Sometimes people ask me, "So, what have you been doing lately?" My most sophisticated response lately has been a blank stare and a response of, "Errr... I'm not sure... Just stuff, I guess." Can anyone relate?
Life as a wife and mommy of three is keeping me busy almost around the clock. If I'm not doing something productive (like right now), then I sure ought to be. It's an endless round of caring for children, cleaning up messes, doing laundry, reading books, changing diapers, preparing lessons, keeping homeschool records, teaching, etc. etc. etc. And it never ever ends - it just starts all over again.
But it came to mind recently that a greater than usual proportion of my time these days is being spent in one area - FOOD. Preparing, serving, planning, preserving, feeding, cleaning up. A huge part of my life right now is revolving around food, and it feels a little bit crazy.
Don't get me wrong - I know that a huge proportion of any mother's time is going to be spent in the kitchen. That's how life has always been since the beginning of time, and it's not a bad thing - in fact, it's a wonderful thing! The kitchen is the heart of the home, and that's awesome. I just seem to be spending close to "every waking moment" in the food business, rather than just a basic majority of my time, and I'm wondering if I need to change something.
The problem - or the source of the issue, at least - is that right now, almost all of us are eating different things. The baby is breastfeeding and eating baby food. The 3yo with special needs is eating a very odd combination of baby food and table food that has to be made up at every meal. The 6yo is eating normal food, though we still deal with picky-eating issues with him. I should say that this is not okay with me (for me, it's a hill to die on), so we are still working heavily with him about eating without complaint and with a good attitude (otherwise, he will complain about every food on the table). So he eats the same thing that we are having for dinner, like it or not, unless it is super-spicy (which is rare), though I do usually let him have finger foods or more kid-friendly things for lunch (macaroni and cheese, etc.). DH eats what I eat, for the most part, which is the very-low-carb diet, with some variety thrown in for him (beans, rice, etc.).
So, my life in the kitchen looks something like this:
- Breastfeeding the baby.
- Producing massive amounts of baby food to freeze.
- Making three separate meals of baby food per day for the baby.
- Making three separate meals of textured baby food for the 3yo.
- Making my own breakfast (eggs, eggs, eggs) and a separate breakfast for the family (oatmeal, etc.).
- Heating leftovers for lunch for DH and I, and making a kid-friendly lunch for the 6yo.
- Making dinner and adding separate side dishes for the rest of the family.
- Besides this is yogurt-making, making desserts for the rest of the family, food preservation (freezing), and working on advance meal prep.
It doesn't look like a lot (and I realize that I'm whining here!), but what it adds up to is meals that take several hours a piece, plus other prep time - and it's eating up my days!
Most of it, however, is rather unavoidable. The 3yo simply cannot eat table food yet. (I tried on Thanksgiving, and we ended up with a massive vomiting spell - it was gruesome). The baby can't eat table food, and I do have to make a lot of my food separately because the VLC diet is so restrictive.
The only thing that I have thought of is following the practice of a local friend, who makes a big dinner every night and then serves the leftovers for lunch the next day - every day. Talk about efficiency!! I love it. The only catch is knowing that I'll have to fight the food fight with the 6yo twice a day rather than once a day, though I daresay it would calm down if I really buckled down and got serious about it. (Maybe then I'd be able to serve my kids sauteed chard for breakfast like she does... right now I'm exhausted just thinking about the resistance I'd get.)
Anyhow, do you all have any suggestions? I think it may just be a phase of life - I need to get accustomed to spending most of my time in the kitchen and just get busy. Speaking of which.... I'd better get back to it!
(I am thankful to report that as of last night I am finally starting to feel a wee bit better, which is such a blessing! Even though my voice sounds like that of a diseased and dying frog, that's better than no voice at all!)
Love to all!