I wake up every day at 6. From that moment until well after 8pm, our life is go-goo-go. My husband and I work like a well oil machine in the morning. We know each other’s strengths and use them to our advantage to get out the door with the three kiddos and to work on time. He tackles the WWE match that is getting the boys up, dressed and feed. While I sneak some baby snuggles, prep her bottles and get our lunches ready.
As for nights, well those are a different story.
At one second past 4:30, I lock my office door and dash to the parking lot to beat the rush of other employees leaving at 4:30. Downtown turns into a NASCAR test track, as I speed through lights (only green ones I swear) to get to school pickup before the rush of other parents. I discuss diaper rash and biting incidences as I juggle the children, and their arts and crafts while slowly backing towards the door. Everyone buckles up, and my two oldest enjoy a healthy pre-dinner snack on the drive home.
Once home dinner is quickly prepared and served. It is typically comprised of chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cereal or some other simple main course with a veggie and fruit.
And you know what we’re all alive.
When I first had kids, I had this image from my childhood. My mom always made dinner and without fail every night as we set the table my dad would walk in the door. That is what I wanted more than anything for my kids. I wanted that picture perfect family dinner that I had growing up because it was amazing.
With just the one, it was easy. But as we added to our crew, it became increasing difficult to not only keep everyone sane and alive while I cooked, but to also please everyone’s different pallets.
It’s not to say that I gave up, I just realized something had to give. I was working all day and slaving over a meal that would end up on the floor (don’t worry it was never wasted, we have a dog). Time was being wasted on something that wasn’t fulfilling my expectations no matter how hard I tried.
And believe me, I tried.
I tried including the boys in the dinner preparations. We pulled chairs into the kitchen, put aprons on and made dinner together. They loved it. They loved being a part of the experience. Their faces had to hurt from the size of the smiles they had while we prepped dinner.
Yet when it came time to sit down and eat, wouldn’t you know those little humans wanted nothing to do with the meal we had just created together. Jerks.
So I tried involving them earlier. We would scroll through Pinterest and pick out something to make together. We’d make a list, go shopping and get everything we needed. Then we’d make it.
And sure as shit, those two were shocked that I expected them to eat the meal we just slaved over.
I finally realized it wasn’t worth the effort.
I realized it was time to cut the part of my life that wasn’t working. Why was I making it harder for myself?
You know what happened?
The kids ate. I made them Annie’s Mac and Cheese, they ate it. English muffin pizzas/frozen pizza if it’s been a long day, they ate it. Turkey dogs, they eat those too.
Some nights we even have cereal. Fucking Julia Child over here, I know.
I get more time with my kids, my long day at work doesn’t carry over into a long night in the kitchen. I don’t have to be mean mom yelling at the kids to eat. We don’t battle. They eat, they finish and we play.
I gave up making dinner and everyone’s happy.