I am a damn good cook, if I do say so myself. Kind of like Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, and the Barefoot Contessa all rolled into one. With hair like Giada. I meal plan and keep detailed shopping lists. I have an Instant Pot pressure cooker and a KitchenAid KSM152PS Artisan, and I know how to use them. I can wield a spatula in a wok like a motherfucking food ninja. I bake five-tiered, towering cakes (gluten-free, of course) with fondant covering the most luscious buttercream frosting you’ve ever tasted. So rich and creamy you would want to want to bathe in that shit.
Sure, I’m busy as hell, but I’m organized and creative. I don’t feed my kids poison-laced Happy Meals or non-organic apples. Have you read about what those things can do to a child’s IQ and social adaptability? No, thank you. It’s all home-cooked, five-course meals up in here, with only the highest-quality ingredients of course. Grass-fed beef. Hormone-free poultry. Organic, non-GMO produce. Gluten-free, whole-grain bread. I might have to shop at more stores than I have children (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, the co-op around the street, the vegan “meat” store, and Target) but it’s worth it.
Clearly, I just care more than some parents, because if you’re willing to feed your kids things like corn dogs (aka poison sticks) or mac and cheese (i.e., liquid death), you must not love them very much. Only healthy, home-cooked, well-balanced, gourmet meals every night spell “love.” Right?
Bahahaha! I’m freaking kidding. Obviously. Ain’t no one got time for that nonsense. Well, some people might, but they probably are on a homesteading forum.
You need to actually be home to make a home-cooked meal. You need to remember to turn on the Crock-Pot. You need more in your fridge than milk and pickles to cook most recipes. And that’s more than I can handle some nights.
Between work, after-school activities, and doctor’s appointments, the grocery store falls further and further down the list. Before I know it, it’s 6:30 at night, there’s homework to nag my children about supervise, and I’m hangry as hell. The only thing in the crisper drawer is a bag of a piss-shit liquid of rotten nastiness that might have been a mango in another lifetime.
There comes a point in every parent’s day when we decide we’ve done enough. For me, that point usually comes as soon as the first child whines, “I’m huuungryyy. What’s for dinner?” “I can’t even” becomes every mom’s motto at exactly 5:12 p.m. That’s when I usually throw open the pantry doors in desperation, hoping that a grocery fairy will have miraculously dropped in some pre-made meals like manna from heaven. I’m still waiting. Instead, I usually find half a box of Raisin Bran and a bag of flour.
So you know what this kitchen’s serving tonight? A gourmet bowl of cereal with a side of eat-it-or-starve. Besides, kids freaking love cereal, and I will not be convinced that it isn’t a mostly well-balanced meal. (Shut up, I literally don’t want to hear it! La la la la la.)
Look, in an ideal world, we would eat home-cooked, healthful, well-balanced meals every night. But in an ideal world, I’d also have an endless supply of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the freezer, a forehead without wrinkles, and a pee-free toilet seat. Those things just aren’t in the cards for me right now.
Some nights I cook healthy meals. Other nights I race our minivan through the McDonald’s drive-thru like an Indy car driver. Some days I eat handfuls of mostly organic fruits and veggies. Other days I binge-eat cookie dough while literally hiding in the closet. Because parenting is hard, dammit.
Now if only the Food Network would create a show called Cereal Wars or Fastest Fast Food because I would win that shit hands down.