Earlier this year anxiety started building with the realization that my maternity leave would be coming to an end. I wrote about it in a previous post.
Returning to my full time job was not as traumatic as I envisioned but the first few weeks were a bit all over the place while our family adjusted to the reality of having both parents working away from home. Two of our main issues were meal times and packing appropriate food to sustain Samuel during the day at the babysitter’s.
Chris and I are big foodies. We tend to try different recipes every week, we used to go to the grocery store almost every day after work to get ingredients for that dish we had just seen online, and eating after 8 pm was not unusual. Once Samuel arrived something had to change. We are lucky that Samuel eats most of what we put in front of him – maybe related to the “no-mush” Baby Led Weaning approach – but if food is not on the table by 6 pm we have a very cranky child on our hands. We also make a point to sit together for meals and eating the same food.
Planning our meals was a necessity and we tried to make it as fun as possible. On the weekends each of us plans 3 meals, we write them on the kitchen board, and in general we are able to do all our groceries for the week in one trip. We also got the free app Our Groceries that automatically syncs on both of our mobile phones. If during the week one of us needs a specific item we just add it to the app and the next person going to the grocery store knows what’s needed at home. We were afraid that planning meals would take the spontaneity out of dinnertime but we are still doing new recipes each week and sporadically we do change the menu if someone is having a particular craving. More importantly it reduced our stress level considerably and we have a happier tot at the “witching hour”.
Packing food for the days Samuel is at the sitter also took a bit of figuring out. Presently, in his lunch bag one can find a slice of bread, humus or cheese, yogurt or cottage cheese, a piece of fruit, and the leftovers from dinner. Some days the containers return home empty, other days the lunch food has been hardly touched even if it was something Samuel had eaten voraciously the night before. That is the nature of the game, I suppose.
Examples of meals that we make at home include bean salad with roasted sweet potato, mango fried rice with tofu, quinoa patties with cheese, sweet potato falafel with bulgur salad and tahini, lentil pie, and the list goes on. Samuel likes to eat without help and normally using cutlery, so meals that can be easily speared with a fork or lift with a spoon work better than a liquid soup.
The next step is to conquer the world of unhealthy children’s snacks that populate our grocery stores. Any ideas?