Mama Put Her Foot Down

April 18, 2007

A few weeks ago I was talking with an older and wiser friend. We were talking about mealtime and I stated how I loathed the evening meal at my house. I felt like a short order cook because of my picky eaters. I always would fix Tom and I a nice meal but the kids might eat three different meals. I just felt like I never could sit down and eat with the family, couldn’t get it all “done” at the same time and on the table. I was usually angry by the time we would sit down to eat because of all the work!!

She looked at me and said “I don’t want hear about it. You are doing that to yourself! You should fix one meal and the kids can eat what is on their plate or go hungry.” At first I admit I was taken a little aback by her very matter of fact words but the more I thought about them, the more I realized she was right.

Now I realize that all of you reading these sad words are probably agreeing with my friend and can’t believe that I, being of mostly sound mind, would actually allow this ritual in my home. I must give myself a little space here. . .part of my problem was just the evolution of small babies to children. Jaden and Evely are so close in age and I seemed to have little ones for the last two years that either ate baby food or cheese and fruit and the likes. I just never really quit feeding them like babies and it was ruining my mood and my nerves!

So I say “thank you” to my friend Rhonda for being so honest with me!! That is the mark of a true friend – one that can say the hard things so lovingly and bring about a huge change in a life. She did.

The next week I put my foot down and counted to three. No more Short Order Cook Karen! I now fix one meal, incorporating some kid-friendly stuff too and that is what we eat. I must admit that mealtime the first week was like dragging them to get a shot. The groans and crying were horrifying. You would have thought they were sent to a concentration camp! However, I am so pleased to announce that several weeks later I am only fixing ONE meal and they are trying all kinds of new food. They don’t always like it but it is making my life so much more peaceful.

I also figured out if I can rope them into helping me make the meals and feel a part of it, they seem to want to eat it better. Julian is the key: if he likes it then usually the other kids will try it.

Here’s a picture of the kids “decorating” pizza’s for dinner.


Yes, this really is how Jaden looks when he is home – the clothes come off!



11 responses to Mama Put Her Foot Down

  1. Yayyyyy!!!! I am glad life is a bit easier for you! I’ve gotten into habits that weren’t productive either. Sometimes we need an outsider to say, “What the heck are you doing?!!!!” Hehe!!!

    Love ya!

  2. Hehe! I’m getting there too. Maya is still a little “babyish” in her eating habits, but the other two are being forced to eat what’s for dinner. My only “substitution” is when I make a very non “kid-friendly” meal (because I like it!) …then they eat PB&J ;).

    McKenna and Chandler are more willing to step out these days, but Maya has learned a new phrase….”NO WANT IT!”. I guess she is the one who will go hungry at our house.

    * Chandler’s teacher was telling me yesterday that Channy doesn’t like to play with play-dough (something they really want him to participate in). So, I got to thinking….”what would make him WANT to play with play dough?” & like any good Mom I came up with a fun solution! Last night we made homemade playdough & we used kool-aide & mint extract, and lemon extract to add yummy scents to the play dough. I let him help me make it & choose the colors too (we made TMNT colors…green, orange, purple…). By the end of the night he & McKenna were in play dough heaven. I was so proud! 😀

    **If it works with play dough, I’m sure it will work for dinner too…what’s a little more clean up in the kitchen at the end of the night?

  3. Jaden gets that naked-at-home thing from his mother. If you happen to show up on the doorstep unannounced you might get a shock.

  4. Just as long as my nice meal is waiting on me when I get home…

  5. Hey, Tom. . . .. :fish

  6. Amber, the TMNT colors is a great idea! I am sure Chandler really went for that!

    Yeah, I finally broke down around Christmas and made homemade playdough for the kids. They have really had a good time playing with it. Jaden runs his hotwheels through it and makes roads and stuff. He says they get “stuck in the mud”. Too cute!

    I find myself telling the kids to stop eating the stuff, but then I remember eating lots of the salty treat when I was a kid too. It was the playdough or the rock salt in the garage – gotta get the iodine somehow. Now I just break out a bag of chips, maybe I should just get out the playdough :puke

  7. You girls are awesome moms. I think I may have made play dough once a few years ago. Geez. . . the pressure’s on now. . . :love

  8. Hey, why don’t one of you fine moms come and make playdough with my kids . . . because I think it is the ONLY way my kids will have any! The Bilyeu kids are so deprived! 😉

    What helped me with the meal thing was telling my kids that their taste buds change so maybe THIS time they will like it! I read that somewhere, and amazingly it has worked. My kids don’t fuss about different foods too much and have been willing to try new things.

  9. That’s a good idea, Faith! I’ll try the “tastebud” thing on them.

    Poor kids. . .no playdough. . .don’t feel bad!! My kids are puzzle deprived right now. I went ballistic about all the pieces everywhere and threw them all in the trash. They have two that are way up in the closet now.

  10. Good for you! You’ll be much happier for taking a stand! 😉

  11. Hurray for Karen! I remember a friend of mine telling me a similar story where her husband put his foot down and told the kids that “mom is not a short order cook; eat what she makes and be happy”. Tori was a baby, so it didn’t hit home at the time. Now I can imagine how tiring it must have been for you. I am happy that you are looking out for the grown ups in the family as well as the kids. Grown ups have rights too!! :p