Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Worst Time of Day. Everyday.

I didn't learn how to make pasta until my senior year in college.  And the first time I did, I was absolutely petrified to use the burner.

That's how much I know about cooking.  

This has never really posed a problem.  As a student, I used the dining halls, and became an expert in take out food.  As a young lawyer, I worked late and ordered in most nights (on the client's dime, of course).   On the weekends, I dined out and became a self proclaimed "foodie" (whatever that means).    And, lucky for me, my husband loves to cook.  I was always happy to encourage him. 

Then I had kids, and I breastfed them for the first 6 months of life, and that was all well and good. And then something happened that I never anticipated.  

They had to be fed.  Food, that is.  

Every.  Single.  Day.  Three.  Times.  A.  Day.  

This is literally - for me - the worst part of parenting.  I suppose it's a bit like working for the U.S. Postal Service.  Or being a toll booth collector.  Or working at a laundromat.   Because the work never ends.  Just when you are done with one meal, and you feel the slightest bit of satisfaction, it's ready for the next meal.  And then the next, and the next, and the next.  YOU ARE NEVER DONE. IT GOES ON FOREVER AND EVER.  

I hate every second of preparing, serving, and cleaning up after meals.  

Breakfast is the easiest one, specifically because my husband usually does it.  And even when I do it, it's straightforward - fruit, drink, and waffle, toast sticks, or muffin.  DONE.  Lunch also isn't particularly painful, because we pack lunch for the older two.  While this sucks in the morning, at least it's all done.  And making lunch for my youngest is easy enough - cream cheese sandwich, cold mac and cheese, fruit, applesauce, veggie chips.  DONE.  

But dinner.  My God, dinner.  

I start dreading dinner around 3:30, when my two older kids are home and start begging for snacks. When I say begging, I don't mean just asking, I mean I am going to die of hunger if you don't feed me now.  Okay, thanks for that snack, now I need another.  NOW!  NOW!  NOW!!!!!  ME HUNGRY!!!!!!!

They hit me at my most vulnerable.  First, by 3:30 I am exhausted and done with the day (even though the day is not even close to being done).  Second, as I have been since the day they have been born, I am always worried that my kids don't have enough nourishment.  The idea that they may be thirsty or hungry (or too hot or cold, but that's a topic for another day), is too much for me to handle.  It was my first responsibility as a mother, and I haven't been able to let it go.   So the second I hear they they are starving (in their words), I can't say no.  I'm practically shoving the food down their throats.  Which is an excellent thing to do right before dinner, don't you think?   

I prepare snacks from 3:30-4:30, and then I go right into dinner.  I never have a plan.  Ever.  I open the fridge and just stare for a few minutes.  I make a mental note of things that we should have purchased at the grocery store, yet I never write it down, so the cycle of dearth continues.  

My two older kids are the pickiest eaters ever, and they just happen to not like anything the other likes.  Hence, I make multiple dinners EVERY FREAKING NIGHT.  Casey likes chicken nuggets, Braden hates them.  Braden likes chicken soup, Casey gags on it.  Braden likes mac and cheese, Casey likes pasta with butter.  Casey likes hot dogs, and won't touch scrambled eggs - Braden, vice versa.  I could go on.  But the bottom line is I make a smorgasbord of frozen food in the hopes that someone will eat something.  Colin, the baby, gets a little bit of everything, which means he rarely eats anything, probably because he is so overwhelmed by the plethora of choices that he figures he will just stick to cheerios.  

By 5:30 I have the items plated.  I do a loud announcement of "Dinner's Ready!" and think of myself fondly as a throwback to a 19th century mom on a farm ringing a dinner bell.  For a brief moment I am happy and satisfied.  

Then my kids sit down and immediately start complaining.  One food item is touching another, one person has more than the other, or it's not the right temperature, it's not the right shape, it's not the right color.  They each have about 3 bites (because of course, they're full from their snacks), and then start demanding dessert.  I reply that they can't have dessert until they finish their dinner.  This conversation continues for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, Colin is throwing his dinner on the floor. Most of it hits our dog (who is waiting eagerly).  Hence, after each meal I have to get a wet washcloth to wash the dog down (it's not pretty to have mac and cheese caked into her thick fur).  

