But sometimes? Sometimes toddlers are needy. And sometimes jobs are demanding. And sometimes the last thing you can fathom at the end of the day is even spending 15 minutes cooking. And sometimes this starts to look like the new normal.
And you know what? I'm okay with it. I'll take it.
When time in the evening feels extra short, I will take chips & salsa for dinner. Or hummus & crackers. Or - wait for it - a frozen family entree.
Do you know what I did while that Stauffer's Mac'n'Cheese cooked for 18 minutes in the microwave? I sat on the floor with my beautiful daughter (2 years & 8 months old) and worked on her princess puzzle. It was pure bliss.
As was the Mac'n'Cheese. Judge away, judgers.
By the way - she's getting really good at the puzzle. (Not this one, but you get the idea. Clearly, she's a genius.)
I'll tell you what allows me to still sleep at night. Aside from the aforementioned mommy&me bliss.
- Fresh or frozen veggie before or with the meal.
- Fruit or low-fat yogurt for dessert.
- It's still better than fast food ... right? ;P
So, 3 out of 5 nights this week, I went the above route.
Wednesday I made fish, green beans & sweet potato oven fries. It took all of 15-20 active minutes, but there was enough leg clinging to make it feel double that. (There was also sincere lip-smacking from the Tot, so there's that.)
Tonight we went to a family Christmas reception with my husband's company. Kiddo was pretty impressed with the huge tree's "light dance" to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra medley. She ate next to nothing due to over excitement. When we got home, we all snuggled in front of our very own, regular size tree - plus, grahamy grams & hot chocolate (milk for kiddo&hubben; apparently I'm the only one with sense!) ... and don't forget the lite rock station's Christmas songs! Again, bliss.
Trust me. I know all about the easy homemade meals I can make. Again, see some of my previous posts. They're just not working for me right now. I know I'll get back to them. I also know ... that I'll then proceed to go overboard. I'll start making more elaborate meals that take too long away the Munchkin. Then one day, I'll go - "this is silly! I want to spend more time with my family!" Then I'll go stock my freezer with Stauffer's Family Entrees. (This will probably coincide with a sale on them for $3.99. And the inner conflict between - "that's so cheap!" and "why is that so cheap?" -- well, that's a whole other post.)
Or maybe one day, the pendulum will stop swinging. And I'll just stay balanced perfectly at that sweet spot between healthy & home-cooked v. uncomplicated & FAST. Maybe this will be that time.
After all, a pendulum has to come to rest eventually, right? Simple physics.