We cook dinner at home most nights. Well, really every weeknight. We’re not take out people or take-the-kids-anywhere-in-public-for-dinner-on-a-weeknight (dear god no) kind of people. And we like food, we like delicious food, so often that takes a little more time than something easy and convenient. If I’m well-organized and have planned for something easily prepared ahead of time, then I work on dinner around lunchtime. I like to get all the dishes done after lunch so the dishwasher can run (AGAIN) before we eat dinner. Ideally it’s soup or something where the pot can go into the fridge and then pulled back out and heated up at dinnertime.
But more often I start fixing dinner around 4, kids are all home and have gotten involved in some sort of activity, playing or doing homework or watching TV. And then, with all of the distractions and interruptions from the kids, we eat somewhere in the 5:30-6:00 range and then there’s the cleaning up. So when all is said and done I’m in the kitchen at least 3 hours. This sounds ridiculous when I say it like that. But I literally stand in my kitchen fixing dinner and dealing with the children for 3 hours. I’m not working on elaborate menus, it’s just that even taco night takes so freaking long when the kids are fighting or have to be pushed into doing their homework.
While this seems to work (we all DO eat dinner and MOST of the dishes get clean), it sure feels drawn out and disorganized and hectic. My kids watch too much TV, if I just need them to calm down and not require my presence for a bit, they’re watching something. And I know that things will change, my kids are 8, 6 and 2. As they get older, they will HOPEFULLY require less intervention from me.
What does dinnertime look like in your house?