I lost it this weekend. I confess to not handling my hurt, my anger and irritation in the best possible manner. And I know it’s common and normal and all kids are this way, but it doesn’t mean I want them to stay that way. Let me back up.
I, as I have previously said, hate cooking. I do it. For a lot of reasons. I first learned for my husband. Not that he is one of those guys who demands meals cooked for him and his laundry done….no…he could care less. But I knew very clearly the huge homemaking void that I never learned or paid attention to and wanted to correct that. I came from a make-your-own-lunch-and-dinner home after my brother was about 8 and hated all real food and my Dad went on a crazy diet. My mom would work all day, come home and try to prepare a hot, healthy meal and would hear nothing but complaints from my brother (sometimes me) and my Dad would sit there with a protein shake. I truly don’t blame her for giving us over to Hot Pockets, mac n’ cheese and spaghetti-os. Because every day I’m faced with the same from my own kids.
With 3 kids it’s hard to find more than 3 or 4 meals they ALL enjoy that is relatively healthy. And even if they do all like it, they like that meal differently. More sauce, less sauce, I don’t want any sauce. If they don’t like it, they sit at the table and cry. Is there anything more disheartening to the chef than watching your kids cry through each bite? How about watching them gag? Because all my kids have been blessed with my husband’s over-active gag reflex and have and will vomit on the table when I make them eat it. I fully, and completely understand why my mother gave up on making us meals. It is one of my most dreaded time of the day and I don’t even like to cook!
So, yesterday in the efforts of an easy meal, I made a tried-and-loved crock-pot dish. I had enough complaints over the course of the week since I’d been only allowing yogurt, wheat bread toast and oatmeal for breakfast (since that is all we had), that I really wasn’t up to a fight over dinner. I got one anyway. As I started dishing it out, each one of my kids started complaining that they don’t like it and don’t want any, and can’t they have some pancakes or treats instead? I lost it. I got hot! I informed them all they could starve. And then I took my food and ate it alone in my bedroom. When I came out, I had 3 kids saying “oh, I’ll have just a little bit.” Again, I got hot. Trying to keep a tight rein on my temper, I made it very clear that they won’t eat tonight. That I work very hard each day to provide a healthy meal for them and even if it’s not their favorite it provides them the things they need to grow up. That it hurts when they complain about it. That people are starving for what I made. That we can’t buy whatever they want to eat because it’s un-healthy eaten all the time and its crazy spending money on empty food. I’m pretty sure the words I said were all words said to my brother and I when I was a kids before my mom gave up.
Question is, do I give up? I don’t want to. I really don’t. I want to persevere. I want them to learn to eat non-favorites like all of us have. I want to provide healthy over convenient. Yet must it be a constant strain to do so? Am I missing a vital key to making this work?