Lately, parents in the US have been getting caught up in showing off their “lunchbox game,” as Jason Biggs calls it.
This involves packing lunchboxes that are not only healthy and balanced but also aesthetically pleasing. The look of the meal seems to be more for the sake of Instagram than the kid eating it — a fact brought into the light of day by a recent Instagram post by Jason Biggs.
“With @jennymollen out of town this week, Sid’s lunch duty has fallen to yours truly,” the actor wrote on the post. The accompanying lunchbox photo included such nutritional staples as a half of an old avocado, half a bagel with two bites taken out of it (“the way he likes it”), a packet of Splenda, and an entire yam.
We can safely assume this was a joke, seeing as there would be no way to close that lunchbox with the whole yam in there.
Not Exactly Lunchables
“From top left: Organic half avocado from last night, whole sweet potato (produce code 94074), pb&j on bagel (two bites removed, the way he likes it), burnt gluten-free cookie, and one @splenda packet,” wrote Jason.
Hashtag dads out there killing it.
Since the post blew up, Jason has made a few other lunchbox game posts, almost all of which include a half of an old avocado. The last one was just the avocado and $9 cash.
The lunchbox series has been resonating with exhausted parents trying to keep up with the trends.
“I feel like you reused that avocado from the day before,” wrote one commenter. “Been there.”
Easy There, Mollen
The joke began because Jenny Mollen, who has been married to Jason since 2008, has been posting photos on Instagram of her lunchbox creations. To be fair, Jenny’s kids are probably some of the healthiest around. But who has the time to make a kid’s bun look like a bear?
Lunchbox art is a phenomenon that started in Japan years ago. Moms started packing bento boxes with seriously adorable creations, including rice shaped into iconic Japanese cartoon characters. Pretty soon, moms in Japan were complaining about the immense pressure to create gorgeous lunches on top of everything else they had to do.
It wasn’t long before the trend spread to the US. Instagram and Pinterest are full of photos of beautifully arranges lunchboxes put together by supermoms and eaten by kids who probably just want pizza.
One More Thing Moms Have to Do
There’s nothing wrong with putting together a healthy and aesthetically pleasing lunch for your kids, of course. For some parents, it’s an expression of love, and they enjoy doing it.
It can be a problem when something like this becomes the standard, and other parents are left feeling inadequate because they don’t have the time to mold rice into the shape of hearts.
This kind of pressure is why this lunchbox game parody by Jason Biggs is so appreciated. Lunchbox art is absurd as a standard, and we need to remember that moms are already overloaded with expectations. The important thing about lunch is that a kid eats it, not how pretty it is for your Instagram followers.
You can tell that the standard is out of control when some commenters don’t even recognize the joke.
“This is a great lunch except the Splenda packet ruins all the money that went into quality produce,” someone commented on Jason’s first lunchbox post. “Splenda ruins gut integrity and health.”
You might have missed the point.
Regardless, over 51,000 people have liked the first Jason Biggs lunchbox post, and most of the comments include laughing faces. Just beware of the odd lewd comment about pies.
Step Up, Dad
Jenny will return to making lunches next week, we assume, as Jason declared his most recent lunchbox post to be the last. We do hope that he learned a little something about how seriously people take the lunchbox thing and maybe helps Jenny out with lunches in the future.
And ladies, don’t be like the commenter who said that “this would be how Justin would make lunches!” Girl, tell Justin to learn basic food preparation and do his fair share of the work. Buy Justin an apron and put him to work.
Anyway, props to all the moms who put extra effort into their kids’ lunches. Props also to all the moms who are too busy with things they think are more important. Props to moms.