Before I had kids… I was going to be the perfect mother. I’d make all their food from scratch. We’d sit around the table together and eat as a family. I’d be so darn Pinterest-perfect that I’d make everyone sick.
Meanwhile in the real world… life hasn’t turned out exactly like that. I’ve returned to work while CJ is still a toddler, something that I hadn’t necessarily planned on. Papa M is climbing the management tree at work and sometimes it means long hours. We’ve got an absolutely ravenous toddler who gets a hangry rage on if we keep him waiting too long for his meals. The “before kids” image I had of me as mother has faded into the ether and I’m perfectly fine with that. It can be so hard when the so-called sanctimommies (I’d never let mine do that, Blossom only eats quinoa harvested by native Chilean orphans and boiled in pure spring water) are calling you out on your life choices, but in the end you have to do what is good for you and yours. Whether that’s bottle or breastfeeding, co-sleeping or separate rooms and even when it boils down to the food we put in our kids’ mouths. I realise that even having a choice of what and when to feed my kid comes from an immense place of privilege, and I’m not keen to point fingers at others for their choices.
Unless you were letting your kids wash a pack of Doritos down with a bottle of Jack… then we might have words.
Yup, poor guy looks heartbroken to be having a yummy dinner by himself – chicken and pumpkin risotto here
Dinner in the M household is only a family affair on the weekends – Papa M is never home before 6:30 pm on weeknights and CJ is in bed at 7pm due to his 6:30am daycare wake up call. I’m not interested in fighting a tired toddler to eat his tea just so he can eat at the same time as his dad – instead he is done and dusted by the time dad gets home and they enjoy bath time and a book together before CJ goes to sleep. I think that if your schedules allow a family meal together that’s awesome, but it’s certainly not the only way to spend quality time together.
This, of course, does sometimes cause some logistical issues. Sometimes I’m cooking a quick and easy meal (felafel, corn fritters) that I can easily prep and then just cook at two separate times for the kid and the adults. But if I’m wanting something that involves a longer prep time, I’m more than happy to use one of the Watties Little Kids meals for CJ’s dinner. They’re low in salt (always a bit of a concern for me when I’m considering the seasoning of our family dishes) and they’re free from artificial colours and flavours which I bear in mind seeing that Papa M used to react a little too them. There’s a pretty wide range available and so I don’t feel like I’m just spooning in the stereotypical spaghetti my parents always used to give us for a quick and easy meal. The Meatballs and Macaroni is always a big hit, as is the Lamb Moussaka. He’s also become a bit of a fan of the improved spaghetti bolognese so we’re not depriving him of the childhood experience of spaghetti completely!
The one thing I am pretty strict on is lollies. And if you’re not, I fully stand behind your right to choose what you feed your kid. For us, a marshmallow with a “fluffy” might be okay but no lollipops, jelly beans or gummy bears are part of the diet in the M household. I have developed a “work around”, a mummy con if you will. CJ thinks that the Heinz Little Kids Fruit SHREDZ are lollies and he flips out when ever I bring a pack out as a treat. I am going to milk that con for as long as I can!
Moral of the story? If you are a keen food prepper who manages a family meal every night, I salute you! But if you aren’t – welcome to my club. The kids’ options out there for convenience food are far more creative than what we grew up with and a happy FED kid is the best.