I feel the dread rise up every day at around 3PM. Dinner time is coming. Before I became a mom I thought my family’s evening meal would look like one of those Hamburger Helper commercials.
10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst
1. You have to make it. This sounds easy to enough but considering that 5PM is when children are all on the brink of hunger-fueled insanity and exhausted, this is next to impossible. Small children and babies want to be held while you throw lasagna into a 400 degree oven. Older kids beg for snacks and swipe ingredients when you’re not looking. There will always be someone crying at your feet or tripping you with their body while lying like a starfish in the middle of the kitchen.
2. My husband comes back from work tired and needing a moment to himself before jumping into home life. I get it, I truly do, but that “moment” needs to hurry up and be over because I can’t wrangle children and cook at the same time.
3. I never know what to make. How many times can I make spaghetti or cook chicken breasts? I want to try new recipes but straying from the same old meals increases the risk of rejection so no.
4. By the time dinner is actually done my children’s hunger has morphed into anger that they’re being required to eat. They no longer know how to put food into their mouths unless I keep barking orders throughout the meal.
5. Then comes the nitpicking. “This is too hot.” “I don’t like these spices.” “What is this?” What is this? It’s called rice. Remember, those small white grains that you loved last week? Oh and those “spices” are butter and salt. Your food is too hot? Have you considered blowing or waiting? No? Too hard?
6. I can’t sit down and just eat. I have to jump up every 5-6 seconds getting something for someone. A different fork. A smaller spoon for said rice. More water. Who spilled their milk? Another napkin. I’m not sure why I even make a plate for myself. It’d be smarter to just eat over the garbage disposal, shoveling food into my face, when the meal is done.
7. Dinner takes forever. I always find myself sitting alone with the child who is eating the slowest and probably hoping I’ll just say, “Ok, screw it” and throw their food in the trash. I’m not a mom anymore, I’m a probation officer and my job is to supervise you until you stop stalling and take those last five bites.
8. “What’s for dessert?” “How many bites?” “I dropped’ my food!” By dropped do you mean conveniently let your broccoli fall to the floor? No worries, I have more. Dessert? Dessert is the fruit in your lunchbox that you didn’t eat. As for how many bites, I’ll let you know when you’re done.
9. Poop. Why does someone always have to poop during dinner? And why does that someone always need me to help them?
10. The dreaded “I’m hungry” that a child has the nerve to say 5 minutes before bedtime. You can ignore it and send them to bed knowing that they’ll probably wake up at 4:00 begging for sustenance or give in and hand them a string cheese. Neither one will make you feel good about yourself.
Cooking for a family with young kids is a pretty thankless job. I do it because they need to eat and I want them to be somewhat healthy. That said, I’m losing my mind. If you need me, I’ll be drinking wine in the kitchen.