Nothing…It’s What’s For Dinner

Posted Jan 24 2018, 7:00 am in , , ,

Switching gears this week away from writing and back to that other thing I do during the day…mothering. Being a mother has so many delicate layers I couldn’t possibly begin to peal them all back. But one layer I’d like to touch on today is the providing-food-for-your-children layer. Specifically…dinner. 

Dinner is supposed to be a time when your loving family comes together to share a home-cooked meal and commiserate about their day. A time to unplug. A time to…oh who am I kidding? This scenario has never been the case for my family. I don’t recall it being the case when I was kid either. My family did gather around the table but we had a television in the kitchen that was always on and, during our meal, my sister and I would have to take turns getting up and changing the channel for my dad. So my dinner idea is a little skewed. It also doesn’t help that I’ve never been great at cooking. All of which leads me to dinner anxiety!

The first thing I think when I wake up: What are we going to eat for dinner?!

My husband and I made a grave mistake as parents. We gave our children entirely too much control over dinner. We accommodated them to no end and feared our precious angel babies would starve if we didn’t offer them something besides steamed vegetables and lean proteins. We’d serve them dinner, they’d turn their (very cute) noses up, and we’d promptly offer them another healthy option macaroni and cheese. We created dinner monsters! And dinner became my kryptonite.

Now that my children are teenagers, it’s gotten even harder. They have sports practices and study groups and homework and fundraisers at fast food restaurants. So I not only don’t know what to cook for dinner, I don’t know when to cook dinner.

Allow me give you a glimpse into my life. A text exchange:

Me: Are you eating dinner at home tonight?

Teen 1: dunno

Teen 2: maybe

Me: If so, what would you like to eat?

Teen 1: eh

Teen 2: don’t care

Me: Any suggestions would be helpful.

Teen 1: whatever

Teen 2: don’t care

We order out a lot.

Some days, though, I watch the The Pioneer Woman or Rachel Ray and get inspired and think, “Yes, I can cook for my family.” So I go to the store and buy ingredients like Turmeric and parmesean rind and chard and make a meal. Guaranteed this is the night I turn from the oven with cute oven mitts on my hands holding a steaming casserole dish, and my daughters come in and say, in no particular order:

“I’m off to watch a soccer game. By the way, I’m taking the dog with me.”

“I’m leaving. My practice got moved up.”

“It smells gross in here.”

And the nights when the kitchen is dark, the cute oven mitts are in a drawer, and I’m sipping wine, the teens come in and say, “What’s for dinner?” and I say, “Nothing.” and they say, in no particular order:

“We never have any food!”

“I’m starving!”

“So and So’s mom always cooks dinner!”

And the vicious circle starts again.

Soon enough, though, both girls will be off at college and this problem will no longer exist. In its place, a new problem will arise: missing the problem of what to cook my daughters for dinner.

What’s on your dinner table tonight?

And the life journey continues…




8 responses to “Nothing…It’s What’s For Dinner”

  1. Margo says:

    aw, that was amazing,, made me laugh and also teary

  2. Deb Linley says:

    My sister has pretty much run a diner in her kitchen for the last 25 years! All three of her kids were picky eaters her husband came home late for dinner and didn’t like what they liked and she was always watching her weight! It made for 3 to 4 entrées per evening/fast food/leftovers/And now they bring their girlfriends and she’s still at it! LOL it never ends

  3. Lulu says:

    Awww, makes me sad-I remember that feeling. I still remember your sweet girls “bossing” me and me liking it! Too difficult to disagree-I miss those days.

  4. Linda M. Biernacki says:

    Love that this doesnt just happen in our house, gotta love em’. LOL

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