To the Mom Who Just Served Cereal For Supper…Again
Dear worn-out, guilt-ridden mama who just served your family cereal for supper because it was better than not feeding them at all:
I understand because I've been there.
No…let me rephrase that. I AM there.
Just last night we went through the drive-through because it was really late and we were so tired and the kitchen was already a mess and I absolutely dreaded the thought of trying to prepare something else in the middle of a messy kitchen.
I said to my husband, “I HATE feeding this food to my kids, but at least junk food is better than NO food.”
If you're feeding cereal to your family for supper, let me tell you something.
It's going to be okay.
Many other moms have walked this road you're walking. You're not a failure. Your kids aren't going to die from malnutrition. And one day you will cook supper again.
Life is full of seasons – seasons of sickness, seasons of playing soccer mom, seasons of packing and moving, and sometimes…seasons of peace and rest.
If you're walking through a “cereal for supper” season, I thought I'd share some survival techniques, because while it's perfectly okay to feed your family survival mode food, I know you'd a whole lot rather be putting nutritious meals into those bellies.
1. Give yourself an honest evaluation
First you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
Ask yourself some hard questions like,
“Am I always scrambling for supper because life honestly has to be this busy and stressful? Or are my sloppy supper habits a result of my own disorganization?”
“What can I eliminate from my schedule that will help me not to be too busy to feed my family properly?”
“Am I using the fact that there are difficult seasons of life as an excuse or is riding out the storm truly all I can do at this point?”
It may be that you will find the time to feed your family more nutritious meals if you simply make the time to do so.
If not, remember: it's going to be okay.
Don't beat yourself up and never, ever feel guilty for doing your best.
2. Ask for help
Sometimes you're in over your head and there is nothing you can do about it.
There is no shame in asking for help.
When kind folks at church ask what they can do to help you through a hard season, be honest and tell them that some meals would be a huge help! (Ouch! I'm stepping on my own toes here!)
It's so hard for us to admit to others that we need help. I think for most of us it's not necessarily a pride issue as it is an “I don't want to inconvenience anyone” issue.
But if others have offered to help and obviously want to be a blessing, then we shouldn't feel badly about letting them!
Even if no one outside the family offers, it is actually okay to ask your husband to help cook supper. (Gasp!) Or your kids! (Gasp!)
The other night my 8 year old made biscuits completely by himself while I cooked the rest of the meal. To be honest, I wasn't sure how that was going to work out, but they were great! We never know how much our kids can to do help until we let them try!
3. Have a plan
When things are busy or stressful or you're ill, it's pretty much a given that dinner time is going to be a struggle.
Having a plan is critical to surviving the dinner hour during the difficult seasons of life. And sometimes the simplest of things can help you in a big way.
- Cook extra meat on the nights you do cook to use for a super-quick meals later on in the week.
- Chop extra vegetables when you're cooking. Stick the extra in the freezer for easy meals later.
- Triple or quadruple your recipes. Your cooking and cleaning times are about the same, but you'll have 2 or 3 meals to put into the freezer for busier days.
- Make a list of super-quick meals that are still nutritious. (Scrambled eggs, meatless soups using canned beans, salads, etc.) Just having an idea of what you can make can keep you from reaching for the cereal box again.
- Plan your meals. Sometimes just knowing ahead of time what's for supper can help you avoid the suppertime scramble. You can stick supper in the crockpot if you know in the morning what you're having. If you're ill and can't cook, having a meal plan will help your husband or kids know what they can cook.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I like to use Build a Menu to plan my menus. I love that they offer the freedom to choose exactly what I want to make.
(Want to see why I love it so much? Go through this link for a free 2 week trial!)
Did these tips help shine a little light into your desperate situation? I sure hope so!
It's gonna be okay, mama. It's gonna be okay.