Lifestyle, Recipes

How to Survive Motherhood and Try Out Dinner Recipes

I was one of the first of my friends to have children. People would ask me what to expect, I would laugh at them. You don’t prepare for motherhood, you survive. Those who have been through it know, yes, you love your kids. Do you want to knock their heads together sometimes? Yep. Do you question yourself and your abilities constantly? Yep. Do you feel never-ending guilt no matter the situation? Yep. So, on a typical day where I struggle and wonder if I will ever get it right, here is a snapshot into my own experience.

She has her sweet moments, I admit.

This week has been unusually difficult. McKenna is 6 going on 16 and argues constantly. Every topic is open for negotiation, in her eyes, whether it be staring blankly at her iPad for an extra 15 minutes, or eating dark chocolate for dinner (a half hour after her ACTUAL dinner where she couldn’t POSSIBLY eat another bite of chicken or salad). You cannot tell her anything about life that she does not already know at the ripe old age of 6 years and 10 months and no matter what I say, it rarely happens. “Take your stuff upstairs with you when you go.” “Stop bugging your sister.” “Put your toys away!” “Throw your Go-gurt wrapper in the trash, I am not your maid!” But wait, clearly I am (as I throw away the forgotten Go-gurt wrapper, pick up shoes, and carry all the overlooked clothes, dolls, etc. that sit on the stairs).

Covering me with food and utensils…means love?

Emerson…where do I even begin? Her favorite way to test my remaining sanity is to spend the majority of our 20 minute drive from the babysitter’s house screeching “Mom! Mama! Moooomm!” (Think Stewie) for at least two minutes before I give in and respond, “What!!!???” and then she gives me a dirty look in the mirror and an “AHH!” like I’M the one disturbing HER. She is Doc McStuffins and Mrs.Hyde with her love, sometimes shoving anyone in her vicinity away from her, other times putting them in a choke hold with her hugs and kisses. When she doesn’t get what she wants immediately, it typically results in tears and wobbly lower lip or her face down on whatever surface is available (this includes the extremely sanitary floor of department stores and the DMV) in silent protest of my denying her anything ranging from chewing on my iPhone to letting her rip apart a doctor’s office.

And, you might have realized, we have survived the first 2 weeks of summer vacation, we’ll be fine. Yes, you are thinking, well, she’s a teacher, lucky! That means sleeping in, spending memory-making time with the family, relaxing by the pool and a whole slew of other ridiculously outrageous ideas of what it means to get to play stay at home mom over the next few months.Let me tell you, that is yet another joke to which my response is laughter (though more of the hysterical, help me God, kind). First, you that stay at home all year round, esp. with little ones yet to be school aged, YOU the REAL MVP. I have nightmares that started weeks ago where they are both fighting each other and I will get the cops called on me if I lock them outside to get some peace and quiet. Summer vacation is a fight between how many times they can tell you “I’m bored” and “I’m hungry” and if you think I’m kidding, ask my husband. I call him approximately 28 times a day to ask when he’ll be home. His response is either “It’s only 11, I work until 5” (Hmph…whatever) or if it’s around the 25th time, lets my rant go to voicemail…don’t worry, he pays for it when he gets home and gets a detailed rundown of the chaos that has consumed our lives.

Opening my Mother’s Day gift.  I don’t mind 😉

What’s my point to this seemingly endless rant? Momming is hard.  It’s stressful. It’s constantly asking yourself if you are doing the right thing or worrying that they won’t have friends, or be a bully, or a million other what if’s.  Stop. Seriously, just stop it. If you have clothed them, fed them, kept them reasonably safe, and your self reasonably sane, then yes, you have succeeded. There are so many people and stories out there that say, “You’ll miss these years once they’re gone”.  I am sure there are moments I will miss. But I will NEVER miss the whining, the fighting, or the potty training. Esp. the potty training. Is there an overnight camp for that? But, I digress. Moms have different ways of raising their kids; Moms stay at home or work, or work from home.  Moms attend conferences, volunteer for clubs, organizations, and anything else the PTO can come up with. Moms cook, bake, and then clean it all up. They supervise, they bandage, they prep endless amounts of snacks. They multitask, they clean, they clean again (it’s still not clean, trust me).  Moms love, no matter what you say or do. Reading over this, it makes me realize that we can get through an awful lot of headaches by just taking a deep breath (and sometimes screaming into a pillow).

Eme refused a selfie, as usual.  Ignore my morning, pre-salon hair!

This week, I am attempting the single mom life (to those that do this everyday, you are AMAZING and have more strength and resolve than I could ever hope for!) while my husband attends a conference in Orlando (and is probably riding Disney rides without me). So, to make my life a bit more simplistic, I wanted to give you guys some dinner ideas that don’t require a ton of prep time, and that my kids won’t complain about for days to come!

The first option is Baked Cheddar Dijon Chicken Tenders, which comes from the blog, Just a Taste.

These are heavenly, and even my husband craves them! The best part, you can simply substitute Gluten Free flour and crushed up cornflakes or rice chex, along with shredded cheddar cheese, in place of the Cheez Its to make it GF! I typically make these along with rice (this rice cooker has been a lifesaver for our family over the years and is well worth the price tag, we eat rice at least twice a week) and a salad or lima beans as easy sides.
Speaking of salads, sometimes I want a VERY simplistic meal. My girls love sherry vinaigrette dressing from Cap City, and I love that I can make it at home and it will typically last for two weeks (sometimes a bit longer). I use the bagged Sweet Butter Lettuce from Giant Eagle. I am lazy and don’t like having to cut up lettuce, though I do occasionally purchase heads of Bibb as well, when I’m feeling like mixing it up. I add in slices of boiled egg (and sometimes leftover chicken for additional protein), candied pecans that take 7 minutes using this recipe, small cubes of sharp cheddar (they work amazingly well with the above dressing), and don’t forget bacon! I have grown to love making it in the oven. If you’ve never tried it, trust me, you need to. It all works so well together, we gobble it instantly!
Lastly, this pasta recipe is quick and tasty, and let’s be honest, is there a kid out there that DOESN’T like pasta? (Don’t answer that, I’m sure there is, they all have their odd tastes…mine despise pizza!?!) Regardless, my kids would eat pasta on a daily basis if I let them, and at least with this recipe, they are getting some green veggies as well. I am not a fan of broccoli, but even I enjoy this recipe!

What are your go-to recipes that your family craves and don’t take hours of prep? I’m always trying out new recipes during the summer when I have a little more time to incorporate into our schedule!