I have been a stay at home mom for almost six years now and I’m pretty sure it took four or five of those years to figure out a dinner cooking schedule I could live with. I suppose becoming a SAHM was more of an adjustment than I thought it would be.
I’d spent the first five years of marriage able to either grab something on the way home or maybe pop in a Totino’s Pizza or some chicken. Or if we so desired, we could head down the road to my in-laws and have dinner with them. I don’t remember cooking a full on meal once, unless it was spaghetti.
When we decided I’d stay home, cooking dinner became one of my responsibilities. Or it was supposed to. I still think my husband cooks better than I do and honestly, the majority of nights in those early years consisted of him cooking. Which I felt bad about but it seemed like I was always running behind, even if I wasn’t sure why I was running behind. For whatever reason, I could not get my dinner together. I finally realized that a part of the problem was that I simply didn’t know what to cook. I’ll eat just about anything, but not everyone is the same.
When I received some cookbooks for Christmas, I had my hubby go through them to pick out recipes he thought he would enjoy. I had him write them down with any notes (like no peas or tomatoes) and then I worked from that list. Within the last year or so, we’ve worked out a dinner schedule that works for all of us.
Now, I’ll cook dinner Monday through Wednesday. At least one of those days consists of a larger meal, one that there are sure to be leftovers. Then Thursdays are fend for yourself nights and on Fridays we get take out. I do try to plan at least one extra meal just in case something comes up, like no leftovers for Thursday night. I try to plan everything on the Friday or Saturday morning before so that I have everything I need. If I don’t, I tend to stand in the kitchen trying to scrounge up something from my brain (or Pinterest) for dinner.
Not every week is perfect. There are still nights where I’ve overlooked an ingredient I need or I’m just too exhausted and I’m left floundering. There are some nights where the hubby gets home and I’m just starting dinner. Some weeks I have to shuffle the dinners around for whatever reason. Sometimes, fend for yourself night is on Monday instead of Thursday. It happens. I’ve learned to deal with it and make up for it.
I honestly think having a plan has made all the difference. It took a few tries, but we finally found one that works for us. If this is an area you struggle with, then I would encourage you to find a plan that works for you and your family. Maybe you and your spouse divide up nights to cook. If you have older children then get them in on it, too. Cooking is one skill that will always be useful.
Another thing is if you’re constantly running to the store for something you need then dinner won’t get done in a timely manner. Plan your meals at least a week in advance, compare the ingredients you need to what you have on hand, write down any ingredients that you are low on or missing completely, and make one big grocery store trip. You might find yourself making extra trips, but it won’t be for dinner ingredients.
I hope this helps! Happy Monday!