Why I Refuse to Ditch Dinner

My days are pretty busy. From the moment my alarm goes off at 6 AM and my feet hit the floor 30 minutes later, I oftentimes don’t sit down to relax until 9 PM. I know, I know…I can hear moms everywhere saying, “Same!”

Especially after my second child was born, I found myself trying to find ways to “create” more time in my days. Some of my daily habits include skipping my lunch break to get home earlier or using that time to run errands so I have one less item on my to-do list after work. No matter what, it’s never enough.

Outside of my daily commute and time working, the biggest amount of my time is spent on dinner.

Almost every day, from the minute I step into my home, I spend roughly 60-90 minutes cooking, eating and cleaning up afterward (with the help of my husband!). This is a HUGE chunk of my day and in all honesty, I truly thought almost everyone did this. It wasn’t until recently when I realized I may be in the minority.

Growing up, I remember my mom making us dinner almost every night after a full day of work. We rarely went out to eat and we almost never had a ‘convenient’ dinner along the lines of frozen pizza or Hamburger Helper. Every meal was mostly homemade and well-rounded with a fresh vegetable, salad and a starchy side item. On the downside, I blame her for my dislike for items such as jarred spaghetti sauce or frozen vegetables. I have vivid memories of these times and some of my favorite foods and recipes stem from my childhood.

This is exactly why I continue this ‘tradition.’ I want my boys to remember our family dinners and one day claim a favorite meal because “My mom made us this growing up”. While I do admit that I lose out on some quality time with my kids during the cooking process, it has also helped develop a bond with my oldest that I can wholeheartedly say he doesn’t have with my husband.

We have a Learning Tower in our kitchen and my son will drag it over to the counter or stove to help me prep, sauté veggies or stir pasta under my careful eye. At the age of two, he already knows that you have to watch for splatter when cooking bacon and will even ask me if I got an ouch. Or, that cooking pasta requires several taste checks to make sure its cooked to our liking. And even though he delays the process a bit, I love it because it’s helping him develop a skill he wouldn’t have otherwise. To me, this is worth my time.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes we do go out and sometimes we do have ‘convenient’ dinners. In fact, my husband wishes we did more often so it would take some of the burden off me and give me more free time with the kids. Maybe this is something that I will someday be forced to adapt to, but until then, I will continue to run out to Kroger during my lunch break to do some light shopping. I will continue to dedicate my time to cooking for my family and fingers crossed, my kids will share the same memories when they are older that I still do to this day.

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