Why A SAHM Is Living Off Her Kid’s Cold Leftovers

by Kimmie Fink

I realized things had spiraled out of control when I saw a graham cracker under the couch, looked at it, and seriously considered eating it. OK, maybe I ate it. What's it to you? At the time it seemed easier than walking it to the garbage can. Plus, I was hungry. Honestly, though, I don't know what's become of me. Wait, yes I do. I became a stay-at-home mom. It may seem incomprehensible to you, but there are more than a few reasons a stay-at-home mom has been living off her kids' leftovers, for at least two or more weeks.

I know this is awful, but like a lot of moms I tend to put myself last. I feel those initial hunger pangs, but first I'll change a diaper, put a load in the wash, text my mother-in-law, and get my kid a glass of milk. Before I know it, I'm starving. So yeah, if my kid leaves half a banana on my bathroom sink, I'll finish it off. Abandoned string cheese on the piano? That's my lunch. You know you've reached garbage disposal status when you're eating burnt grilled cheese with bites out of it while leaning against the kitchen counter. Not that I'd know anything about that.

Yes, I spooned cottage cheese off my toddler's placemat and directly into my pie-hole, but I'm not apologizing. I have my reasons, which definitely include the following:

Because Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have time to put together a winning salad with fresh-from-the-garden greens (arugula, how do I love thee?), ripe strawberries, organic goat cheese, and candied freaking walnuts. As delightful as that sounds, inhaling the scrambled egg my kid didn't want will get us out the door faster.

Because Purées Don't Actually Taste That Bad

For real. I spent so much time making all my own organic baby food when my daughter started solids that I didn't want to fuss with my own meals. Plus, it was delicious. Sweet potatoes with a little bit of my own breast milk? Yes, please. I was basically my kid's personal Jamba Juice, and that kiwi-banana mix was a real winner.

Because Cleaning Up Is The Worst

Sorry not sorry, but if there is any leftover food it's either going in my craw or on the floor for my dog to clean up. Stay-at-home moms spend all day tidying, disinfecting, and picking up as their children follow them around quietly (for once) undoing everything they've accomplished. So if eating the food our kids don't finish saves us some cleaning, I say more power to us.

Because It's Actually Pretty Good For Her

My kid eats pretty well. Like many millennial moms, I buy organic as much as possible and try to be conscientious about buying products with the fewest ingredients possible. She doesn't get a lot of stuff with artificial coloring or preservatives. I could do a lot worse than her cold whole wheat pasta, namely that package of Oreos I've been destroying after bedtime.

Because She'd Rather Shower

As a stay-at-home mom, your "me time" is severely restricted. So if I have to make a choice between a gourmet meal or 15 minutes in a glorious hot shower (and I do have to make that call sometimes), the shower wins every day. Bet you didn't know that becoming a mom means choosing which disgusting you can tolerate today.

Because Waste Not, Want Not

Child, do you know how much that half-empty Elmo squeezey pouch you just discarded cost? No, of course you don't. But I do, and that's why I'm sucking down your strawberry banana backwash. And don't get me started on the meal out that you didn't touch. One person's trash is another's midnight snack.

Because She's Got Sh*t To Do, Y'All

Have I mentioned that I don't have enough time? Because, yeah, I don't. I have to wrestle a 2 year old's hot mess hair into a ponytail, get my nephew's birthday package to the post office, wipe down the kitchen counters, keep the dog from eating the cat's food, and read The Little Blue Truck a minimum of 13 more times. Before noon. I'm not wasting precious nap time on a fancy pants meal for myself when there's perfectly good mac and cheese already on the table.

Because Nuggets Do Have Nutrients, Right?

A girl's gotta eat. Food is fuel for all things living, and even though they might feel like The Walking Dead, stay-at-home moms are no exception. Sometimes I get so busy that I forget to eat, so I have to scarf down whatever's on baby's placemat so I don't pass out. Whatever other garbage chicken nuggets have in them, they also have protein.

Because It's There

Yes, this is an objectively terrible reason, but we all do it. I am eating these graham crackers because, well, they're there. It's like when I'm at a baby shower. I wouldn't normally eat butter mints and mixed nuts by the handful, but place them conveniently on the coffee table in front of me, and I can't stop myself.

Because She's Building Her Immune System

My kid is exposed to all kinds of nasties at preschool, and I will inevitably fall victim. I might as well give my immune system a head start. I already kiss my kid on the lips, so what's the difference if I give her germs a direct line to my mouth via a half eaten slice of cheddar?

Because Goldfish Pair Well With A Nice Cabernet

Kid-friendly food is kind of delicious, you guys. I mean, veggie sticks are just glorified potato chips, but the ranch flavoring is on point. So don't fight it, stay-at-home mom. Pour yourself a nice glass of vino and enjoy that slightly stale peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Everyone knows toddler tapas are the next big thing.