So here we are, school is out, the lazy days of summer are upon us and my kids think they have scored it big: they have a personal chef, a maid and a chauffeur. It’s summer time and the living is easy with no homework, no remembering which letter day it is and expecting ice cream for lunch every day. We are only 3 days into summer vacation and I’m already exhausted by the volume of sandwich making! Actually, I’m more exhausted by the volume (watch for the pun) of the whining for sandwiches.

I have been beyond lucky to spend every summer with my kids since they were born. I get what a luxury that is. But I feel like I spend most of my day in the kitchen making snacks and meals, and then cleaning up after all the snacks and the meals. I’ve let the kids help me before and it takes twice as long and actually elicits more whining, “Like, peanut butter and jelly is just so harrrrrd!” I don’t mind feeding my kids. It’s just I can do without all the whining about how I make their food. And if you’re playing along at home right now, feel free to take a shot of whatever you have within reach each time I mention the words “whining” or “sandwich.”

It’s only day 3 and I am ready to break from all the whining! {Shot!} Until I had the spectacular idea that everyone is going to make their own damned sandwiches for dinner. It’s a classic sandwich bar concept most commonly found at social gatherings, parties and picnics. Why not make it feel like a party on a Monday night?

I mean just look at this amazing selection of ham and cheese!

There’s even lettuce to give the illusion of vegetables!

If you’re gonna go full sandwich bar you’ve gotta include the chips! (Potatoes are vegetables too).

Unfortunately, dad ate all the pickles the day before so that left the party feeling a little flat. But that’s OK we’ll be sure to include even more pickles next time!

Also, I served our sandwiches on real plates to show I put a little effort into dinner.

I was so delighted to throw it all on the table and proclaim, “Tonight dear family, you can make your own damned sammiches! Mom is taking a break!” After they accepted this offering, I had a moment of sheer brilliance. I realize I could make an entire week of DIY dinners!! But wait. . . Could I actually get away with filling our entire summer with DIY demands?

Want a drink of water? Do It Yourself!

Want a snack? Do It Yourself!

Want a Popsicle? Do It Yourself!

Want a sandwich? Do It Yourself!! (Yes, you can! I just watched you make one!).

Want a band aid for that microscopic/non-existent scratch? Do It Yourself!

Overall, my kids are good kids. And like most kids they just need constant reminders that they can and they will do things for themselves (including serving themselves).  I’m sure your kids (and maybe your husband) are little like mine. So gather round moms and practice saying it with me, “Do It YOURSELF!!”


** BONUS PRINTABLE  Sample SummerDIYDinner Menu

Here are some of my kids favorite things you can get on Amazon:


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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49 Comments on Moms to Kids Everywhere: Make Your Own Damned Sammiches!

  1. I, on the other hand, thoroughly mind feeding my kids. I say all the time that I’d consider keeping them 😀 if I didn’t have to look at the kitchen even once! They do love helping with lunch, so I’ve decided it’s a fair trade off to hand over a butter knife to the first that asks, and then wipe peanut butter off of the cabinets later.

  2. Oh goodness, I do remember the frustration of serving meals when they were young. My kids are all grown now with the youngest being 19 years old. I feel for you!

    • I am going to guess you didn’t have tandem complainers. I love giving my kids attn and interacting. I know I won’t miss all the complaining about not liking everything. ????

  3. Totally awesome idea to keep the kids happy and entertained during dinner. I think it’s nice to put up dinner ideas where the kids will make their own food. It’s fun and the kids will learn from it!

  4. You made a great sandwich bar and kids can learn to do things we are just too nice and coddle our kids. I am sure you rarely let your kids fend for themselves.

  5. I grew up where lunch was eaten at 12 but you were on your own for providing it. You could make almost anything you wanted with mom’s supervision. I think it’s a great way for kids to learn!

  6. That is actually a great idea! Makes them feel helpful and less work for you (kinds lol) I might have to do this at my house here soon. My daughter is only 4 but she likes to help out in the kitchen.

    • My kids have always been a part of the kitchen with me. I am not ready for stove top cooking despite their constant asking. But sandwiches, I’ll happily allow their taking over! lol

    • My kids have always been in the kitchen with me. They make their own sandwiches easily, but this night I was tired of the pickiness and threw the white flag on dinner.

  7. this is so cute, how adorable that they are making their own sandwiches and i think it is an important thing. what a great idea.

  8. It’s important to start teaching your kids to fix food for themselves as early as possible. You don’t need to be their slaves. My mom taught us how to cook and clean from a very early age which I appreciated as I got older.

    • Same here. It was a nag when I was a teen, but when I got to college and I was the only one that knew how to do laundry I appreciated it so much!

    • My kids are great at cleaning and helping out, so I am grateful for that. But they are super picky eaters and making them make their own dinner is how I cope with that!

  9. I think this is definitely a brilliant idea! The make your own damned sammiches or do it yourself concept can teach them to not depend on you all the time.

  10. My kids are not yet old enough to do things themselves. I have a feeling my independent boys will be doing all sorts of things without asking!

  11. I need to email this to my husband, lol! I still make his every single day. My son is only three so he can get away with it. My hubby however, he needs to learn. Lol! He swears I just make them better 🙂

  12. It’s SO important to get kids involved in this kind of stuff – it’s part of running a house! And it makes them appreciate their parents a lot more.

  13. Hah I love the title of your post! I have three kids so I fully agree! This sandwich looks really delciocius too!

  14. This is one thing I ACTUALLY love. Making my kids lunches or dinners, or snacks. Sometimes though its nice to let them just do their own thing and get them to make their own sandwiches/toast. Its great for independence too!

    • I honestly would love it so much more if they didn’t complain so much. They are super picky eaters and won’t always eat what I make. At one time I had snazzy sandwich shape skills, now I’m not making you a Mickey Mouse sandwich to hear you cry you wanted the “Other Mickey cutter.” lol

  15. I’ve had my kids ask me to do things for them…usually when I’m right in the middle of doing something else. Now that they’re growing up, they’ve become much more independent. I love it and am so proud of them!

  16. Gives me a chuckle inside,and you are totally right. Just do it yourself. I can’t wait, mine are too little now, but give it time. He’s already ready to make popcorn, just needs help with the steps and next summer I’ll be having my sandwiches made for me

  17. heheheh…sammmiches!!! So cute! I too am now on the way to make my child self dependent. It’ll be so beneficial in the long run. You doing right!

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