Susan recently sent me This article from the Huffington Post, talking about various ways that moms can avoid the “Dinner Dash” and feed their families well while still enjoying a bit of family time. I encourage you to read it – you’ll get ideas about everything from menu planning services and meal preparation franchises to delivery services and personal chefs.
But there were other tidbits in the article that I found more interesting. Like this: “According to the annual American Time Use Survey, married, full-time working moms who have kids younger than age 6 spend 46 minutes per day doing food prep and cooking. Married dads of young kids? A cool 17 minutes. (Married moms also spend twice as much time grocery shopping per week as dads do).”
I guess that’s not news considering all the surveys that have come out showing moms are still expected to do more around the house in addition to all the work they do on the job. To me, it’s just a little depressing. People talk about working moms wanting to “have it all” when the reality is that they’re having to “do it all.”
And while I enjoyed reading about the various meal options, it irked me a bit that there wasn’t more of a focus on how the heck we’re supposed to afford them. It’s not the author’s fault, of course – everything she says is true, but passages like this one still left me a little cranky:
“Of course, all these solutions to the dinner dash seem to cost more than the old-fashioned method of having mom go to the grocery store and whip up the tuna noodle casserole everyone loves to hate. But we think of these options as “expensive” only because we do not traditionally value women’s time. Hiring a professional to cook six meals a week costs $300 here in New York. Why do we expect moms — who often have full-time paid jobs outside the kitchen — to do it for free when many of their full-time working husbands get a pass?”
That last sentence gets a big “amen” from me, even though I do have a full-time working husband who helps in the kitchen when he can. Perhaps if more dads helped out, then women wouldn’t need to feel so burdened. But the first part of that blurb? Well… the truth is that we consider some of the solutions in that article expensive because, for most of us, they are.
Yes, I think my time should be valued more, but (nothing against my employer, who treats me very well, thank you) nobody’s adding extra to my paycheck just so I can provide healthy meals that don’t stress me out so much. Neither does my husband bring in any additional bacon that could go to something like a personal chef or meal delivery service. The family budget is the family budget, regardless of who does the shopping and cooking. I might be able to spring an extra $10 a month for a meal planning service or grocery delivery – and I definitely plan to try out a meal preparation franchise one of these days. But until I hit the jackpot, there’ll be no personal chef or dinner delivery for me, unless it’s Dominoes every now and then. I’ll still be the person who (with hubby’s help) puts dinner on the table each night.