Today I am going to write about something that has nothing to do with cancer (yay!), but has everything to do with my sanity (or lack thereof) as a human being. Today's topic: Meal Planning.
Up until the day I moved in with my husband, I only really ever had to worry about feeding one mouth. Mine. So, between...what say...1995 and 2010, I pretty much did whatever I wanted in regards to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Thinking back...I went through many different phases. Healthy phases...where I ate spinach salads and whole grains mixed with more vegetables day in and day out. Unhealthy phases...like the time I ate Lucky Charms morning, noon and night for a couple of weeks. (I do not recommend this. It did some funny things to my umm...poo.) Sometimes, I would cook myself elaborate multi-course meals, usually with a glass of wine between each course (I always seemed to end up pretty sloshed by the end of those nights). Then, there was always the old standby of "breakfast for dinner". Bacon and eggs. Waffles. Pancakes. French Toast. Hash browns. All those glorious breakfast foods that a working girl never really gets to eat. Mmm.
Before I moved in with my husband, I was pretty much eating Lean Cuisines or spaghetti or stir-fry every night. Shopping was easy. Planning was easy. And, if I wanted to eat spaghetti for dinner 7 nights in a row...more power to me.
Then, I moved in with The Hubs. And life, as we know it, changed in ohsomany ways. I lived with my husband for about 6 months before we actually got married. And I have always been grateful that I did, because it was HARD and I think if I had just officially and legally tied the knot and THEN went through those first 6 months...I may be locked up in a mental institute somewhere today. Seriously. But, I digress.
I think that, at first, I was really excited about the prospect of this new "role" in my life. My new responsibilities as the "domestic goddess" of the household. It was a new opportunity for me to plan and organize and find new and added purpose in my life. An opportunity for people to count on me and appreciate me (hahahahahahahaha). Sigh. I had so much to learn.
With my stepdaughter in the house for 50% of our dinners, meal planning took on an added challenge. I wanted to eat healthy (and lose weight for my wedding), but I wanted her to actually eat what I made without too much fuss (hahahahahahahahaha). Sigh. Again...I had ohso much to learn. (During that time, I also learned that my adult self-esteem wasn't all that solid because I did, indeed, feel hurt and sad when my meals were rejected by a then 6 year-old).
Eventually, I started to develop a system. We had a repertoire of dishes (that I TRIED to make healthy) I could count on each week. They all needed to be relatively easy, as I did work a full-time job and my stepdaughter's bedtime was fairly early...we didn't need her eating dinner in the bathtub.
During this time...we pretty much counted on a few things for nights we had my stepdaughter: mac and cheese; tacos; hot dogs; chicken with rice and broccoli. Every weekend, there was some sort of slow cooker meal. Every Tuesday was "Taco Tuesday". I loved this. I didn't have to think about it and I didn't have the usual "What are we eating for dinner?" interrogation <insert whiny tone here> the minute that my husband and stepdaughter walked in the door.
Then my husband, who had been fairly quiet and accommodating to my meals, decided to start having an opinion. The nerve. I can't remember if this happened before or after the official knot had been tied. My guess would be after...once he legally "had" me. LOL. So, one Tuesday while I was happily constructing a taco (and mind you...I changed it up a bit here and there...using turkey or chicken or fish, soft shells, crunchy shells, etc.) and he says, "I am sick of tacos. We need to stop the tacos for awhile." WHAT!? This was one of the few mindless things I had going on in my life and he wanted to take that from me? Sigh.
So over the past 2 years, I have experimented with the meals and with the "rotation". Sometimes successfully. Sometimes, notsomuch. But, we all eat every night and so far no one has died of starvation or food poisoning. Yet. (I also have learned to lower my domestic goddess expectations). But, in all honesty, I really feel no joy in this task. Some meals incur grumblings and complaints, while others bring quiet indifference. Very rarely is there an acknowledgement of how awesome a meal is. Ha. It happens. And its usually by me. But...really.
How did this become my responsibility? What would happen if the responsibilty was turned over to my husband or to my 8 year-old stepdaughter? Does anyone enjoy this task? Does anyone have a trick? Sigh. I hope I can find a way to enjoy the planning of the meals....
Until then, I will continue with my favorite new line: As my husband skeptically questions what he is about to put in his mouth...."It doesn't matter. You'll eat it and you'll like it."