Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Dinner" is a Dirty Word

Pain in my butt: it's what's for dinner.

Being a wife and mother has COMPLETELY taken all the enjoyment out of dinner. So much so, in fact, that I'm seriously considering banning it. Quitting dinner all together.

For real.

Some people quit carbs. Others quit meats. Why can't I quit dinner?

Nine days out of ten, all I'd really like to do for evening nourishment is grab a handful of wheat thins (or two), eat a bowl of cereal, pop a bag of popcorn, or scavenge for leftovers in the fridge. But, the world does not revolve around my needs and desires, I put aside my own wishes for the health and well-being of my family. (What? Even if it's McDonald's it's better than starving them, right? Hmmm...jury's out on that one...)

What's more, dinner is a pain in my butt before it is even TIME for dinner. It starts early in the day when, just for a moment, your mind wanders to the future tense. "What am I going to fix for dinner?" This question has plagued my existence since the day I said "I do." I'm 90% sure that I even murmur this in my sleep. In fact, I'm probably thinking about it WHILE I'm eating dinner!

Perhaps this problem is unusually severe for me because I bore so easily when it comes to meals I prepare. I had a friend growing up whose mother assigned a meal each day of the week. (Monday = meatloaf, Tuesday = chicken casserole, Wednesday = Taco night, etc.) The schedule NEVER varied. They even scheduled in a take-out night! I could NEVER do that. I need AT LEAST a few weeks in between repeating menus. (I'm the same way with my's part of my neurosis.)

Additionally, FireDaddy has this odd preference for pork. (I blame his Tennessee and Kentucky roots for that.) I, on the other hand, being a Texan, strongly believe in beef (in all forms) as my "go to" meat. So, on the frequent occasion (I guess I don't learn quickly) that I, once again, ask him for dinner suggestions or preferences, his reply is predictably, "Something other than red meat." At that point I feel like throwing in the towel. You see, he also doesn't really "do" vegetarian dishes. If there isn't a meat, at least in a sauce or concealed in a noodle, it will be noted.

But, really, this is just one third of the problem.

Enter BigGirl. She could live off of chicken nuggets alone. That is ALL she EVER wants anymore. I take that back, on occasion she will request spaghetti (with meatballs or meat sauce).

Now, enter BabyGirl. She, in sharp contrast to her father and sister, is like a pint-sized vegetarian in training. She will eat EVERY vegetable and ANY fruit under the sun...but does NOT like meat. Any meat. With the exception of a chicken nugget or two (under intense parental pressure) and beef enchiladas (my girl), she manages to avoid meats at nearly every meal.

I am, however, determined NOT to raise lifelong picky eaters. I am also determined not to cook separate meals for everyone at the table. So, here's my philosophy:

1. If you come to my table, you will be pleasant.
2. If you want to have dessert or anything other than what is served (i.e. small snack later, etc.), you must eat some of everything on your plate. (Usually it at least one bite per years you are old.)
3. If you don't like what is served, you are not REQUIRED to eat anything. However, you WILL NOT spoil my dinner (which I alone worked to prepare, and I alone will clean up afterwards) by whining, crying, or fighting. You also will not have ANYTHING to eat until the next morning. Period. End of story.

This has been working "OK" for me. I understand I'm dealing with little people and nothing is going to be perfect at first. It takes time.

However, I'm about two seconds away from adding a number four to my list. This one applies to FireDaddy, too.

4. If I am the only one cooking and cleaning, then I am the only one who has input in what's being served. If you want input, you need to get your bootie in the kitchen (or even the grocery store!) and help out.

And, if you don't like it, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND EAT! I will be just fine left alone with my bowl of cereal, thank you very much!

Now that I've said it, I feel a little better. But, then again, dinner is over for the night. We'll see how I feel tomorrow night around 5 o'clock.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite posts. And I'm with you, you either eat what I cook or you fend for yourself. An added challenge for me is that I'm a veggie and Hubby isn't- as in won't touch a veggie. That really leaves very few options, so we tend to eat the same thing over & over again, LOL.


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