Hi, I’m Leah, and I’ve been cooking dinner for my family since 2010. (I would say since I got married, but I really upped the ante after having children.) So that means I am about five years in, and I have a minimum of 17 to go… and let me tell you how I’m feeling about it: UGGGGGHHHH!
How do people do this day in and day out for 25+ years? I understand a wave of motivation here and there for a year or two, but every day for decades??? Holy mackerel, Batman!
I remember when I first started meal planning. It was sometime after #2 was born in the year 2012. I was approximately 27 years old. I remember I wrote out my meals on my calendar, went to the store and bought all the groceries for the week in one, long, boring, exhausting grocery trip. I cooked each and every meal the first week. And when I was done, I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “LOOK WHAT I DID! I AM SO GROWN UP! I COOKED DINNER EVERY NIGHT THIS WEEK! #WHEREISMYPATONTHEBACK? #SOMEONENOTICETHEMIRACLEHERE!” Clearly, I felt I needed some recognition. (Clue #1 that college maaaaybe didn’t prepare me for real life.)
I’m sure Matt was very thankful, and no doubt a happy husband, but this accomplishment for me, was like… making the deans list, winning a tournament, closing a real estate deal. It took planning, discipline, maturity, and work… I was flexing a muscle I had never used before. My cooking muscle. And while of course I appreciated the intrinsic value of no longer dealing with anxiety over deciding what was for dinner, the whole thing was kind of a letdown. And the week passed, and there was no mom of the year trophy, and then… they were hungry again.
(Lest you get the wrong impression of Matt, he is the kind of man who cleans the kitchen, vacuums, changes diapers and enjoys taking care of the kids, but if I outsourced dinner planning to him, we would eat spaghetti or grilled sausage at 9 PM every night. We are a team, and it just makes more sense for meal-making to be my territory.)
Chicken, beef, pork, fish, or veggies? Mexican, Asian, Italian, or American… or French? I make combos out of these options over and over and over again and again and again. I keep wondering if anyone is ever going to get tired of eating. Don’t even get me started on lunch! I’m about ready to buy a Costco-sized box of Uncrustables and call it a day.
And where would I be without tacos? I bet we have tacos like… three nights a week. Fish, shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, veggies… They can all be wrapped in a tortilla and served with cheese and guacamole. I’d like to find the inventor of tortillas and thank him or her personally. But there’s someone else I should thank.
MOM, THANK YOU. You made dinner happen 5+ nights a week for like millions of years. Week in and week out, you went to the grocery store and bought the same.boring.groceries. Milk. Bread.Turkey. BLAH. And I had the audacity to complain if you, Heaven forbid, made a meatloaf here and there just to change it up. I have passed over to the other side, and now I can appreciate your hard work… Here’s to you and all the other moms out there who are making dinner happen.