  1. Give the kids have choices.
  2. Leave enough time for them to eat. They have little mouths and stomachs, after all!
  3. Don’t take it personally. Even the poopy comments should probably be overlooked.
  4. Don’t stress if they don’t eat. Big Girl is a big girl. If she is hungry, she will tell you. Little Girl, well, she’ll be okay, too if she misses a meal here and there.

Hope tomorrow is a better day for you all!

Love, –KB

This post is how I am participating this week in Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays — two awesome campaigns to get people eating real food again. Would love to hear any tips you might have for breakfast foods. I can really use the help.

4 Responses to “A Mommy’s Letter About Breakfast”

  1. susandelg says:

    I’m also not a fan of the 4-berry cereal at Trader Joe’s, but love love LOVE the strawberry-only version! Kashi Honey Sunshine is also very good, especially with a big handful of fresh bluberries. One tip: there are a lot of odd-ball cereals at Big Lots. Including Kashi and Cascadian Farms, mixed in with the brands that you’ve never before seen in this part of the country.

  2. Shari G says:

    What? They discontinued Mighty Bites? Great post. We have all been there.

  3. I hear you! It drives my husband nuts to prepare four different breakfasts in the morning; that’s his job while I’m out walking. But, at least they’ll eat it because they said they wanted it. And if they don’t eat it, they get it later as a snack. I’m not about to waste food when I’m feeding a seven-person family!

    I read your other post about Kellogg’s problem. It makes me want to stay away from packaged goods as much as possible!

  4. this was the biggest & easiest button for my kids to push. which they did, of course. and i just couldn’t get past it. not sure how these buttons are hard-wired to our hearts and minds, but they are.

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