Back-to-school for our family means back to busy. I have two boys going to different schools, both with two very different schedules. Add in my older son who trains in a specialized sport four days a week, my younger son who does an extracurricular activity twice a week, and, you know, that whole pesky business of my husband and I having to work. Most nights are a bit of a gong show.
But there’s one day in particular that gets me every week: the dreaded Thursday. The boys arrive home from school around 3:30 pm. My younger son has to be at his activity from 4:30 to 5:00 pm followed by my older son having to be at the arena for 7:00 pm. By the time I get home from activity No. 1, I have approximately 30-minutes to feed the kids before moving onto the next portion of the evening.
While I do a lot of prep work on the weekends there are just times when life gets in the way and on those days, I'm 110% okay with cutting myself some slack and I don't feel the least bit guilty about serving a meal I didn't prepare from scratch.
Can we talk about guilt for a moment? Food and guilt tend to go hand-in-hand in a mom’s life starting from when our kids are very young. It’s because feeding our kids is about so much more than simply nourishing them — it’s an extension of our love. Watch this video and you'll see how you're not the only mom who feels guilty about food in one way or another:
I've spent too many years beating myself up when meals didn’t go as planned but I’m over it and you should try to get over it too.
Why? Because frozen dinners are completely fine and, dare I say, can actually be a quick, wholesome way to feed your family when life gets busy. Add in a salad or some fresh cut veggies and you're good to go. I personally like Marie Callendar’s frozen entrées because they use high quality, real ingredients (think real garlic instead of garlic powder). You can bake them in the oven but on Thursdays, I have very little time so I use the microwave option and can have dinner on the table in 15-minutes.
But the best part is I know my boys like it and will eat it (especially the Three Meat Lasagna which is their favourite right now, followed very closely by the Creamy White Mac). And when time is tight we all know that kids eating their meal quickly is just as important as getting it on the table quickly.
But more than that, we need to stop feeling guilty about little things that don’t have a big impact on our families over the long-term. Serving your family the occasional frozen entrée is one of those times. My boys don’t remember what we eat for every meal but they remember many of the conversations we’ve had at the dinner table. They don’t care if the salad they’re eating is picture perfect, but they do care that their mom is laughing with them and not running around the kitchen feeling stressed out because we’re going to be late.
Want to get rid of the guilt at your house? I have quick tips to make it easy:
This is the rule that helped me drop the guilt --> Make sure your family eats healthy/wholesome food 85% of the time and don’t sweat the 15% - especially when chocolate is involved.
One of the main reasons my boys eat a lot of fruits and vegetables is because the moment I come home from grocery shopping, I wash and cut all our produce. I then store it in the fridge in individual containers and zippie bags. When they go to grab a snack, it’s right there in front of them.
BONUS TIP: Stop making salads in a bowl. Instead, prep it in a plastic container that has a lid in the morning or the night before, but don’t add the dressing. When it’s time for dinner, throw on the dressing, put the lid on the container and shake it. Boom! Salad in seconds.
I'm all about the convenience food to help me when I’m in a bind, but even then, I try to make the best choices I can. Always check the ingredient list and choose frozen or convenience meals that have the most real ingredients in them.
My older son will eat cooked vegetables but my younger son only likes his veggies raw. No biggie. Older son gets whatever veggies I make that day and my younger dude gets a handful of raw veggies thrown on his plate. Remember? They’re already prepped.
Not every meal is going to be perfect. Some days, you'll hit it out of the ballpark and other days you’ll be wishing you lived near a ballpark so you could drive over and buy hotdogs. It's all okay. It may sometimes feel that you're not getting it right but if you look back over time, you'll realize you've been getting it right a lot more than you think.
So go ahead and use shortcuts or occasionally use frozen dinners because the only thing that should never be at your table is guilt.
Do you ever feel like you’re doing your best and it’s still not good enough? You’re not alone. In a recent survey of 1,000 moms, it was found that 74% of moms wish that every day meal prep was less difficult and 75% of moms wish they could spend more time with their kids. Moms often feel guilt over hundreds of different things but the reality is: YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB!
It’s time to #EndMomGuilt and focus on all the things we’re doing right.
First, watch this video to see that you're not alone. It will help your mom guilt go away, even for just a moment.
Then, join in on the conversation on Marie Callender’s Facebook page where you’ll be inspired by wise words, funny photos, and know you’re not alone.
The struggle is real but if we all share our stories on social media, we can #EndMomGuilt and focus on everything we’re doing right.