Dinner time…oh, dinner time. I cringe at the mere thought of you. I dread the horror that awaits me, and the fact that I’m powerless to stop it.
Every day dinner is on my mind. How can we get through this as painless as possible while still eating somewhat nutritious food? I’m going on seven years of feeding my children “real food,” and it hasn’t gotten easier. And now I have three of them. I’ve tried every trick in the book. I’ve tried being strict. I’ve tried “letting them decide.” I’ve let them create the menu. I’ve sent them to bed hungry. I’ve tried to make it fun. I’ve tried to make it boring. I’ve fed them food I know they like. I’ve fed them food they don’t like. But without avail, nearly every night dinner time is torture!
Having children who are poor/picky eaters is a special kind of hell that you only understand once you’ve been there. If you have kids that eat nicely, listen to you, or will eat just about anything, this post might not make a lot of sense to you.
Let me tell you…my children have brought me to my knees through incessant whining night after night. Any little thing can cause a meltdown. Something that was fine yesterday now causes one child to feel like the world is ending today. The kids feed off each other’s habits which only compounds the problem. Each kid is different. Which means that trying to help one or cater to the other’s likes/dislikes has the direct effect of upsetting one of another. Really, you can’t win. You just can’t. I don’t cook separate meals for each child, and yet, sometimes I wonder if that would be easier. It might even take less time with the turtle-like pace that my children eat.
And where on earth does one find the motivation to put effort into creating a meal when there is a 99% chance that one or more of your family members will hate it–and tell you so? It’s like getting a performance review at work every day where your boss(es) tell you that you are doing a terrible job and they hate everything that you’ve done for them. Talk about demoralizing.
Ladies and gentlemen…this is like living in the movie Groundhog Day with children. No matter what you do, you are stuck in a cycle that is doomed to repeat itself every day. Inevitably you find yourself going through the same phases as the main character, Phil: hastiness, desperation, depression, and (sometimes) motivation to better yourself. Only…Phil wakes up at the end of the movie. I have yet to wake up! I have yet to find contentment in this situation. Yes, I love my children, but a mom can only take so much each day.
I’m sure that once I finally get a handle on dinner time, my kids will be grown. Until then, this is the lesson that I get to keep learning again and again: you can’t make everybody happy; sometimes life just sucks, but you gotta keep on keepin’ on, because it’s not getting any easier any time soon.
One day, I might even appreciate the lovely memories that accompany our family dinners. But I don’t have to love it right now. In reality, I actually do hate it. And I’m not sorry for those feelings. It is what it is, and I won’t pretend otherwise.
Moms, how do you handle dinner time at your house?