In my last blog, I boasted that I’d nailed it with my awesome salmon factory that yielded many healthy dinners for my family.
I’ve fallen from grace. Big time. I let my kids eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese last night for dinner. And I’ll be honest. It was one of the most peaceful family dinners I’ve had since bringing home my firstborn four years ago.
Since that day, I have found dinner-planning to be one of the most angst-ridden aspects of working parenthood. I know my stay-at-home mamas feel my pain, too. It’s not hard to put the food on the table. It’s making sure that it’s healthy and well-balanced.
The only way to do this is to plan ahead. In a perfect world, it works like so:
Saturday: Think of meals for each night of the upcoming week.
Sunday: Go grocery shopping.
Sunday afternoon: Cook a big Sunday dinner that yields leftovers for Monday. Prepare main dishes for the rest of the week so my husband can easily get them ready throughout the week after he gets home from work each evening.
The problem with this plan is reality. Sometimes, after a weekend of nonstop playing with my kids, my husband and I are too exhausted to plan, shop, prepare, cook and get a head start on our dinners for the week.
This is what happened last night. My Type A personality took a break for the night and my Type B side took over.
Of course I did the responsible thing and bought the new super duper 100% Angus beef, no-nitrate, no-filler hot dogs that you actually have to eat within seven days of opening the package – not seven years. (I’m not saying it’s a super food, but it is pretty awesome. Certainly better than the hot dogs I ate as a kid.)
I couldn’t find a macaroni equivalent to the super duper franks, so I went old school with the shells from a box — the kind that comes with the foil pouch filled with a fluorescent orange gelatinous wad of gluey cheese-like product. Oh well.
My kids’ plates also had stacks of cucumbers with ranch dressing, grapes and raisins, which they ate. So, at least I mixed a little good in with the bad.
My Type B side even let the kids eat dinner at the coffee table so they could watch Aristocats on DVD.
For 15 minutes, all I heard was the sound of French-talking cats and my kids’ smacking. It was Heaven on earth as far as this mommy’s concerned.
Now all I have to do is figure out what the heck we’re going to eat for dinner the rest of this week. Since we have to eat those hot dogs within seven days, I’m thinking leftovers might be the way to go.
Melanie Medina is a Senior Communications Specialist at Texas Health Resources.