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.
6 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday July 1, 2008”
I cook only for myself, since I have a son that should be named ‘fruitatarian’ or ‘super picky’. But, I do find after work I am 1) lazy, and 2) interested in high fat foods. So, on some Sundays I will often make a double or triple batch of something- soup, bean dish, veggies (no meat for me :)), and either freeze it or keep it for later in the week.
I tend to eat more healthily when it is readily available, and it seems to be more economical than some of the food prep things. Plus, for me, most of them appear to be more geared towards the meat eaters rather than not.
Doing it all at once does take up an some time, but, not as much as prepping/cleaning 5 days a week. Nothing says easy like defrosting something in the microwave.
Sara – I challenge you to try out one of those meal prep places by the end of this month! (And, no, I have no financial ties to a franchise.)At the very least you’ll have some good blogging material.
I, too, used to think “someday I’ll check one out …” It took a friend dragging me along to finally walk through the door. I find the meals very cost-effective for a family of four. Plus, it’s easy to delegate food prep. Best of all, on the other nights, I find I actually WANT to cook (OK, maybe not every night, but certainly more often.)
“I do have a full-time working husband who helps in the kitchen when he can”
ARGHH. That’s the part that drives me crazy. It’s the same way in my house and while I am grateful for the “help”, there’s a big difference between “help when you can” and “the buck stops here” responsibility I carry.
I must say, my husband ROCKS, my children are not picky at all, and I love to cook. I do prepare a healthy homemade meal almost every night. BUT, I work from home so it’s no big deal to get the stove going promptly at 5:00 or to monitor a stewing chili or something throughout the day. The crock pot is my best friend.
What this article fails to mention is a larger issue. Why are healthy foods so damn expensive? We simply cannot afford (these days especially) the healthiest options. Even frozen or packaged organic, healthy items are astronomically priced.
The meal places are great, but nothing I can’t do on a Sunday afternoon with some great planning and my kids out of the house. The bonus is that I can rock out to some bad tunes while I cook..all alone.
Hey – First time visiting your site. It’s great! One thing that helped me feel better about evening time/meals was making a simple meal plan for 2 weeks, and using it for several weeks. The kids loved it. Went something like this:
Monday: Baked potatoes w/ toppings
Tuesday: Turkey tacos w/ toppings
Wednesday: Pasta or stir-fry
Thursday: Take out (choice of 3 menus)
Friday: Fish or chicken with roasted veggies
Sunday: Meat w/ special dessert
Very simple w/ lots of room to improvise when we grocery shopped on Sunday evening.
I’m looking forward to trying out a couple of local dinner-prep places and seeing how it helps our meal routine. Currently, we’re about as catch-as-catch-can as a family can be. Amazing we’ve been as successful at weight loss as we have, considering!