Its Thursday and I am at a crossroads….again.
Its 5pm and I just picked up my daughter from a playdate. My husband is somewhere in Podunk, USA doing whatever he does for work. So I am left to care for his spawn until the weekend. Aside from keeping them out of the ER and somewhat clean, I am also required to feed them and this is where I usually fall short.
We aren’t even buckled into the car when my daughter asks that dreaded question…. “what’s for dinner?” Man, how I hate that question. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Because I have absolutely no idea what to feed them.
When my husband is away, I have no desire to make a full course dinner for just the kids and myself. Not that I have the desire when he is home, but my husband is a foodie and for some reason, fish sticks and fries are not a real meal to him. So when he is home, I try to make more of an effort to provide a well balanced meal for the family. Even then, I suck. I usually remember I never took anything out of the freezer around 4:10pm, then I’m scrambling to find something I can make that cooks quick, which usually means chicken nuggets or pasta.
Now, my husband can take a piece of chicken, a carrot, and a can of soup and the end result is a delicious masterpiece. I can take that same piece of chicken, carrot and can of soup and end up with …well, a pale piece of chicken, overcooked carrots, and an unopened can of soup.
I only have about 4 meals in my repertoire and 3 of them include fries. I find it a culinary achievement when I microwave a bag of frozen vegetables to give my kids during dinner. Most times, I just throw a bowl of grapes or watermelon on the table and consider that a victory. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll cut up a cucumber or a carrot.
It’s not that I completely despise cooking, it’s just that I find it….boring. And it takes too long.
(For all those people who just raised their hand to tell me that I sound incredibly similar to my daughter, you can put your hands down. You’re preaching to the choir)
Chopping things into little pieces, paying attention so things don’t burn, cleaning up the mess….it’s boring and exhausting. Planning and cooking a meal requires a lot of attention and patience….two things I don’t have much of…hell, I won’t even make tuna because it’s a pain to open and drain the can.
In my defense, I am not entirely without skills, but when you are cooking for one kid that eats like a bird and is extremely picky while the other one can’t stay in his chair long enough to finishing chewing, cooking a full dinner can seem fruitless. Oh and did I mention neither of my kids will eat leftovers. Really, there are only so many ways you can cook chicken without using spices, or sauces, or mixed with other foods, before you go insane.
So that is why I am now sitting in my van at 5pm, with two starving kids and absolutely no idea what to feed them. So I decide to pull out the Mommy Wild Card…..McDonalds.
Me: How about we go to McDonald’s?
Liv: Well, I was kind of hoping to have a healthy meal at home, like grilled cheese.
Really? What kid refuses McDonalds. And since when is a butter laden grilled cheese healthy?
Meanwhile the boy is in his seat shouting “boy toy! boy toy! boy toy!” which is more than I can address right now.
Me: Listen, we either go to McDonalds and have chicken nuggets immediately or we go home and have chicken nuggets which will take like 20 minutes. So do you want to eat now or a half an hour from now?
Liv: No. I’m starving! Fine, we can go to McDonalds
She crosses her arms and slumps in her seat while I silently cheer at my victory.
Of course, I do feel slightly bad that I just coerced my daughter into a fat laden dinner when she actually WANTED a healthy meal. She can add that to the list of mommy issues she will be in therapy for when she is 30. Right now, I’m grinning because my kids are fed, there is no mess in my kitchen, and there is less than an hour to bed time.
Score one for Team Mommy!