Meal preparation is my least favorite mom chore. Especially dinner. By dinnertime, I’m tired and my ADHD meds are completely out of my system. I can’t take more stimulant medication, or I’ll be awake all night, and since I turn psycho after a few nights without sleep, that’s just not an option.
I’m the mom, so I need to be well rested and focused, because all this food preparation nonsense is my job. I mean, if I lost my marbles and wound up in a backwards jacket in the Looney-bin, I’d go even more nuts worrying about the feeding of my family in my absence, even though I think most people would do a better job.
I really suck at foodstuff. I don’t know if I don’t enjoy the prep and cooking because it’s so hard for me to focus and do the fine motor stuff like cutting and peeling, or because I’d simply rather do something else that is more interesting to me, like watching paint dry.
I just don’t know!
I do know that what used to matter more than knowing why I didn't like it, was that regardless of my dislike and disinterest, I simply had to do all of it. I was responsible for all things food related at Casa de Knepper until my kids were old enough to help out.
My kids are both finally old enough to help out now!
They hate this stuff as much as I do.
Because if they want to keep living, they have to eat, and since they aren’t staying here forever, they need to learn to shop, store, prepare and cook food so they don’t die from starvation five minutes after getting their Ikea bookshelves put together.
I want them to live to enjoy filling those bookshelves up with stuff, so I’m trying to teach them how to do all things food, and encourage them to be more independent about food preparation before they leave the nest.
I’m not just doing this because they need to know this stuff for the future though. I’m also doing it because I’m sick of doing all of it for them, and since they are capable of fending for themselves in some ways, they should fend when they can.
But…how much and how often should they be fending?
I’m trying to figure it out, trying to strike a balance.
I’m struggling with this, because I often wonder, while I’m mumbling bitter curse words over the cutting board, if I would be less put out by food chores if I had been required to learn and do them earlier in life, OR if I’d hate the food chores more because I’d be burned out from doing them for so long.
I guess it doesn’t matter, because I still have to do it for a long time to come, but now that I have help, I can do it less, and that means I can have more time to shop at Ikea for bookshelves.
One thing I do know is that both of my kids are perfectly capable of packing their lunches. Now this doesn’t mean I won’t ever do it, because sometimes I want to do it! I verbally abuse breakfast food and I drop f-bombs at dinner. I whine about the constant requests for snacks. Lunch is really the only thing I don’t want to kick in the bum. Lunch is the only thing I’m good at.
Lunch is easy. I can do lunch without hurting myself or ruining anything and kids seem to prefer lunch food to anything else. Food can be a wonderful way to communicate love to other when it’s not used as a punishment or reward. I feel like I’m punishing my kids by making them eat the slop I cook.
They know how much I dislike the chore of food preparation, and they end up not liking three-quarters of the stuff I make, so even if they do know that I love them and want to feed them, I think we are all better off if this chore becomes a shared thing for the remainder of our time together.
So back to that balance thing - how much of this chore can I get them to share and will they learn to like it enough to be less of a jerk about it than I am? God, I hope so, and lately, I’m getting a better handle on it.
Me: Cate, please go pack your lunch.
Cate: Will you do it today?
Me: I have a lot going on this morning and I need you do it yourself today.
Cate: I just like the way you do it.
Me: There is no difference between the way you pack a lunch and the way I pack a lunch. We put the same food in the same containers and those go in the same bag. Everyday it’s the same!
Cate: It’s not the same. When you make sandwiches, the peanut butter and jelly is not globby and you cut off the crust so are no crusties at all. You don’t forget anything. I always forget things.
Me: I can teach you all this stuff. It just takes practice to get it right.
Cate: But what about lunchbox love notes? Do I write them to myself?
Me: Awwww…okay. How about if we pack your lunch together today?
Cate: But then I’d see the love note before lunch and I want to be surprised!
Me: Wow, Girl. You are good.
Cate: I love you, Mommy.
Me: I love you, and I love that you love the love I put into making your lunch, and so for now, I’ll keep making your lunch, but you still have to keep learning all this food shopping, preparation and cooking stuff, because it’s important, okay?
Cate: Especially writing love notes for lunches.
Me: Yes, especially that.
See what I mean?
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