When I got pregnant with Lucy, I never imagined being a Stay at Home Mom. I loved my job. I was good at my job. I was having the time of my life. After she was born, my priorities shifted….but not how you might think. I absolutely do not think that our children are better off if their mom is at home and I absolutely do not think that the quality of life of a child is better because they have a Stay at Home Mom. In fact, the hardest part of deciding to leave the work force to stay home was removing Lucy from her school. Lucy’s caretakers were/are the most amazing people I know….still to this day they love my daughter like their own. They build me up, encourage me and cheer me on in anything I decide to do (like this blog). When I have a question, they are only a phone call (let’s be honest….text) away. They taught my daughter sign language, they taught her to crawl…to walk….they loved her and they loved our family and our life would not be the same without them. They are the best.
My priorities shifted in that I could not stop thinking about the future. What she would need from me. Materialistically. Everything from diapers to college to her future wedding and all I saw were dollar signs. So, I left a job I loved for one that paid more putting aside passion for money and boy was I disappointed. More money didn’t change the way we lived. I was more distracted, more stressed and less fulfilled. I will cut myself a little slack in that I was travelling 3-4 times a week with my previous job while pumping in airport bathrooms (sobbing I might add) and construction trailers while my husband held down the fort at home…so that too played into my decision but still…I did it for the money. Anyway, when we found out we were pregnant with Eli…we both knew that if there was ever a time….it was then and I would take that opportunity to spend the summer with Lucy…just her and I and then stay home after Eli was born. Again, this wasn’t our plan.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. I was chatting with a woman who I look up to in every way. A wife…a mother…a boss….a mentor. A beautiful, brilliant, strong, gentle woman who I simply adore. She casually mentioned how impressed she was with the way I had taken on my new role at home and I was awe struck. I of course thanked her and said it “was nothing” or some other garbage but it meant the absolute world to me. It is not easy….I am working my ass off. She still to this day has no idea the impact her words had on me. I wanted to kiss her (did I mention she is beautiful too?)! So, as we sat there while our kids were in swim lessons, we chatted about the challenges of balancing life…work…play…love, etc. We talked about meal planning and as we talked I started to think about it….how did I do it? How could I have done it better? How can a working parent get dinner on the table without a service like Hello Fresh, Plated or something of that nature? Which by the way are really great options too. No, seriously….if I could afford it…you bet your bottom dollar this would be part of my arsenal. My point is, cooking for my family every night is “easy” compared to how it was when I was working full time….rushing home from work…scrambling to get something on the table….while trying to give my undivided attention to my child….while stressing about the email I received before leaving the office (that I knew I would need to respond to after Lucy went to bed). So, I started thinking about recipes that would allow you to prep the night before. How can you still cook your family dinner, eat it together and get the kids to bed at a decent hour? How could one make this work? Unfortunately, I haven’t solved this conundrum….BUT I do have a couple tools that I think might help.
- I would say a meal plan is the first place to start. If you know what you’re making, you’re already ahead of the game. Hopefully I can help you out here but if not, just make anything Skinnytaste. Damn Gina….for real though.
- Meal prep is next. If you can prep it the night before, you’re bound for success. Chop the veggies, make the sauce, marinate the meat, shred the cheese, etc.
- GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Seriously, I was killing myself and at the end of the day….the meal I put on the table literally means nothing. I could serve toast and everyone would love me just the same. BUT…..if you’re local (where are all my Portland, Oregon peeps at???) I have a much better option than toast!! That break I mentioned? You can find it by exploring the healthy and delicious meal plan offered by PDX Meal Prep! Trust me! You won’t be disappointed, you will feel good about what you’re feeding your family and you will have all the time in the world to read that extra book or finish that puzzle that you would otherwise miss out on….seriously…what more could you ask for? And because PDX Meal Prep is not only an awesome product/service….they are also AWESOME people….they are offering M&M readers a pretty sweet deal!
So, if you’re still reading this and haven’t forgotten why you started reading in the first place….here are a handful of recipes to help you get dinner on the table. This week is dedicated to all of the amazing working moms out there who manage to do all the things. I found 5 recipes that I think can reasonably be prepared on a weeknight after work….all of which would be awesome leftovers for lunch the next day!
- Ravioli with Sauteed Asparagus & Walnuts via Green Valley Kitchen
- Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Lime Quinoa via How Sweet Eats
- Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet via Spoonful of Flavor
- Chinese Green Beans via The Weary Chef
- Thai Red Curry Chicken via Carlsbad Cravings
Week 5 Grocery List (Download here if that’s easier)*:
*Originally I was listing all ingredients including olive oil, salt & pepper but if you don’t have these ingredients….just order take out.
- 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 packs of ground turkey
- 1 package of ravioli – I used the four cheese ravioli from Costco
- uncooked Quinoa
- medium grain rice (or whatever rice you want)
- shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- shredded cheddar cheese
- grated parmesan
- Asian/Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- sesame oil
- chili garlic sauce
- hoisin sauce
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- seasoned rice vinegar
- red curry paste
- sriracha (optional)
- honey mustard
- dijon mustard
- adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
- chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- dried basil
- brown sugar
- coconut oil
- walnut pieces
- ½ pound of asparagus
- 2 lemons
- 2 limes
- 12 garlic cloves
- green onions
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 small zucchini
- spring greens
- cherry tomatoes
- green onions
- fresh ginger
- 2 yellow onions
- low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- 5 ounce can black beans
- 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
- 14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- frozen corn
- jarred salsa