A while back, B and I had a pretty tough conversation about the things I’m not doing as a SAHM that he sort-of expected when we decided to have me stay home. And to be fair, I did agree to the things he expected – I just never acted on some of them. The main thing I didn’t do, which he’d like me to do, is cook or at least prepare meals.
B likes REAL meals – not sandwiches or pizza or taco night, but real meals made from real, unprocessed food. I like those types of meals too (I grew up on mostly real food), but I also love things like pizza, taco night, baked potatoes with good toppings. etc. I’m perfectly happy with a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies, but that does get boring. Because B likes a nice pan sauce, or more-involved meals – I just decided I wasn’t going to cook for the family. If he wanted those things, then he could make them because I surely didn’t have the time to do it with two kids yanking on my ankles. So B would come home, prep and cook dinner, and be stressed out. His stress would cause me stress, and the nights just didn’t end well.
No one was happy.
When I decided to do my 10-week fitness course, I knew we’d need to eat more at home to keep things healthy. B still did the cooking, but I did a better job of having things ready and planned out. When I decided to switch to a Paleo diet for the second 5 weeks of the fitness course, I told B that I would take responsibility for all dinners as long as we had good, easy recipes. He ponied up the recipe book and I got to work planning. B said he’d be happy to cook if I wanted to just get everything prepared, but I really wanted to put forth the effort.
We are 2.5 weeks into the Paleo diet and I have done 90% of the cooking, and 100% of the preparation, so far. I’ve come to find that I LIKE doing it – it relaxes me. Cooking has ALWAYS relaxed me, and preparing food is on a whole other level of relaxation for me – I just don’t like doing it with kids around. I’ve gotten to the point now, though, where I can prep quite a bit when the kids are playing, and then put the finishing touches on things while they nap so that things are 100% ready to go when it’s show time.
I have my nights off this week from mom-duty because my happier husband signed me up for a sailing class with a friend, and he said he’d do everything each night so that I didn’t have to worry about anything. However, I’m still prepping meals for him so that all he has to do is turn on the oven or burners and cook it up. Every day, he says he can do it (and I know he can) but I really WANT to do it.
And that’s what this post is about – I WANT to do something to make B’s life easier. I know he’s much happier this way – you can see and hear it in his eyes, his posture, his words, etc. I want him to come home and not have to worry about whether or not dinner is planned – and stress about the possibility that it’s going to be up to him to either get dinner on the table or make the call to go out to eat. I want all of us to know what’s coming up in the days ahead so that we can be prepared and looking forward to experiencing new recipes (and good old ones!) and time together without the resentment of who did what and when. And the bottom line is this – preparing and cooking the meals is truly making me happy! I spend 20 minutes each Sunday going through our cookbook, selecting recipes for the week, and then go to the store to get all of the ingredients so that we are 100% prepared. I LOVE that part of my Sunday – it excites me! Everyone talks about meal-planning and how easy it makes things, and I’ve always just nodded along and thought, “yeah, whatever.” The truth is – it IS easy and such a great use of time!
This is going to sound very 1950’s, but I have felt more confident as a SAHM these last 2.5 weeks than I’ve felt in a long time. Between the working out and taking care of my family (in the way of meals), I feel like my life is a little more directed and stable than it was before. Because I need to plan and prep meals now, my day has more structure to it as I challenge myself to get everything (including working out) done in a timely manner so that I can have some down time to do whatever I want to do. I’m getting up early each day to get to my fitness class, I’m getting Matthew to his summer camp before the last-minute, I’m getting Bryson and myself either to the Y or out for long walks to add onto our “active time,” and I’m getting dinner ready long before it’s time to have it on the table. Things have fallen into place.
Having spent 2.5 weeks this way, I’m truly wondering what I did with my time before this. I was definitely slacking off, even if I refused to believe it.
And I wasn’t super happy. Right now, I’m feeling pretty happy!