An Open Letter to the Crusts I Just Cut Off My Child’s Toast

Lose The Cape | Parenthood


Dear Crusts:
There’s nothing I like about you. There you rest, you castoffs, downgrading the look of my kitchen counter. Before I toss you in the trash, you stare at me and you judge. This is true: my own mother cut off no crusts. She even had me believing that the crusts were more nutritious. Only the tackiest, most reckless children insist that you crusts be cut off. These were the same kids who spent the 1980s with chronic Kool-Aid mustaches and had narrow shoulders lacking healthy color.
Crusts, do you know what sides accompanied those regrettable crustless sandwiches when I was growing up? Probably every kind of junk food imaginable. Cupcakes wrapped in plastic and snacks that would dye a child’s tongue blue. And bright red. At the same time. Foods with ingredient lists that read: sugar, starch, filler, and filler for the filler. Bread without crusts is a gateway drug.
That’s right, foolish crusts. Only God’s most backward children make the vain, nature-defying request to cut you from their sandwiches. So what does this mean? I have just cut you off my daughter’s breakfast toast. This is not the first time I have done this. In fact, my 10-year-old has the expectation that I will do this every time. I’m pretty sure this is not how this is supposed to go. I’m supposed to have her waking herself up and implementing a healthy before-school routine that includes a little kickoff meditation, a gentle face wash, dressing in the prim ironed clothes laid out the night before, and making her own nutritious balanced breakfast.
Instead, crusts, I have cut you off my child’s toast, and after this I’m going to spread butter on the toast for her, and she’s going to sit at our bar stools and ask for more stuff: orange juice, a pencil. Are you wondering why she’s asking for a pencil? That would be because she’s finishing last night’s homework this morning.
Useless crusts, just sitting there, staring. You don’t even taste that good, so I’m not tempted to take a nibble. You realize that the twenty pounds I’ve gained since becoming a mother is due to the extra calories I have gotten from a decade and a half’s worth of chicken nugget pieces and strawberries and cookie chunks that make their way from abandoned kid plates to my mouth?
We moms are all just trying to make it through the day, so don’t be so judgy, you crusts. Plus the fact that every mom I know breaks some of the rules makes me think about my mom and her pristine crusted-bread ways. Growing up, I thought my mom Had It All Together. She was savvy and well-liked and we were never late for anything, ever. But now I’m realizing that she probably broke rules too. Odds are good that she winced and then chuckled when she shared the bogus news that crusts are the most nutritious part of the bread (that’s bogus…right?). She was winging it sometimes, like all moms did then and all moms do now and moms will always do.
Goodbye, today’s crusts. Easy come, easy go. There will be another set of you tomorrow. For now I’m going to celebrate that my child ate breakfast and that at least 80% of that math worksheet was finished, and no one showed up at the elementary school drop-off without shoes. I win, crusts.


Rachel Stewart Johnson is a freelance writer and mother of three based in San Diego County. Her writing has appeared recently in Thrive Global, Thought Catalog, elephant journal and Gravel Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at and check out her blog at .