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10 Moms Share Their Lunch Horror Stories (Yes, These Really Happened)

Another day, another disaster — that’s parenting in a nutshell, no? Of course, raising tiny humans is beautiful chaos, and some of the proverbial fires you have to put out are downright hilarious. Perhaps not in the moment, but parenting often entails looking back and laughing about things that seemed straight-up catastrophic in the moment.

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And it likely comes as no surprise to any mom that mealtimes seem to invite disaster. Lunchtime in particular is rife with peril for reasons we may never understand. Maybe the universe simply thinks we need a little excitement in the middle of the day to keep us on our toes.

(Maybe someone should tell the universe we’re all stocked up!)

Lest you feel like you are alone in facing these food-related battles, we asked real-life moms to bravely bare their most horrific lunchtime stories. Hats off to these women for continuing to fight the good fight after such harrowing — although admittedly funny — encounters.

Whoop it up

“The worst disaster I had went down on a day where I actually didn’t pack a lunch. I totally forgot to send my daughter off to school without her pail and ended up having to pick her up to take her out to grab something to eat. Starbucks was the closest thing to school, and of course, she was over the moon to get to go to The Bucks during the middle of the school day. So excited, in fact, I had to ask her several times to not run inside. You can probably guess where this is going… girlfriend picked up her hot chocolate at the counter, started running back to our little corner, slipped and practically did a midair somersault and proceeded to projectile warm, sticky liquid all over the dang place. This chick had whipped cream (or ‘whoop cream,’ as she calls it) in her eyebrows. We sat there in shame as the poor Starbucks employees had to mop up her mess.”  — Dana B.

Milk by any other name

“My husband has on multiple occasions poured creamer for our daughter to take to day care instead of milk, ha-ha.” — Racheal S.

SpaghettiO no!

“One day, I packed my daughter a Tupperware of spaghetti, but I must not have put the lid on tight. My daughter had a habit of swinging her lunchbox around when she was walking with it, so you can guess what happened! There was spaghetti all over the place. Of course, I didn’t know until later that she had been swinging her lunchbox because she blamed the whole thing on me, ha-ha. But we’ve always been very close, and she woke up in the middle of the night feeling guilty and confessed everything.” — Dee G.

Punch probs

“When my son was in the fifth grade, he volunteered me to make punch for a class party because he loved the slushy green party punch I used to make. So I sent the punch, and when I picked up Glen after school, he informed me that the punch just kept getting thicker and thicker. I think the class ended up eating it instead of drinking it. It was then that I realized the problem — I had used green gelatin instead of green Kool-Aid! What a mess! I don’t think I have volunteered to supply the punch for anything since that day.” — Holly H.

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Must love dogs

“Like most kids, our son went through a phase where he was really into pretending like he was a puppy. At home, we’d play along and throw him an imaginary stick to fetch. In hindsight, keeping up this charade probably wasn’t the best idea. One day, we went out to lunch at a new restaurant, which we picked specifically because it was family-friendly. Apparently, we should have made sure it was pet-friendly too, because Josh acted like a puppy the entire time. This wouldn’t have been so bad if he just sat in his seat and barked a few times. But, no. At one point, he crawled under the table next to ours and starting licking the legs of the people sitting there. Mortified doesn’t even cover it.” — Alison R.

A frozen fail

“I haven’t had a lunch disaster with my son yet, luckily… although I’m sure it’s coming. But my mom told me that when she was younger, my Granny would put sodas in the freezer overnight, thinking they would be thawed by lunch. What actually happened, though, was that the sodas would bust in the lunchboxes and make a huge, sticky mess.” — Ashley S.

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The zombie apocalypse is nigh

“I finally gave in and upgraded my four-door sedan to a family-friendly SUV last December. I wasn’t quite ready to let go of my sporty little car, but with a kindergartner and new baby, it was time. I quickly fell in love with my bigger automobile, and was doing everything I could to keep the thing clean — and was doing pretty well until it was time for my older kid’s holiday party at school. I was on beverage duty and made the mistake of throwing a bunch of juice boxes in a bag and loading it into the back of my beloved new car to take over to the school for their lunchtime celebration. Long story short, as soon as I had unbuckled my kid, he jumped over the backseat and started rolling around in the trunk, causing the juice boxes to explode all over him, the carpeted floor, the windows — there was red liquid dripping everywhere. I mean, it looked like an episode of The Walking Dead in the trunk of my new car.” — Sarah L.

Thermos envy

“When my daughter was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. But one day, I bought her a brand-new thermos, and she was so happy because she had never had one. Only we never saw it again after the first day she took it to school. Years later, she admitted that she was so excited about it that she kept pulling it out of her lunchbox for everyone to see. Well, during one of those times, she accidentally dropped it. Back then, the inside of that Thermos-style was glass, which my daughter figured out in one sip at lunchtime. Not wanting me to find out her fancy Thermos was shattered inside, she told me she ‘left’ it at school so she could use it every day.” — Quana G.

The magic carpet

“When we bought our first house, the living room had this hideous brown carpet. It was awful. After a year of living there, we had saved enough to start our renovations, and first on the list was ditching that nasty dark carpet for a light, off-white-colored carpet. The day finally came, the carpet was laid down and I kid you not, that carpet was installed for 45 minutes before my 3-year old decided to grab a glass of grape juice and run into the living room with it. Sure enough, as soon as she hit the new white carpet, she tripped and her glass full of grape juice went flying. All. Over. My. Brand. New. White. Carpet.” — Kenzie M.

Salsa it ain’t so

“Once, I packed my daughter Megan chips and salsa for lunch. Unfortunately, the salsa must have gotten overheated, and it exploded all over her books. She complained for weeks about having to clean the smell out of her locker.” — Brenda B.

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