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!