When You Care Enough to Send Your Child to School Looking Dingy

Where all the lunchboxes are pristine, and the boys all have hip names. Like Asher & Blake.My two sons each posses a monogrammed Pottery Barn Kids lunch box, birthday gifts from their grandparents. The lunch boxes were the perfect grandparent gift--a little fancier than I would have bought, yet useful. They're insulated, light weight and properly devoid of the sort of commercial characters frowned upon by the kids' school. In short, they're perfect.

Rather, they were perfect. That was two and a half years ago. Now the adorable white shark bodies on the sides are dingy at the edges. While I scrubbed them yet again with sudsy detergent and the potato brush, I thought enough alreadyThese are finished

Except it's not really true. That's only pride talking. Keeping my kids looking shiny and clean is something I care about. I'm a wear-perfect-underwear-in-case-you're-in-a-wreck kind of girl. If we show up for violin lessons and one of the boys has dirty fingernails, I die a little inside.

The green me is at war with the perfectionist me. I hate the "disposable culture" and the best part of me doesn't want to throw away a functioning pair of lunch boxes simply to uphold my fussy asthetic. But every time I look at that dinge, it pains me. Perhaps I'll get lucky, and the fabric will finally wear out.

If it does, all that scrubbing may be to blame.