31 Days {Day 15} – Cooking is Off

31 Days {Day 15} – Cooking is Off

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Welcome back to the 31 Days of Mary, Martha, & Sparta! If you missed it, here is the link to yesterday’s post!

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If you know me even a tiny bit, what I’m about to say is not in the least bit shocking.

I love food.

Growing up, my dad was a chef and my mom was a pastry chef. Delicious food is a key pillar of life for us. I eat one meal dreaming about the next.

But here’s the thing – I don’t love making the food. I did, once upon a time. It was so fun to cook something extravagant on a random Saturday night. But then, these people that lived with me wanted to eat three times a day…I mean, what’s their problem, amiright?

In Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love (read it, you won’t regret it), she talks about being on a balance beam and trying to balance all the things in your life. She gave the image of having to throw some things “off the beam” and keep some important things “on the beam” to stay balanced.

Well, folks. I’m proud to announce that cooking is “off the beam” for me in this season of my life!

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Very frequently, we aren’t sure when we’re going to be home, or who is going to be home, or if we’re even going to be home at a reasonable time for dinner.

With this crazy ambiguity, I struggled with trying to cook a full meal we’d all enjoy. I have also been on a big quest to change the way our family eats – I want food that is real.

But trying to reconcile these three things – schedule, real food, and the actual cooking part – was just driving me insane. It consumed all my thoughts, and then it paralyzed me.

I used to be good at it. I planned meals, prepared for cooking, executed, and did the dishes before we went to bed so it wasn’t waiting for me in the morning…I could handle it.

But we’re in a place in our lives where our full schedule makes that process so much harder. I throw away a lot of food I’ve prepared because it never got eaten due to our schedule. Or we are unexpectedly home and have very little on-hand that makes sense to throw together.

A few years ago, we were home every night and had a predictable schedule. Baby food was easy, bottles even easier, and I did dishes at bedtime.

Now, our business is busier, our kids are in sports, I have this awesome place, we have kindergarten and homeschooling. Our lives are just different right now.

Recently, I sat down with Ty and I just had a meltdown. It wasn’t pretty. I may have ugly cried – chances are good.

I told him I didn’t know why, but I was dropping the ball with cooking dinner. I felt like a big fat failure and asked him how he felt about me taking full dinners out of the rotation for a while.

Honestly, I think he was a little bewildered by the theatrics before him. Being the ever-supportive husband that he is, he just said, “Whatever you need, babe.” What a good man, you guys.

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Cooking dinner may be off the beam, but here’s what’s staying on the beam: Good food. Real, {preferably} organic food. Healthy, easy food. At home.

Here’s how:

  • Salads. Salads only require a little bit of chopping and washing. I stock the fridge with the quality ingredients I want, and that makes a salad so quick and easy.
  • Crockpot. **Note: this is for when I’m feeling ambitious and know that I know that I know we’ll be home.
  • Fruit and veggies. Instead of big sides for a full dinner, now we just do cut up fruit and veggies. We just keep the fridge and pantry stocked with good, whole foods.
  • Sandwiches. I’m lucky that my kids are all about super-good-for-you bread. I stock up and freeze it. Same quality veggies and roasted chicken, real peanut butter, or eggs all make awesome sandwiches in a hurry.
  • Smoothies. A lot of veggies and some fruit with a little bit of almond milk or yogurt makes a pretty filling and delicious dinner. Add some crackers and cheese on the side – dinner!
  • Granola. A staple in this house for dinner these days is granola mixed with yogurt. Aidan loves the granola that’s chock-full of real ingredients. We mix it with plain, full-fat yogurt and a little bit of honey or fruit.
  • Mom. My mom helps out and makes us some extra of whatever she’s making and brings it over every once in a while. Ty’s mom sends food home with us for Ty to take for lunch.
  • Grace. Sometimes when we’re in town (45 minutes away), we choose to eat out, and we make that decision as wisely as possible. We just show ourselves some grace, and do the best we can.

You guys, I struggled with this decision for a very long time. It feels a lot like failure to me. Ty works really hard to allow me to stay home with our kids and take care of things at home – including cooking dinner.

But I’ve realized that to be the best mom and wife possible, this is something I’m going to have to take off the beam for now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to get back to full home-cooked meals.

For now, I’m just learning to show myself some grace.

What do you need to take off of your beam? 

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To view the next post in the 31 Days of Mary, Martha, & Sparta, check it out here!

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