Recently, Courtney went out of town for a business trip and I took over family management in her absence. Keeping the kids on schedule and tidying the house fell to me. Smugly, I looked forward to an easy week of fun times with the kids, evening bike rides, and maybe even an after work beer with friends!
Of all the household management responsibilities, dinner planning was the big surprise. It started off pretty good.
Day 1: I grilled Italian sausages, with a side of steamed broccoli and carrot sticks.
Day 2: Beer can chicken with wild rice and salad. (I sent a picture of this to Courtney and even posted it to Facebook. I was proud.)
Day 3: Nachos, fresh celery sticks and slider hamburgers for those who don’t like nachos.
Day 4: Spaghetti with leftover sausages, and leftover salad.
Day 5: Something with leftover chicken…
Day 6: Forgot to defrost something, so I served pizza topped with nacho scraps.
Day 7: Once my eyes opened in the morning, my mind was focused on what to make for dinner that night…
Roaming the aisles looking for food ideas, reaching for anything with a “Sale” sticker, shaking my head with a groan, “Already made… the boys won’t eat… the girls won’t eat… too much sodium”… I had become a Grocery Store Zombie.
The task of planning meals, cooking and cleaning up consumed my waking hours! Day after day, relentlessly, like ravenous little raptors in the nest, my kids demanded food! Unlike dirty laundry quietly resting in a pile on the closet floor, each of them would ask “What’s for dinner?” then moan with disapproval when the answer was not “pizza.”
During the week, after working an 8 hour workday and fighting traffic, I was dumbfounded by the demands of mustering up the energy to create something healthy and appealing to the taste buds of five different people. Complicating things further was our grocery budget and my aversion to processed high-sodium “convenience” foods!
Day 8 broke me. “There’s cereal and toast!” I screamed, “You’re on your own!” All day the kids hunted for meal remnants scattered around the fridge drawers as I hid under the pile of laundry in my room. When Courtney returned that evening, everyone begged her to make their favorite dinners. With newfound respect for her meal planning expertise, I’ll work harder to shoulder this burden.
Clearly, I need to go out of town more often.
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