The mantra that comes with every daycare pickup gets annoying. Sometimes its because I don’t honestly know what to make, but other times, it’s just because I don’t want to get into it, especially if I chose to make something that they may not be super excited about. Each drive home, I get the “I want pizza” or “what are we having for dinner?” or “can I have a snack?” over and over again that I have to shout for them to be quiet. Or turn up the music loud and ignore them. Yes, I ignore my children.
The even worse part about it is when my husband gets into it. The text message about what’s for dinner makes me want to tear my hair out because I am now getting it from all angles. Since I don’t get home until close to 5 with the kids each day, we have discovered that we have to take out something before we leave for work so it defrosts throughout the day. And if we forget, well then, mommy asks what’s for dinner as well because I definitely don’t have time to wait for something to defrost before the natives get restless. Or more restless than they were when I picked them up, which does seem impossible at times.
Although I hate to admit it, I’d rather clean than cook. My husband and I made decisions when we first moved in together to divide and conquer housekeeping tasks. We would each do our own laundry; this would be helpful since I definitely don’t have half as much laundry as he does (men are typically dirtier and sweatier than women). If one person made dinner, the other would do the clean up. And when we moved into our house from our apartment, we decided that he would take care of outside tasks and I would take care of inside tasks. This boded well when we had a lot of snow (he had to shovel it all) and when I was pregnant (because I couldn’t be around cleansers with their powerful smells, he had to do both inside and outside). Maybe I hated cooking because it forced me to think about how much I hated deciding on dinner. Cleaning does give me a certain satisfaction that cooking never did. I love baking. Cooking, however, left something to be desired for me.
In addition to my hateful feelings towards this, it doesn’t help that since I get home before my husband, it means I have to take care of dinner just about every night. We used to give the kids leftovers from the night before and then we’d have our nice, relaxing dinner after they went to bed. This made it so easy. I could give my kids hot dogs or cut up cold chicken or cheese sandwiches even, and then save the savory dinner for my husband and I. (By savory, I mean hot chicken or pasta.) Now that they are older, we thought it would be important to have sit down dinners with everyone, so we’ve been making sure to have dinner together (well, usually the three of us because my husband doesn’t get home until after we’ve finished eating). Which poses my issues with dinner again.
Sometimes I am smart enough and pre-make dinners. I cook three or four meat loafs and then freeze them fully cooked so all I have to do it defrost and then reheat in microwave. Or I try a new crockpot recipe that ends up being awesome (chicken chili that you don’t have to precook the chicken – BONUS!) But most nights, the question of “what’s for dinner?” ends with me shouting, “I DON’T KNOW!!!” And just when I thought my dinner woes couldn’t get any worse, I started getting it from my youngest’s teachers, too, except about lunch. “Maybe your child would like variety in their lunches” was gently suggested to me on a few occasions. Yes, I will make a gourmet lunch for my children when I have time to make omelets for breakfast and take bubble baths. Get serious. I barely have enough time to check my clothes for boogers and make myself a cup of coffee to take the edge of lack of sleep.
The struggle is real. I will most likely never know what to make for dinner. So I’ll try to get a healthy, variety filled diet in my household. But if mac and cheese and frozen pizza make their way into our dinner rotation more often than I would’ve originally wanted, I won’t feel bad. As long as we’re fed and happy, that’s all I can do.