When’s the last time you had a hot meal? I’m not talking about at a restaurant. I’m talking about at your home. When is the last time you actually ate a hot meal in your own home? Now some of you may get confused here and answer with something like, well, I cooked last night or on Tuesday. That’s not what I mean either. When is the last time you sat down at your dining room table and took a bite of something while it was still HOT?
This used to be a simple question before I had children. You cook. You sit. You eat. You enjoy your company at the dinner table. This seems so elementary, and yet, this concept escapes my family more than I’d like to admit. Our typical meal time routine is as follows:
Kids: “Mom, I’m starving!”
Me: “It’s 4:30. Supper won’t be ready for a while.”
Two hours later…
Me: “Kids, it’s time to come eat.”
Me: “Kids, it’s time to come eat!”
Me: “Get in here and come eat now! I thought you were starving?”
What happens next resembles some sort of tornado. My children come into the kitchen and are served their plates. You should envision hungry Tasmanian devils lining up for a free buffet. Next, they bring their plates to the table and ask if we can please go ahead and say our blessing. I stop serving and go over to the table. We all hold hands and bless the food. This is lovely. I serve my plate and sit down at the table. My children are almost halfway done at this point, but not quite. One asks, “Mom, could I please have some ketchup?” I get up to retrieve the ketchup. I sit again. One asks, “Mom, could I please have some more water?” I retrieve the water. Next, my child spills said water. Everyone grabs their plates, and I dash for a dish towel. The crisis is avoided and the spilled water is wiped off of the table and floor. Everyone puts their plate down. I go to take a bite of my food, but I also want to have a conversation with my children. “How was your day at school?” In between bites, they give me the scoop on everything that goes down in first and third grade. I pick my fork up again, I go to take a bite of my food. Just as the fork reaches my lips, my children ask, “What is for dessert?” They’ve finished their meal, and I’ve hardly had a chance to eat. I go look to see if we have anything healthy for dessert and try my best to throw something together. I serve dessert and go back to my plate. It is lukewarm at this point which is how I’ve learned to eat my food after children.
I was really never aware of how true this was until I was talking to my best friend Britney. I was telling her about our recent Disney Cruise trip. As I was gushing over the details, I kept telling her how the greatest luxury of the trip was the dining room every night. Not only was there no cooking involved, but I was also able to eat a hot meal every night and not leave my seat. Our server would actually cut my children’s steak for them. If there was a spill, she took care of it. If someone needed ketchup, she got it and even poured it in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears. It was glorious! I kept trying to get up to help our server, and she kept telling me to sit down and enjoy my food. By the last day of the cruise, I almost forgot how to eat like a mom. My friend Britney laughed and laughed! She said now that she is a mother it is sometimes hard for her to eat hot food. She prefers her meals lukewarm! I just kept thinking did I just spend thousands of dollars on a cruise and my biggest excitement was eating hot food! Who have I become?
I realize many of you reading this may wonder about my dinner time routine. Why doesn’t she anticipate that the kids are going to need ketchup? Why doesn’t her husband help? Why doesn’t she tell the kids to do things for themselves? All of these questions are valid and there’s a perfectly good answer to all of them. First, I’m not Wonder Woman, but I am a mom! There, I admitted it. My imperfections make me forget the ketchup most nights. Second, my husband is very helpful! He is so helpful, in fact, that he does most of the cooking. He is typically the better cook (except my roast…nobody beats my roast). The fact is we are outnumbered by our kids, and they seem to pounce on that weakness at dinner. It’s amazing how hungry kids will devour your energy in a matter of seconds! Lastly, my children are pretty adorable most of the time. I do like to help out and do for my family. It’s the nurturing part of motherhood that I enjoy, but there has to be a balance or I may never eat another hot thing again!
For all of you fathers out there looking for a simple, yet effective, way to impress your wife, you might want to try this one. Let her eat a HOT meal! If someone needs ketchup, be the first to jump up and retrieve it. If there is a spill, make sure to quickly clean it up. If your child needs correcting at the table, take care of it. Let your wife enjoy her meal from start to finish without the pressure of motherhood. Everyone deserves a break and a chance to relax. And for all you moms out there, you most certainly deserve a HOT meal!