They aren’t really knee-biters anymore I guess, they are 15 and 10. A girl and a boy and they are always hungry. They are not uncared for, so I really don’t get where the endlessly empty bellies come from. They get a decent if quick breakfast, they are either given money for lunch or a lunch is packed for them. They have an after school snack and dinner and sometimes an evening snack. Yet in spite of this well-fedness, the most common phrase in my house is “do you know what we are having for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack?” It is also one of the most dreaded phrases in my house because although I am a good cook, and every so often I actually feel like doing it, I generally DON’T feel like it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love food. All kinds of food. Healthy, unhealthy, I can find a place for all of it; but I’m tired a lot. It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep I get, I’m tired. I used to think it was because I had some creepy undiagnosed disease, but then one day I sat down and THOUGHT about said day and I realized that I am tired because I am busy. I only work outside the home on a part-time basis because I am a substitute teacher, so if nobody is sick or in need of a mental health day, or if my husband is out-of-town, I don’t work. You’d think that would make me less tired, but it doesn’t, because on those days “off,” I do about four thousand pounds of laundry, vacuum, run kids everywhere, do bills, you get the picture, and make food.
The minute they walk in the door after school, they look at me and ask what we are having for dinner. For some reason, I get a flash of irritation that is immediate, I make a big heavy sigh/grunt and snap, “OMG, (insert kid’s name here) I don’t know, it’s only three o’clock!! You just walked in the door, I just walked in the door!! GIVE ME A FEW MINUTES!!” At this point, I actually either stomp off to some other part of the house, or I continue to mumble and grumble under my breath as I slam cabinet doors trying to find food. It’s not that we don’t HAVE food, we have plenty, we just don’t have anything that can magically prepare itself. You can only subject your family to so many “eat whatever you want nights” before somebody comes down with rickets or scurvy from eating crappily unbalanced meals. Now if we were pirates, that might be just fine, but the school authorities would probably frown and call child services if my previously healthy children got rickety or jaundiced. So I have to find them some vittles.
One problem that we have is that none of us like leftovers. There are a few things we’ll eat leftover, like my cheesy tuna noodle casserole, but most leftovers acquire interesting textures and smells all most right away and we just end up throwing them away, so I try to make just enough food so there ARE no leftovers. We are not slimy texture fans around here, so I can’t have leftover night, which would probably be a nice thing to do.
Another problem that we have is that we are not rich enough to eat out every night. Now THAT would be nice. But alas, we usually only go out one night a week, Wednesday, to kid’s night at Skyline Chili, even though neither of my kids can eat free anymore, it’s a thing we started years ago and we keep doing it. So that night is my favorite as I have to do NOTHING.
My favorite kind of dinners are homemade chili and tacos and breakfast because they are either easy, and/or you put them on early and let them simmer and then when it’s time to eat, you grate a little cheese, and fill up a bowl. You can also put all kinds of things in chili like finely grated carrots so it really IS a complete meal in a bowl. If you are a weirdo, you can make it out of soy chunks. Tried that once. Did I mention we have texture issues?? Yuck.
In conclusion, I have to say, that once my kids are grown and living in their own homes, I will live on things like peanut butter spread on apples, scrambled eggs and toast, mac and cheese and various varieties of veggie/dip trays from Kroger. When I need meat, I’ll go to Longhorn and Wednesday night will forever be Skyline night. For all you health food folk out there, I’ll be taking vitamins and eating lots of raw veg, so I won’t die. All that money NOT spent on food can then be re-directed to books and art supplies where it belongs.
Be kind to one another 🙂