This post has been brewing for a while, so please bear with me whilst I share some of my thoughts. Today I want to talk about why I do what I do, because I feel that sometimes my intent is lost and misunderstood. We had an interesting discussion recently in a bento group that I belong to – why do we make bento, why do we blog about it? We all had our different reasons, we all had our points of view, but one thing is for sure, not a single one of us ever set out to make other people feel bad, nor put anyone down, nor judge anybody else’s choices. We all live our own lives doing what we love, for the joy of it, for the joy it brings our children, and when it comes down to it, that’s all it is about, our children, not anyone else’s. A key element that I have found common to all bento makers is love. Love for food, love for creativity, and love for our partners, children or whoever we make our bento meals for.
Having a blog about bento means that you have to develop a thick skin. It shouldn’t be so, but it is. By publicly sharing my son’s lunches, I am saying to all and sundry, feel free to comment, to give your opinions, to judge me and my life based on a photo of my son’s food. People are often very lovely, and very supportive, but all too often they are far from pleasant. From the classic ‘Nobody real has time for that’ to ‘She probably sits around on her backside all day while her maids take care of the house’ (wouldn’t that be great?!) it would seem that everyone has an opinion on my life and how I choose to live it. When the Daily Mail published an article about my lunches earlier this year, there were 978 comments made, many of them unpleasant. It didn’t help that the article was factually incorrect (my son is not in the slightest bit picky about food, unless you count his hatred of celery!) but still, 978! Lets say each of those people took 2 minutes to make a comment, that’s more than 32 hours! Just think of the amount of pretty packed lunches you could make in that time!
Most of the time I take it on the chin, deal, and move on, but sometimes, there is so much criticism thrown at me, one comment can be the last straw, and I can’t help but feel sad that my intent has been so misunderstood. I started this blog because I was inspired by so many other bloggers, who did and continue to do a fantastic job of sharing their own creative ideas. I wanted a place to record my own efforts, and I dearly hoped that one day I might be able to inspire others as I have so often been inspired myself. I believe that what I do is simple, doable, and fun, and I don’t set out for it to be anything else. I hope to inspire, to bring a little extra fun to life through food. I want to show that healthy food can be interesting too, and that it can easily compete with the jazzy packaging that so much unhealthy processed food has to hide behind.
There has recently been a surge of posts on various parenting blogs and websites slating ‘bento mums’ (we’re a separate breed apparently!) for ‘making the rest of us look bad’ but that is never, ever my intention. Just because I make pretty lunches, it doesn’t mean I always get it right. My children have the occasional happy meal from the dreaded golden arches, they sometimes enjoy crisps, and chocolate – our life and our diet is not perfect. Here on the blog I share the best of what I can do, but it is just a snapshot, and does not represent my whole life. There are things that I fail at, my house for example, frequently looks like a bomb has hit it, but when I manage to get things right I like to share it, as to me, that’s the point of this blog, my happy place, where I can celebrate the joy of creativity. For me, life is never about one-upmanship but always about celebrating individuals and their talents, whatever they may be. There is no ‘them and us’, only all of us, muddling along as best we can.
I always hope to encourage creativity, in whatever form it may take. With that in mind, I would really love it if you would share with me today something creative from your own life. Whether it is a beautiful cake you have made, a recipe that you are proud of, a craft project that you have blogged about, a picture your child has painted, a costume that you have made, a play scene that your children left behind, a beautiful photograph that you took or a lovely bento lunch, please share it! Let’s celebrate spending time on something just because it brings you joy, let’s celebrate our differences, let’s celebrate our creativity!