I should mention that at this point, I have only made dinner for the kids.  I still have to feed myself, and my husband, at some point.  But there's no time.  Because I have to clean up the kids, clean up the dishes, and clean up the dog (see above).  By the time I'm done with that, and put the kids to bed, it's 8pm.  And then it's time to start it all again, because my husband and I still have to eat.  By the time we're done eating, it's 9pm and i feel like I have been preparing food for 6 hours.  And really, I kind of have.

Making multiple dinners a night blows.  

I've thought about ways to make this easier.  Make one big meal for everyone, and just have the kids suck it up?  Tried it, huge fail.  The kids won't touch it, and my husband ends up working late anyway.  So it's a huge amount of effort just for a meal for myself.  Not worth it.  

Do some meal/grocery delivery service like Blue Apron?  Naaaaah.  From what I understand, with blue apron, you STILL HAVE TO COOK.  What's the benefit in that?  

Eat out?  Yes, this works.  And actually, I love this option!  But it gets expensive, and we can only swing it when my husband can get out of work early (me solo + 3 kids isn't going to happen).  

Last week, I may have found a solution.  For part of my woes, at least.  

Meet Galley Foods.

A few weeks ago, they contacted me asking if they could send me some free food, and if I could write a review.  I hadn't heard of them, but they described themselves as a "meal delivery service that . . . . provide[s] another option for easy meals that moms can be proud of serving instead of Chinese takeout, having to cook themselves, etc."


After I said yes (and gave them all of my contact information), I realized this could be a huge scam and/or plot to murder and pillage my family.  A bit of research revealed that thankfully, they were legit.  In fact, the company was just recently started by a couple of former Living Social execs who branched off to start a new venture because they "'both had the same problem, which was that [they] didn't have an alternative to get a convenient, well rounded meal on any given day.'"

You're preaching to the choir.

On the night they were set to deliver to us, I still prepared dinner for the kids (a la above), because I didn't know what exactly we would get, and in any event, my kids are so picky that the likelihood of them eating whatever it was was slim to none.

But still, I faced the dinner rush with an alarmingly positive attitude.  Because even if I had to cook food for the kids and endure their verbal, and at times, physical abuse, a meal was coming for me! One that I didn't have to prepare!

They came around 7pm, and they brought the following:

I was intrigued (and hungry), but I wanted peace.  So I put the kids to bed and then my husband and I tackled our meals.  And honestly (really, honestly, I'm getting nothing for saying this), they were AMAZING.

According to the instructions, we heated them in the oven for around 15 minutes, and then we ate. It was incredible - for two reasons:  1) Because I had to do nothing but put it in the oven for 10 minutes and it came out like a home cooked meal and  2) Because it tasted better than anything I could ever make, ever.

I mean, look how happy I am:

The meals are 500-600 calories, there are three choices each day, and they all cost around $12-$14.  That's way healthier, and cheaper, than your local Papa Johns Dominoes Pizza Hut take out place.

That's the good news.  The bad news is that Galley Foods is only available in a very limited area - in downtown DC.  Hence, even though I'm out of their delivery area, they made an exception so that I would be able to sample the food (and review it here).

So here I am, reviewing it, in quaint little Bethesda, and I can't even partake in it anymore.  WTF.

A la Seinfeld, I have thought about driving into the district and waiting for them to deliver it to me at a main cross fair.  Instead, I've realized I can have my husband order from them from his office (in downtown DC) and just bring it home.

But if you are like me, and are a bit out of the service area, you can still sign up with your email and zip code, and if there's enough demand, they will expand.  (Pretty please).

Until then, I journey on....


Like this post?  Like me on Facebook by clicking here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright ©2011 Small Bird Studios| All Rights Reserved |Free Blog Templates at Small Bird Studios