when i was growing up, my mom cooked dinner for us every night. that was the norm. she meal planned, coupon clipped, grocery shopped and cooked -- my dad came home from work at 6 p.m. and we all sat down to eat together. so i have spent 27 years thinking that's what moms do.
annnd now i'm ready to quit. since we got married, i've tried to follow my mom's example. i totally believe in preparing home-cooked meals [as opposed to eating pizza or warmed-up frozen meals every night] AND in eating together as a family every night, and i'd like to continue doing those things. but seriously -- it is hard.
i completely DREAD saturdays when my planner says "plan menu." i loathe combing through recipes week after week after week. i've tried cookbooks, food blogs, allrecipes.com, friend & family recommendations but i feel like i'm starting back at scratch for every meal. finding something both b and i like is difficult -- i prefer salads & don't particularly need to eat meat every meal; b likes comfort food & thinks it's NOT a meal unless there are copious amounts of meat -- and i'm bad at keeping track of which ones succeed.
also, finding time to prepare dinner is tough -- my day is already pretty busy, so i don't have tons of time to research & prep recipes, plus it's universal knowledge that all children turn into demons between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m. so all my cooking time has to fit into a 30 minute episode of mickey mouse clubhouse or i'm screwed. trying to make dinner is hard enough when you don't have THIS guy pulling on your leg:
oh, and did i mention i'm not the best cook? so there's that.
anyway, after devoting more time that i should to planning & preparing a stupid meal, i finally get a semi-well-balanced dinner on the table close to the time b comes home from work and i feel sort of proud of myself -- and then b says he doesn't like it. UGH. [to his credit, he probably likes 3 out of every 5 meals i make...but he dislikes meals so frequently that my mediocre chef pride takes a hit anyway.]
take last night, for example. i made chicken taco salad & quesadillas [we need to eat a lot of salad right now because for some reason i bought a 6-pack of romaine lettuce at costco, seriously what 2-person household needs that much produce?!] and b wouldn't touch the salad. which was mildly offensive to me also because that salad is one of my faves and i literally ate it for lunch every day i was pregnant with jack so it's basically family. i felt like i was living with TWO toddlers.
now i'm starting to think maybe we should just all have separate dinners. i already make two each night, since jack is hungry around 5 and b doesn't get home till after 6. why not just eat with jack and make b fend for himself if he's so picky?
i know a lot of my friends don't meal plan, or they have their husbands cook, or they don't worry so much about dinner. maybe i'm trying too hard to push my mom's round-peg example into my square-hole life and should just give it up. should i make b start cooking his own meals? should we trade off? or is it my motherly duty to just suck it up and meal plan the heck out of the comfort foods i despise?
so...i guess i need help. any tips or suggestions on dealing with dinnertime? seriously. we need it.