It's a four day "weekend". Well, for my kids anyway. An extended weekend or a school vacation may be a break for the kids, but not for a SAHM. For us it's a double shift. The lunch time that usually occurs at school is now at home, in my kitchen, and the mess is all mine.
I am not a fan of meal times. I have never been. I have never been a big eater and quite frankly don't "get" the whole love of food thing. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate fine cuisine, but normal day to day meals; not really my thing.
I have spent most of my life not caring much if I eat or not. I would grab a granola bar, a cookie, whatever, and be on my way. I don't claim that it's healthy, it's just what I always did.
Now, I am a Mom. I have 6 kids. Six kids that insist on eating three meals a day, everyday! WHAT???!!!!
Of course I feed my kids, I HAVE to, but I don't have to like it.
I used to actually enjoy cooking! Inventing recipes, entertaining with food that I prepared. I didn't usually eat much of it, but I loved to make it. Then I had kids. It's hard to enjoy preparing a meal that, when placed on the table, elicits instant tears from my nine year old son because, he "doesn't like that."
Once I had kids, cooking became a required chore, not one of relaxation and creativity. It also became the focal point of my life. I am forced to think about dinner at 8am so that I can have something defrosted to cook that night.
Meals on a day that my kids are home from school typically go like this....
My kids get up and head down for breakfast at about 9am. I am NOT a morning person and I can't stand the smell of food cooking in the morning so it's usually quick and easy breakfast foods. I make sure I always have bagels, yogurt, fruit, cereal and instant oatmeal on hand for my kids. Now that my older three are 14, 12 and 9, with this method, I am able to avoid breakfast altogether! The older ones help the younger ones and they clean up after themselves, mostly.
By the time the breakfast fiasco is over it's close to 10:30. At about 11:00, without fail, my 7 year old son, Nicholas will be asking me, "What's for lunch?" Really kid?! You just finished breakfast!
At 12:30 or so the lunch nagging has become annoying enough that I have to stop whatever I am doing (laundry, cleaning, scrubbing...) to now prepare lunch. Yay.
Lunch is worse than breakfast. It feels like I'm running a diner with really bad employees. One order of tomato soup, one hot dog with cheese, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich, one plain cheese quesadilla, one can of Chef Boyardee, one "I don't like anything".
The older two begin by fighting over who gets to use the microwave first. The baby takes one look at his PB and J and says, "I don't want this."
My daughter decides that she doesn't want her hot dog on a roll anymore because the cheese, "Makes the hot dog slide out." The quesadilla is, "too hot" and the soup is "too chunky." It's usually about this time that I have to put myself in time out.
When I compose myself, I excuse the children and tell them I'll clean up, mostly so that I don't have to listen to the complaints anymore.
Lunch is over and cleaned up and it's usually around 3:00. (Yes, it takes that long to feed six kids lunch.)
Finally finished in the kitchen, I resume my previous chore. Nicholas hunts me down to ask me a question;
"What's for dinner?" The clock says 3:30.