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April 27, 2011

An In-Home Chef Would Make Me Happy

I've figured out what I need to be a better mom....a chef.


Mother's Day is almost here! Of course, it's meant to be a great holiday for the caretaker, nurse, teacher, leader, singer, reader, dancer, task-master, cleaner, cooker in all of us. 

Every year, I not only appreciate the sweet homemade cards and extra hugs; I also find myself thinking about which parts of being a mom could use a little assistance. In other words, which of the million mom-responsibilities is giving me the biggest challenge and what could help?

My answer, this year? I need an In-Home Chef.

Don't laugh. Yes, this would not only make me happy, it would help me be a better mom. It's sure to result in less yelling and more patience.

My biggest challenges, these days, all stem from the impossible combination of time crunches, eating healthy and eating while sitting down together.

Although I only work part time, those three dinner days are difficult, unless I really plan ahead, because I get home at 6:00 and we're all hungry RIGHT NOW. Preparing and delivering a culinary masterpiece that takes an hour to accomplish is out of the question. On the days when I am at home, I'm not really at home, because we're finishing dance classes at 5:30 and need to be at a baseball game by 6:00. PB & J and a banana in the car is as good as we'll get.

Sure, drive-through Chik-Fil-A is convenient and fast. However, growing, four and six-year-old bodies cannot stand french fries for too many nights a week, no matter how perfect is seems to them. The other night, our entire family sat down at the table together, but it was only because Dad picked up Subway sandwiches on the way home. This is not a well-balanced, healthy meal.

Adding to this dilemma are two more components:

1. I don't actually like to cook.
2. I don't have time to go to the grocery store for anything other than the staples of living. Sure, I can handle bread, milk, yogurt, fruit, cereal. When the battle is between staying up to look through recipes, making a list of needed ingredients and planning meals vs. an extra hour of sleep, the sleep wins, every time.

For these reasons, I propose the In-Home Chef. He or she could plan meals, shop for ingredients, figure out the timing correctly and deliver the four-food-group-represented-meal at the table, according to that day's schedule. On the days when our family must eat in shifts, this gem of an addition to our house will plan a menu that allows for it. We will all still be full, happy and will not have consumed anything fried or in a paper wrapper.

Perhaps the biggest benefit this plan will be my lack of stress and concern about mealtime. Gone will be the days of panic, while staring into the pantry at 6:01 pm. Goodbyes will be said to the heavy sighing as my children are served boxed mac-and-cheese, AGAIN.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. If anyone has any ideas about how I might actually make his fantasy a reality, please let me know.

Mother's Day is coming...

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