I’ve been thinking about what to cook for dinner every night for over 10 years now.
I had an epiphany about meal planning back when my first daughter was a baby and sort of steeled myself for my new reality as The Mom and by default, The Cooker And Planner Of Everything.
I would give my kids cereal every night if I didn’t self shame myself for serving them that kind of dinner. I feel bad enough serving it to them for breakfast.
Meal planning has become increasingly more frustrating since I decided to start paying attention to ingredient lists.
I do not want my kids eating loads of sugar, MSGs, hormones, preservatives or even gluten to be quite honest.
So I cook more from scratch, make substitutions, got rid of the Fruit Loops and Cheetos, and REALLY concentrate on doing better.
But what difference does it make if we don’t have Fruit Loops when I’m still putting JAM on my kids sandwiches? Is it still “cooking from scratch” if the treat I’m preparing is a giant tray of Rice Krispy Treats?
I make wonderful, filling, grass fed, free roaming, non hormonal hamburgers for my kids but they’re sandwiched between slabs of enriched white bread and painted with giant smiley faces from the same ketchup bottle they use to dip their French fries in. FRENCH FRIES. KETCHUP.
If they finish their dinner, the kids are rewarded with an ice cream treat. I’m congratulating my kids for filling their bellies with healthy food and then I’m rewarding them with unhealthy food. That is so messed up!
I get frustrated enough just trying to come up with a meal that will please all the humans in this house, but now that I’ve added “should also be healthy” to that chore I sometimes want to hide under a pile of dirty laundry and avoid meals at all costs. I won’t even mention the evenings I do everything I can to put together a healthy meal and then my kids don’t actually eat it. All that planning and prepping and thinking…for nothing.
And I’ll be honest, we still have loads of regular store bought crackers, cream cheese, syrup, Hershey Kisses, Jolly Ranchers and pre-packaged lunch meat in the house. Even my best efforts are not all that great. I’m constantly sabotaging my own self and I’m incredibly hypocritical (yes to cream cheese! No to Kraft singles!).
I miss the days when “healthy” meant adding a can of green beans to dinner.
My conscience no longer allows me to serve canned vegetables to my children. I haven’t decided what to replace that with, so they don’t eat vegetables anymore.
I’m not sure I’m doing this right.
I’m tired of cooking. I can sometimes put together a decent looking menu for the week, but God forbid I feel too exhausted to prep and cook it al. one day…what do I do then?
I have some friends who are great resources for me, but sometimes it feels like information overload. The other day the three of us drove passed a Subway and one of them mentioned how long it had been since she’d eaten that food. My other friend was all, “if you can even CALL it food…” and then the first friend nodded in agreement. And I sat there thinking, Crap! That’s where we go when I’m too exhausted and tired to prep and cook dinner!
There’s so much to learn and keep track of, and you know what? More than anything I’m just really angry that it has become this freaking difficult to find food in a grocery store that is good for my family to eat. I’m mad that I have to become some sort of detective mom ninja who can translate a list of tricky ingredients that cause cancer, infertility, early menstrual cycles and cancer in lab rats.
I am so thankful for online recipes and resources, but I DON’T WANT TO THINK THIS HARD.
Imagine the mess I’d be in if we had a serious food allergy in this household. I would give up. Just…apple slices and carrot sticks, that’s what you guys are eating now forever. I quit cooking.