Do you spend mealtime wanting or hoping? I’ll tell you what I did. I came from a broken home. My mother was a single mom who worked long hours to provide for the three of us kids. Dinner in our house consisted of microwaving pizzas on top of the cardboard box and finishing off with a handful of Oreos from the cookie jar. Mama taught me a lot of things but cooking wasn’t one of them. Then came along my husband Colby, also from a broken home and a single mom, who sometimes let Vienna sausages in front of the TV serve as dinner in their home.
Needless to say, as Colby and I began welcoming our three precious children into the world I immediately had some high expectations for supper. I wanted mealtime to be special. I wanted to guard that precious family time. I wanted to cook wholesome meals for my family. I wanted my husband to brag on my home cooking, and my kids to request their favorites from my list of recipes. Finally, I wanted that Hollywood worthy image of my family around the table laughing and carrying on about their day. But you know what they say about wanting? You can want in one hand and poop in the other and see which one fills up the fastest.
I was extremely disappointed when I realized how much work my wants involved. I was extremely unfulfilled by my duties of searching for healthy recipes, then lugging the kids to the grocery store, only to come home and have them stand at the baby gate and scream and cry in torture while I cooked. Followed by my husband popping in the door from work to a disgruntled wife and a hot kitchen. We ate many meals in silence because I had let myself get so worked up. I couldn’t speak without biting someone’s head off. I was angry because my husband desired nothing more than to watch TV with a plate in his lap when I desperately wanted to be at the table. The only thoughts I had were how exhausted I felt and how many dishes I was going to have to wash when the kids were done swirling around my sub-par meal on their baby trays.
Today I take a slightly different approach to protect family time around the table. However, I do it in a much better way than placing unrealistic expectations on myself and most importantly on the people the Lord has entrusted to me. First of all, I realized that my mom and mother in law had actually taught me something about cooking. Keep those quick meals on hand. I’ve never heard a complaint from my husband about Digiorno for supper. Also, when it comes to meal planning I’ve realized that recipes with the least amount of ingredients and things that can go in the slow cooker are usually my family’s and my favorites. I stick to the meat, starch, veggie rule instead of endlessly searching for recipes on Pinterest. They provide me with a quick cooking time which in return lets me enjoy my kids instead of fussing at them for being hungry! Cleanup is a breeze when there is only the inside of a crockpot to clean. I also recently struck up a deal with the hubby that I should have thought of four years ago. I cook and he loads the dishwasher and cleans up after the kids. Finally, once in a blue moon, I indulge my family by timing dinner just right to our nightly showing of Wheel of Fortune. We see who can solve the most puzzles, laugh and eat good food. It’s kind of like Hollywood but better.
I’ve exchanged wanting for hoping. I hope that I choose grocery store pickup in exchange for taking the kids through the store. I hope that I stop at Chick fil a some nights in return for quality time spent with my family. I hope that if dinnertime becomes a sore subject that I lay down those unrealistic expectations and compromise for what works for me and my precious loved ones. I hope that I trade the stress and choose joy. I hope that I work willingly at whatever I do, doing it from the heart as something done for the Lord and not for people. I hope that you too will choose hope over your wants. Lastly, I hope I always remember what they say about hoping. ” I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”.– Ephesians 1:8