Feeding my family is a central thread in that process. Nourishing my family is an act of love — or at least it should be. But it doesn't always feel that way after I've navigated the market, done all the chopping and sautéing and baking while helping with homework and mediating sibling disputes, and served a meal that more often than not gets a lukewarm response. My kids have become picky eaters, and it's been a wearing several months.
The challenges involved touch so many parenting issues for me:
- Compromise: I have yet to find a food that everyone in my family loves. Four people, four very distinct tastes. Factor in the responsibility to make sure everyone is eating healthfully, and I have almost zero chance of pleasing the whole crew at any given meal. Somehow, I have to negotiate a peaceful middle path.
- Attitude: I like cooking and I love food, but I loathe drudgery. Planning, shopping, putting away groceries, washing, peeling, chopping, cooking, packing up … too often, it feels like a chore. It doesn't help when the product of my efforts is met with indifference or even a chorus of "ew!' (Sometimes from me too.) When resentment takes hold, it feeds on itself in a vicious cycle. I don't like the way it feels, and I don't want to model that attitude for my kids.
- Balance: It's amazing how much time I can spend planning, procuring, and preparing food. And then dinner is over in a flash! I've made strides lately in budgeting my time better, and need to continue to keep myself on a short leash.
Are you reorganizing your approach for 2012? What do you do to keep yourself sane and happy in the kitchen?