Dinner time. The most god-awful couple hours of the day at our house. It is pure hell from the instant we walk in the door. The kids turn into little demons and I lose complete control of my household, my children, and my patience.
This joyous time begins about 5:00 p.m. every single day. After a long commute home in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I pick up all the kids from their child care and head for home. On a typical drive home, I listen to them cry, fight, and hit each other because they are hungry, tired, hot, cold, gassy, angry, sad, bleeding, whatever. As pleasant as that sounds, the real fun begins when we arrive home. As soon as the car enters the garage, they try to jump out before it even stops moving. It’s a race to see who can be the first one to the computer or to the cat. The oldest sits in the third row and usually leaps over the middle row seat kicking one of his sisters in the head on the way out. He is determined to get to the computer before his sister. My middle child is NOT good under pressure so instead of trying to beat him like she wants, she just freezes and convulses in her seat making this atrocious banshee scream cry. No joke. It will make your ears bleed. So immediately, I am refereeing them while chasing the youngest as she bolts down the driveway saying “get me”. Once I wrangle them up and actually get into the house, the fights start once again about who is going to let the dog out of the kennel. This, my friends, is the most unspeakable request I can ever make. I must REALLY hate them for even asking them to do this. I mean, it takes two seconds. I’m not asking you to cut off your own arm. Just let the fricking dog out of the kennel.
Within in seconds, the ravenous vultures start consuming anything and everything in their line of sight. Their hunger-filled insanity has completely taken over their little bodies and they devour goldfish, salami, candy, pickles, olives, cheese, frozen cheese, and dog food…yes, two of my kids love dog food. They hide in the pantry and eat handfuls of it at every opportunity. At least it has protein, right? They all completely fill up on junk food before I have even taken my shoes off. I know all the judgy people out there will just say, “don’t let them.” But it is just not that easy.
Then, the REALLY hard part…I have to actually cook something. I never know what to make and who will eat it and who won’t. There are so many rules and I just can’t possibly keep them all straight. Honestly, I don’t know why I even stress about it, it doesn’t really matter anyway because everyone ends up eating something different. Most nights we have some sort of activity at 6:00 so I only have an hour to come up with something, make it, and eat it. Hotdogs or chicken nuggets it is. This is all happening while fending off the three ravenous beasts swiping food off the counter when I’m not looking and trying to navigate about the kitchen with a crying child hanging on my leg. And the dog. The frickin dog is always under my feet. So there I am trying to get everything timed right and everyone served on the correct color plate, sweating, and shaking because my blood sugar has plummeted and I am starving myself. The one final straw…Inevitably, right as things are coming to a head and dinner is about to be done, someone poops and needs to be changed. Never fails. Every time. Nothing like the aroma of a warm, fresh load mixed with spaghetti or frozen pizza.
Ready. Set. Go. Here comes the complaining. Everything I have just done is completely wrong. IDIOT. The color of the plates, cups, why the oldest gets a bigger piece of bread, why the middle didn’t get the pink cup (not the little pink one, but the big pink one), it’s too hot, I don’t like it, why does it look different, I want a PB&J….All wrong. Now, I’m having to force them to eat rather than fend them off like I did a mere 20 minutes before. That’s when I resort to bribery. Eat four bites and you can have candy. Those hostage negotiators usually talk me down and end up eating two bites for candy…they are good. Or I just start to cry. Sometimes that happens too. Award-winning mom for sure.
I haven’t sat down to eat an entire meal in about 8 years. I have to jump up every 3 seconds to get something for someone. A different fork. Another napkin. More milk. A towel for the spilled milk. More salt. Get the cat off the counter. It’s always something. Sometimes the youngest will run out the door and I’ll have to chase her down and carry her back kicking, screaming, and pinching me. That’s always a great time. There is so much yelling and crying during this short window of time I am convinced that the neighbors will call the police someday (I am really quite surprised they haven’t already). I have to inhale my food so fast that I can’t even taste it, which is probably ok since we have already established that I’m not the world’s best cook. If there is ever a day I don’t have to inhale food that has been manhandled and slobbered on by one of the kids, it will be a win for sure.
So, in a nutshell, dinner time is pure hell. I don’t even like cooking for myself, let alone all of them. I do it because I’m the mom and apparently they need food every day. Exhausting.
This too shall pass, right? More wine, please.