This serving of guilt brought to you by Betty Crocker.

Do you have one of these somewhere in your kitchen? Maybe in a junk drawer or crammed in next to your cook books?


This is my little bag o’ guilt.

That’s not true. I feel fine about this little bag of box tops. I mean, I’m never going to glue them individually onto those little worksheets that come home from school with the girls. But I will dutifully clip them from boxes of muffin mix and cereal, granola bars and dinner rolls. I’ve got another bag for the other kind – Labels for Education or whatever they’re called. You can’t mix them up because they go in different collection jars outside the school office.

Sometimes I have a stack of boxes with tops to be clipped, like on grocery day when I’m unpacking granola bars so that I can put them into the little basket in the cupboard. (This might sound like I am uber organized, but I’m not. I just can’t stand empty boxes in the cupboard and the only way I’ve been able to eliminate that phenomenon is to put stuff in baskets.) I admit to getting a little resentful about my compulsion to clip box tops when I’m racing to get the groceries put away before it’s time to leave again to pick the kids up from school. You’d think I could just chuck the cereal boxes in the recycling and call it a day. After all, it’s only 10 cents I’m throwing away. But this box top thing has gotten to be a habit over the years.

Then the other day I saw this:


Are you reading that?

Do you see the part where it says, “Every little thing you do for your child helps make them the amazing person they will become! Clipping Box Tops is one of the biggest little things you can do to support their school and their future.”?


First off, I don’t dig exclamation points in body copy. Second, clipping box tops will help make my kid an amazing person?

I don’t think so. I think clipping box tops will – 40 gazillion box tops later – add a little cash to our teachers’ resources for buying pencils, paper, crayons, stickers and the million other things they often buy with their own money. But I don’t need Betty Crocker to guilt me into it. Like I’m not doing enough for my kids?

Don’t pander to me like that Betty. Tell me what schools are doing with their box tops. Tell me how many box tops schools turn into cash each year. Heck, tell me how the idea for box tops came about. But if you are finding that people are clipping fewer box tops and you need to promo the box tops on my brownie mix, don’t try to guilt me. I work in marketing – I know you use that space for new recipes or giveaways or contests. Please don’t use it to add to my already endless list of things I should be doing to be a more perfect mother.

Because I’ll never be a perfect mother. And my kids? They are already amazing.


About workingmomslunch

I'm a full-time working mom of three girls. For reasons unknown to me some people think I make this all look easy. In reality, I have no idea what I'm doing. Every day I'm trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go on time, what to wear to work that doesn't require ironing, when I'm going to get the dust bunnies out from under the hall table, what we're going to have for dinner and what I might do if I actually had 20 minutes all to myself. Follow along with me as I navigate the oft-charted, but never mastered, waters of working motherhood.
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